Sports Update: Mateo Bianchi CIF Champion


Track & Field

Mateo Bianchi

Senior runner Mateo Bianchi closed out his Laguna career capturing the Division 3 1,600 meter run in his final meet representing the Breakers at the Division 3 Southern Section CIF Track meet held at Estancia High School. Bianchi victory was the 15th individual title for Laguna that began with Mike Trainer winning the low hurdles in the 1954 meet.

Mateo ran the course with a 4:12.46 time and he also ran the 3,200 meter run finishing second with a time of 9:24.42. Bianchi’s points gave Laguna a 10th place finish with South Pasadena taking the team title.

On the girl’s side, Melanie Falkowski ran a 11:26.76 in the 3200 meter run that earned seventh place and a tie for 27th in the team totals. Harvard Westlake was the team champion.

Track and Field is organized into four different divisions all based on enrollment. Division 3 is for schools with enrollments between 1,140 and 1,850. Breakers with a 1,049 enrollment for placement is just ahead of San Marino (1,040) for the smallest school competing in Division 3.

Athletic Director Lance Neal Resigns

Laguna Beach High School athletic director Lance Neal recently resigned. Courtesy of Laguna Beach Athletics

Laguna Beach High School Athletic Director Lance Neal announced his resignation last week. Neal had been the athletic director at Laguna since August 2016 with his five-year run the fourth-longest tenure in the 87 years of the athletic program. Only Red Guyer (31 years), Mike Churchill (8 years) and Walt Hamera (6 years) had longer stints.

Neal guided Laguna through a challenging period including the transition to the ultra-competitive Sunset Conference and the recent COVID disruptions the past two school years. Laguna won five section titles, two state regional titles and one state title under Neal.

Neal will be returning to coaching taking the head football job at Anaheim’s Loara High School. The Saxons have an enrollment of 1,913 and compete in the Garden Grove League.

Prior to arriving at Laguna, Neal had been briefly the athletic director at Beckman High School in Irvine but prior to that had been in the coaching ranks serving as head coach at Murrieta Valley (2014 and 2015). He started his coaching career at Irvine where he was a key assistant for nine years. He also coached football and served as athletic director for five years at San Marcos/San Diego and coached at Clovis West near Fresno for Jim Hartigan. Neal was a stellar athlete at Irvine High School graduating from the school in 1984.

Laguna Principal Jason Allemann expects a new athletic director to be announced before mid-July.

Looking for the latest Laguna scores and schedules?

Go to the department website at for the updated schedules and where the scores get posted first! The Fall 2021 season starts in less than 60-days.

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