Weekly roundup: OC athletes receive honors, a celebration of life for Laguna Beach principal, and more

From baseball to diving to track, high school athletes across the county were recognized this week for their performances throughout the sports seasons.

A leading force behind Anaheim High School baseball’s first California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section final appearance in over 40 years was pitcher Jillian Albayati, who was recently named Orange County Girls Athlete of the Year by the Orange County Register. Albayati broke barriers this season after becoming the first girl to pitch a CIF-SS baseball championship game. On June 19, the star player announced that she has committed to California State University, San Marcos to play on its Division II-ranked softball team in the fall.

As the Register also reported, the National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association awarded nine divers from eight high schools in the region. These winners dove their way to the top 100 list of All-America divers based on their 1-meter springboard performances.

The divers on the boys’ list include Dana Hills senior and state qualifier Rhys Davies, San Clemente sophomore Nolan Rooker, Laguna Beach freshman and CIF-SS Division 1 runner-up Chase Shipp.

The six Orange County female athletes that made the girls’ list are Fullerton High junior Simone Beinlich, Fullerton junior and CIF-SS Division 3 champion Abigail Ekstrom, Mater Dei junior Ella Roselli, Cypress High sophomore Isabella Chen, Santa Margarita High sophomore and state qualifier Sheridan Smith, and St. Margaret’s Episcopal School sophomore Katherine Taylor.

At the Nike Nationals track and field meet, students from Dana Hills High School and JSerra Catholic High School ran away with top-3 finishes at the competition, which came to a close Monday at the University of Oregon. Dana Hills senior Jai Dawson finished the men’s 800-meter in third place at 1 minute, 50.28 seconds, according to the Register.

For the discus event, JSerra junior Brendon See made it to second place with his best throw of the day, 194 feet and 5 inches. Los Alamitos High freshman Devin Bragg didn’t make the podium, but scored an impressive 10.68-second run in the men’s 100-meter event at the track and field meet earlier this week.

Here are some of the other stories we’ve been following this week:

Westminster High School Queen Bees
  • Four Westminster High School students in the MERITS program were named national finalists at the 30th annual Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision competition for creating an antibiotic solution to reduce bee mortality by protecting them against insecticides.
  • Family, friends and Laguna Beach Unified School District employees gathered Monday to celebrate the life and legacy of El Morro Principal Chris Duddy, who died in May.
  • Comedians, actors and astronauts are just a few of the well-known guests that have shared their inspirational stories of success as part of the Careers Without Borders virtual speaker series, organized by the ACCESS program at OCDE.
  • With the help of the Incubate Learning Accelerate Breakthroughs, known as iLab, Anaheim Union High School District students can innovate solutions for real-world problems while gaining hands-on experience at turning their ideas into inventions.
  • Exactly 50 years after Title IX became a law, the Biden administration proposed new rules on Thursday aimed at protecting LGBTQ students and others from discrimination based on gender identity, sexual orientation and sex characteristics.
  • Lastly, the Santa Ana Unified School District will host a series of town halls starting June 27 to provide information about its ongoing efforts to ensure school safety following an incident at Taft Elementary School last month.

This is the part where we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroomsubscribing for emailed updates and following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.