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Coach Spotlight: Freddy Pichay

By Ellie Ford, Student at LBHS

In partnership with Brush and Palette newspaper

While wandering around campus, you might have seen Freddy Pichay, the LBHS hurdle and long jump coach. This former Laguna custodian has been at the high school for 46 years. Coach Freddy strives to see his athletes grow and succeed in their sport and in life.

“I always want to be the best coach I can be. I hope to be a role model for the kids. I hope to inspire them to be strong leaders and have good sportsmanship,” said Pichay.

Sophomore Alessi Ayvaz has been running with Coach Pichay for two track seasons. She has shared many good memories and laughs with Coach Freddy. 

“I couldn’t have asked for a better coach. He’s made an impact in my life by teaching me something that was entirely new and different. He’s overall hilarious and just a great and inspirational coach,” said Ayvaz.

Coach spotlight on track

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Freddy takes pride in his athletes during a track meet. Pichay has worked at Laguna Beach High School for 46 years.

Pichay’s love for coaching track runs deep. He also coaches the Laguna Beach community track team. After high school practice, you can find him coaching runners ages five to 14. “I like to prepare the young kids for high school athletics. It’s important for me to teach them how to run the correct way so they will be more comfortable when they compete in high school. Some kids are good but are scared to lose. I try to teach them the right way to lose and compete,” said Pichay.

Steve Lalim, the Cross Country and Track and Field coach, has been coaching with Freddy for 14 years. Lalim knows that if he ever needs anything, he can rely on Pichay for help.

“Freddy can do anything and everything. I enjoy coaching with Freddy every day. He’s a good man, and I appreciate all he does for our program,” said Lalim.

Stu News Laguna is proud to feature LBHS students’ writing in partnership with the high school’s journalism class and the Brush and Palette student newspaper.

Four Laguna girls compete in Water Polo NCAA National Championships at Stanford

Four girls from Laguna competed in the Water Polo NCAA National Championships at Stanford over the weekend. The girls – Bella Baldridge, Makenzie Fischer, Thea Walsh, and Aria Fischer – have been playing together for Laguna Beach since they were in 10 and under division. 

Stanford won the 2019 NC women’s water polo championship in a 9-8 thriller against defending national champion Southern California. Both teams advanced to the championship after overtime wins in the semifinals. 

The Cardinal’s Makenzie Fischer led the way in the title match with three goals and an assist. She was honored with MVP of the tournament. 

Four Laguna team

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(L-R) Bella Baldridge, Makenzie Fischer, Thea Walsh, and Aria Fischer

It’s Stanford’s seventh national title in program history since the women’s water polo national championships began in 2001. 

The two teams have combined to win the last nine NCAA titles. Stanford boasts six national championships in its program history (2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2017), while USC has won five times (2004, 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2018).

Laguna Beach High School Junior Varsity Girls Sand Volleyball crowned League Champs

In their inaugural season, the Laguna Beach Girls JV Sand Volleyball team captured the Sunset League championship. The team was seeded 7th to start the competition, but dominated play and won their four team matches during the two-week tournament.

Laguna Beach male coach

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Back Row: (L-R) Coach Steve McFadden, Emma Bladergroen, Alessandra Nitoglia, Lucy Loughlin, Madison Rogers, Nikki Ruch, Lucky Hauer, Sophie Reavis, Jacqueline Witteman, Sydney Freeman, Natalie Olson, and Annabelle Kiesweter; Front Row: Amelie Sadler, Sophie Black, Harper Bunn, and Luisa LoFranco; Not in photo: Coach Nicolette Martin, Shanti Nunn, and Olivia Policastro.

The championship match pitted LBHS against 8th seeded Edison High School.   

The top-seeded Laguna team of Sophie Reavis and Emma Bladergroen won a hard fought two-set victory over the pair from Edison High School. After taking the first set 21-15, Reavis and Bladergroen were in a back and forth match with both teams having opportunities to win the second set. 

Laguna Beach Emma and Sophie

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Emma Bladergroen and Sophie Reavis

Serving at 21-20, Bladergroen served a ball that proved too tough to handle, giving Reavis/Bladergroen the 22-20 win. The Laguna Beach girls won the other four matches as well, recording the following scores: 

Laguna Beach Coach Martin

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Semi-final victory with Coach Nicolette Martin

--Amelie Sadler & Sophie Black, 21-7, 21-12 

--Lucky Hauer & Luisa LoFranco 21-12, 21-17 

--Sydney Freeman & Alessandra Nitoglia – 21-10, 21-15 

--Lucy Loughlin & Annabelle Kiesweter – 21-7, 21-10 

Laguna Beach winners

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Edison conceded the 4v4 match, resulting in a 7-0 final championship game tally. 

The team’s dramatic improvement during the year can be credited to coaches Nicolette Martin and Steve McFadden.

SchoolPower’s 3 Clubs Barefoot Golf Tournament is a hole-in-one for Laguna schools

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Monday, May 13 marked the fourth annual 3 Clubs Barefoot Canyon Classic at The Ranch at Laguna Beach, benefiting SchoolPower. With the theme of “Peace, Love, & BBQ,” this sold-out event entertained golfers and non-golfers alike.

Generously underwritten by The Ranch at Laguna Beach and Hobie, 100 percent of the over $60,000 raised will benefit our local Laguna Beach schools through SchoolPower.

SchoolPowers 3 ladies

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Golfers gathered in support of SchoolPower at The Ranch on Monday

Seventy-six barefoot golfers kicked off the afternoon’s festivities with a friendly nine-hole, four-person scramble competition. As in past years, players tackled some nontraditional shots, including teeing off with a softball bat, driving with opposite-handed clubs, and the replacement of putters with a hockey stick. 

First-time golf participant and SchoolPower Trustee Eric Brougher was one of several winners of hole challenges, scoring a golf cap for closest to pin. “The Ranch provided the perfect atmosphere to celebrate SchoolPower and all the kids it positively impacts,” he said. “The Barefoot Classic is a fun and definitely unique event for any level of golfer that is looking to have a great time while supporting a worthy cause with their friends and community.”

SchoolPowers 3 guys

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The course was up to par for these happy golfers 

Following golf, the party continued on the patio, where golfers and guests gathered for a cocktail reception that included tequila tastings by Nosotros Tequila and live music by blues guitarist Shawn Jones. Dinner featuring Santa Maria-style BBQ prepared by former NFL player Brandon Jessie’s BBQ81 rounded out the casual celebration. “The beauty of the location and warmth of the staff blew me away,” says guest Suzzette Arnal. “Add to that fabulous food and lively conversation, and it was a perfect night!”

SchoolPowers 3 shirt

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An awesome custom shirt completed the day 

As in past years, lifelong Laguna resident and longtime SchoolPower supporter Mark Christy took to the podium and served as auctioneer for a live auction. A creator of the Barefoot Classic, Christy’s enthusiasm set a festive tone for the night. “Seriously,” he told the crowd, “spending an afternoon having an informal, kick-your-shoes-off, laughter-echoing-through-the-canyon blast while doing something cool for our schools and the kids? Priceless!” 

SchoolPowers 3 Ranch

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After the golf, the party continued on the patio for a lively reception 

Christy is passionate about public education/giving back to Laguna Beach schools. “Laguna’s schools and teachers were a game-changer for my classmates and me,” says Christy. “We hope that the funds generated will afford our exceptional instructors the flexibility and resources to further connect with students.” 

SchoolPowers 3 skirts

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These ladies hit a hole in one with their golf attire for the day 

This year’s auction items included a one-of-a-kind glamping trip in The Ranch’s exclusive “Scout Camp,” an overnight stay in the exclusive Treehouse and dinner for four at Harvest, and a custom-made Hobie surfboard. Bidders also faced off to win four seats at the upcoming Angel-Dodgers series, courtesy of John Carpino and the Angels organization. To cap off the night, the crowd was treated to a surprise live performance by Green Day founder, vocalist, and bassist Mike Dirnt, who then auctioned off a signed bass guitar to the enthusiastic crowd.

SchoolPower’s mission is to enhance the educational experience of the whole student as they grow from TK through 12th grade. In 2017-18, SchoolPower contributed over $760,000 to the Laguna Beach school district to help support a wide range of programs, including small class sizes, academics, athletics, visual and performing arts, music, STEM programs, and wellness and student support. 

SchoolPower’s Wave of Giving campaign is on now at this link.

LBUSD Board of Education May 14 meeting recap

At the May 14 LBUSD Board of Education meeting, Chief Technology Officer Mike Morrison presented an update on the status and progress of the technology department, including computer science and research initiatives.

During the meeting, the Board took action to approve an agreement with Kelvin Education, Inc. for the 2019-20 school year. The district is committed to supporting students K-12 in the development of positive personal and interpersonal skills to enhance academic achievement, positive decision-making, and long-term social-emotional health outcomes. 

Staff will utilize Kelvin Education, Inc.’s online-enabled research services, which include unlimited access to student social-emotional wellness screenings, school climate screenings, and a library of social-emotional learning and positive school climate intervention resources. 

The Board also took action to approve the Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Laguna Beach to operate an Adult Education program for the period of June 1, 2019, through May 21, 2022. Classes will be offered free of charge to Laguna Beach residents and topics will include computer skills, workforce presentation, ESL, and classes for adults with disabilities.

During the May 14 meeting, the Board received an update on the audiovisual equipment that would need to be replaced in the boardroom to effectively record the meetings. Additionally, the staff discussed the closed captioning requirements during live streaming for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

At the meeting, the Board directed staff to put live streaming of the school board meetings on hiatus while staff investigates potential options to become compliant with requirements. In the meantime, meetings will continue to be recorded and posted on the District website following the meeting. The Board also requested that a contract for upgrading the audiovisual system be brought forward for consideration at a future board meeting.

One of the goals set by the board of education has been to increase access to courses for all students. Dr. Viloria is proud to report that more LBHS students are taking – and passing – Advanced Placement (AP) exams than ever before. Cotinue reading about the work being done in the district to expand AP access to all students in the district in a guest column by Dr. Villoria below.

For more information on the LBUSD Board of Education including future action items, visit The next regular Board meeting scheduled for Tuesday, May 28 at 6 p.m.

Tonight’s School Board meeting includes technology department information update

The agenda for tonight’s (Tuesday, May 14) regular LBUSD Board of Education meeting has been posted online here. Open session will begin at 6 p.m. at the District office, at 550 Blumont St, with closed session occurring beforehand at 5 p.m.

Tonights school palm

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

LBUSD School Boarding meeting tonight (May 14) is open to the public and begins at 6 p.m.

The Board will receive a technology department information update. Action items for consideration by the Board include a MOU with the city of Laguna Beach to implement a jointly operated adult education program and renewal of routine contracts.

The LBUSD Board of Education’s vision is to take ownership of each child’s learning in our schools, accepting no limits on potential. Their mission is that each student gains the knowledge, experience, world perspectives, and skills needed to become a lifelong learner and producer in a competitive and interconnected world.

For more information on District happenings, visit

LBHS Girls Swim Relay team makes it to CIF finals

During the CIF prelims on May 2 at Riverside Aquatic Center, the Laguna Beach High School Girls Swim Relay team swam the 200 and 400 Free Relays and out of the co-ed prelim teams, advanced to the CIF finals. Molly Renner made finals for the 200 individual.

Laguna Beach girls

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Swimmers on both the 200 and 400 free style relay team who qualified and made it to the CIF final: (L-R) Coach Kari Damato, Jessie Rose, Claire Kelly, Molly Renner, and Ella Judd

Laguna Beach boys and girls

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CIF Prelim Team: (L-R) Coach Nicky Clark, Will Kelly, Nathan Solomon, James Nolan, Colton Gregory, Molly Renner, Claire Kelly, Jessie Rose, Ella Judd, Emma Lineback, Head Coach Kari Damato, and Coach Ethan Damato

The CIF finals were held on May 4 at Riverside Aquatic Center.

Laguna Beach Water Polo Club girls win double gold at the San Diego County Cup Tournament

It was a very successful three days for the girls teams from the Laguna Beach Water Polo Club who competed in the San Diego County Cup Tournament. Both the 12U and 14U A girls won gold medals in their respective divisions against some very tough competition from around the U.S. The 14U B girls won bronze in their division.

Laguna Beach 12U girls

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12U Team: Back row – (L-R) Coach Rob Carver, Kara Carver, Kirra Pantaleon, Sofia Umeda, Siena Jumani, Kaelyn Chism, Coach Marc Umeda, and Presley Jones; Front row – (L-R) Caitlin Stayt, Elizabeth Nicoloff, Molly Wilkerson, and Maya Tovar

Laguna Beach 12U All

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All Tournament Team 12U: (L-R) Sofia Umeda, MVP Molly Wilkerson, and Siena Jumani

Laguna Beach 14U girls

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14U Team: Back Row – (L-R) Livvie Ouellette, Helene MacBeth, Charlotte Riches, Cleo Washer, Coach Kelcie Ferreira, Ava Knepper, Myha Pinto, and Avery Montiel; Front Row (L-R) – Jordan Schneider, Lauren Schneider, and Lauren Short

Laguna Beach 14U all

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All Tournament Team 14U: (L-R) Charlotte Riches, MVP Lauren Schneider, and Avery Montiel

Laguna Beach 14U B team

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14U B Team: (L-R) Sophie Colladay, Rebecca Storke, Chiara Amoroso, Claire Turner (All Tournament Team), Mac Jenal, Taylor Naughton, Eleanor Ramsey, Ryley McDennon, Bella Nenadov, Nina Rogers, and Coach Bridgette Alvarez

The prestigious San Diego County Cup is the second largest water polo tournament in the U.S. after the Junior Olympic National Championships.

LBHS cheerleading team offers Cheer Clinic and Parents Night Out on Friday

Laguna Beach High School’s cheerleading team will offer a special Cheer Clinic and Parents Night Out this Friday, May 10 from 6 - 9 p.m. at LBHS Duggar Gym. The event will offer children an evening full of cheers, chants, dances, and more while parents are able to enjoy a night out. The donation amount is $45. Pizza and snacks will be provided.

LBHS cheerleading squad

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Kids can join LBHS cheerleaders for Cheer Clinic on Friday

The clinic is a fundraiser for the LBHS Cheer Team. Laguna Beach helps the team strengthen their program, and the cheerleaders thank the community for its support. The money raised will assist in covering the cost of summer camp, skills clinics, spirit wear, the team’s banquet – and so much more.

LBHS is located at 625 Park Ave.

Participants are asked to pre-register by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

LBHS Boys Golf plays to determine who moves on to compete in the CIF playoffs

This week, Laguna Beach High School played in the two-day Wave League boys golf tournament to determine which individual players from the league will move on to play in the CIF playoffs. The tournament started at San Clemente Municipal Golf Course on Monday, April 29. Day two was held at Skylinks Golf Course in Long Beach on Tuesday, April 30.

Coach Sean Quigley reports, “Everyone played 18 holes each day; the top 12 players and ties on the first day made the cut and moved on to the second day. At the end of the second day, the scores from each day were added together and the top six players qualified for CIF individual playoffs.” 

Laguna’s six players in the tournament included senior Chase Gioffredi, senior Gus Morck, junior Aiden Svenson, senior Kyle Shaw, junior Tai Diggins, and senior Hayden Myers. 

Boys Golf Morck

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Gus Morck

Coach Quigley continues, “Unfortunately, several Laguna players were off their game on the first day and at the end of play and only Gus Morck made the cut. Gus shot 81 and the cut came in at 84, so he made it by three strokes. Gus’s round included three birdies and six pars. Aiden Svenson came close shooting 85. Tai Diggins and Chase Gioffredi missed by three strokes with both of them shooting 87. Kyle Shaw shot 94 and Haden Myers shot 97.”

Day two was played at Skylinks Golf Course in Long Beach – this is the same course where the first round of CIF individual playoffs will be held, so it gave the players a tough test of golf. They played from the back tees with the course measuring 6,909 yards. 

“Gus went out in the first group and ran into some early trouble on the front 9 holes carding a 41, with a double bogie on hole 2,” says Coach Quigley. “However, he then settled down and posted a 38 on the back 9 holes, including 2 birdies and playing even par golf for the last 7 holes. 

Morck’s finishing score came in at 79 for a two-day total of 160. According to Coach Quigley, Gus played solid golf, especially on the longer Skylinks course, and he finished the tournament T7, missing a spot in the playoffs by one place.

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