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Two SC school teams, five surfers take NSSA Interscholastic state champion titles

Conner Dand from San Clemente High School was crowned NSSA Interscholastic state champion in the men’s varsity division. Photo by Kurt Steinmetz
Conner Dand from San Clemente High School was crowned NSSA Interscholastic state champion in the men’s varsity division. Photo by Kurt Steinmetz

By Andrea Swayne

San Clemente middle and high school teams continued their longtime sweeps in team competition and claimed four of six individual titles at the National Scholastic Surfing Association Interscholastic State Championships, March 7-9 at Church Beach.

The San Clemente High School team claimed their sixth consecutive title and Shorecliffs Middle School their 10th.

In high school individual competition, SCHS’s Conner Dand took top honors in the men’s varsity division. After scoring a 9.07 set wave early, his back-up wave, a 6.0, didn’t happen until late in the heat.

Gunner Day and Gus Day from Shorecliffs Middle School claimed NSSA Interscholastic state titles in shortboard and longboard, respectively. Courtesy photo
Gunner Day and Gus Day from Shorecliffs Middle School claimed NSSA Interscholastic state titles in shortboard and longboard, respectively. Courtesy photo

Janice Aragon, NSSA executive director, said Dand’s momentum seemed to build after taking third and advancing to round two.

“In the final he just took his surfing up a notch and put his talented aerial prowess to work,” Aragon said, adding that his home court advantage was apparent.

“Last year I won JV so it felt like a really big accomplishment to win varsity because there were so many great surfers in the event,” Dand said. “I was really happy it went my way.”

Dana Hills High School took third in team competition and team member Josh Benjoya came in fourth among varsity men.

The middle school individual divisions were a complete sweep by San Clemente surfers. Brothers Gunner and Gus Day from Shorecliffs won the Boys Shortboard and Boys Longboard divisions, respectively. The top shortboarder in the girls division was Alexxa Elseewi from Bernice Ayer Middle School.

The excitement wasn’t restricted to surfing on Sunday as Orange County Sheriff’s deputies, park rangers and authorities from Camp Pendleton pursued a shooting suspect who was on the run after a 10 a.m. incident in Dana Point. The suspect led police on a chase through the park that eventually led to his apprehension on Monday. Aragon said, despite the manhunt, the contest ran smoothly and on time.

“A huge shout-out goes out to the sheriffs, state parks and their staff for keeping a watchful eye on the situation,” Aragon said, “and also to all of the teams, coaches, competitors and spectators for obeying the orders of the authorities.”

RESULTS: NSSA Interscholastic State Championships, March 7-9, San Onofre State Park, Church Beach

Team and local finishers only.

HIGH SCHOOL VARSITY TEAM: 1. San Clemente 107; 2. Huntington Beach 81; 3. Dana Hills 74; 4. Carlsbad 63; 5. Mira Costa 56; 6. San Dieguito 45; 7. Edison 42; 8. Newport Harbor 35; 9. Marina 14.

HS VARSITY MEN: 1. Conner Dand, San Clemente 15.07; 2. Kei Kobayashi, San Clemente 13.67; 4. Josh Benjoya, Dana Hills 8.20.

HS VARSITY WOMEN: 2. Malia Osterkamp, San Clemente 10.57.

HS VARSITY LONGBOARD: 2. Andy Nieblas, San Clemente 11.34

MIDDLE SCHOOL TEAM: 1. Shorecliffs, A 132; 2. Bernice Ayer 57; 3. Shorecliffs, B 55; 4. Sowers, A 51; 5. Marco Forster 43; 6. Dwyer, A 36; 7. Dwyer, B 26; 8. Sowers, B 14.

MS BOYS: 1. Gunner Day, Shorecliffs 15.24; 2. Curran Dand, Shorecliffs 14.93; 3. Crosby Colapinto, Bernice Ayer 11.17; 4. Jaric Fink, Bernice Ayer 9.07; 5. Noah Atwood, Shorecliffs 8.07; 6. Ryan Martin, Shorecliffs 6.70.

MS GIRLS: 1. Alexxa Elseewi, Bernice Ayer 10.53; 2. Bethany Zelasko, Shorecliffs 10.27; 3. Cameron Duby, Marco Forster 8.00; 4. Samantha Sibley, Shorecliffs 5.97; 5. Lily Benjamin, Marco Forster 5.63.

MS LONGBOARD: 1. Gus Day, Shorecliffs 18.17; 2. Ricky Foder, Marco Forster 14.50; 3. Jared Bernier, Bernice Ayer 7.37; 5. Finn Beard, Shorecliffs 7.26.

COLLEGE TEAM: 1. SDSU, Black 124; 2. Saddleback 114; 3. Point Loma 96; 4. UCSD, A 92; 5. Mira Costa, Red 71; 6. UCSB, A 64; 7. CSUSM, A 52; =8. USC 51; =8. CSULB 51; 10. UCLA 45; 11. CSUCI 44; 12. UCSD, B 28; 13. UCSB, B 24; 14. SDSU, Red 16; 15. CSUSM, B 15; 16. CSULB, A 8.

COLLEGE MEN: 1. Jack Boyes, Point Loma 13.17; 2. Shaw Kobayashi, Saddleback 12.50; 3. Jeremy Carter, Saddleback 10.73.

COLLEGE WOMEN: 1. Chandler Parr, UCLA 12.20; 2. Danielle Wyman, Saddleback 12.16; 3. Marissa Shaw, SDSU 11.00.

COLLEGE LONGBOARD: 1. Sam Zaiser, SDSU 12.17; 2. Casey Powell, USC 11.77; 4. Dennis White, Saddleback 9.10

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