Sports update: Knepper and Swanson selected as Breaker’s top athletes for 2024


Laguna Beach High School recently announced the 18th annual athletic awards, giving the top honors to football‘s Ryner Swanson and girls aquatic’s Ava Knepper.

Both completed outstanding four-year careers at Laguna and received top league-county-CIF and national recognition. Swanson will continue his career at Brigham Young University, while Knepper will be at the University of Southern California.

Ryner Swanson. Photo courtesy of LBHS Athletics
Ava Knepper. Photo courtesy of LBHS Athletics








2024 LBHS Athletic Awards

Coach of the Year: Katie Teets, girls water polo

Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Elaina Seybold, basketball and lacrosse (one year); Sam Burchi, basketball and baseball

Rotary Award Winner: Riley Beason, cheer; Nick Rogers, football

Female Athlete of Character: Anoua Carrie, track and cross country

Male Athlete of Character: Ben Dawson, baseball

Female Athlete of the Year: Ava Knepper, water polo and swim

Male Athlete of the Year: Ryner Swanson, football, track

Juniors Claim Powder Puff Flag Football Title

Photo courtesy of David Jumani

The highly anticipated Laguna Beach girls’ powder puff flag football game took place last Friday, May 17, at Guyer Field. The juniors emerged victorious in a nail-biting performance against a solid senior squad with a score of 35-28.

Quarterback Presley Jones led the juniors on offense, with Siena Jumani and Morgan Saunders each having clutch interceptions to boost the juniors to victory. Breakers football quarterback Jackson Kollock took the reins as the powder puff coach.

Laguna Concludes with Six Seasons in the Sunset

The 2023-24 sports season concluded Laguna’s 90th prep sports year, with the past six seasons in the top public school league in Orange County, facing seven other schools with an average enrollment more than two and a half times the size of Laguna Beach High School. Over the previous 84 years, Laguna has been a member of five different leagues, usually the smallest school. Hence, the Sunset affiliation was a situation the school hadn’t faced before, except this time, football was in a separate league affiliation (Golden West Conference) and the remaining sports were in their toughest setting ever.

Sunset League formed in 1937 as the top sports league for the county schools. The name was adopted on April 25, 1937 from 16 suggestions. The original members were Orange, Huntington Beach, Newport Harbor, Anaheim, Excelsior and Long Beach Jordan. Over the years, 25 different schools have been in the league, with Los Alamitos, Edison, Fountain Valley, Newport Harbor Marina and Fountain Valley being the traditional six. Corona del Mar joined with Laguna in 2018 and will remain leaving seven schools going forward.

Over the past six seasons, 239 team titles were competed for, with some sports divided into the Surf and Wave leagues and a few kept in a single league format. Breakers won five Surf League titles, 14 Wave League titles and four Sunset League crowns.

The five Surf crowns represented the top for the entire league in that sport/season. Three of the Wave League titles were actually the top overall for the entire conference. This took place in the cross country discipline, where all eight schools competed in the same race, with Laguna capturing the 2018 and 2019 boys cross county titles and the girls taking the 2019 cross country crown. The Surf League titles were boys basketball in 2021 and the four girls water polo titles (2019, 2020, 2021 and this season). Thanks to the Das brothers and Chase Shipp, the four Sunset League titles came from boys diving.

Next Season, Back to the Pacific Coast

The Pacific Coast Conference will be just as challenging with Northwood, University, Woodbridge, Portola, Irvine, Rosary Academy, Sage Hill and St Margaret’s. Some sports will be split into two leagues, Pacific Coast and Pacific Hills. Single-league sports will be under the Pacific Coast League banner. The Breakers were members of the Pacific Coast League for twenty seasons, from 1986 to 2006. The PCL is strong in lacrosse, tennis, swimming and golf.

The five Irvine schools averaged 2,250 in enrollment, while Rosary, Sage and St Margaret’s are similar to Laguna, with under 1,000 students each. 

The Fall Leagues

Cross country: Cluster meet on Oct. 2 and League Finals Nov 6.

The Breakers are in the Pacific Hills League.

Boys: Laguna, Irvine, St Margaret’s, Sage Hill

Girls: Laguna, St Margaret’s, Sage Hill, Rosary

Flag football: Pacific Coast League play each school twice (St Margaret’s- no team). The league includes Laguna, Northwood, University, Woodbridge, Portola, Irvine, Rosary Academy, and Sage Hill.

Girls golf: Pacific Hills League: Laguna, Irvine, Sage Hill, Rosary

Girls tennis: Pacific Coast League – single-round play.

The league includes Laguna, Northwood, University, Woodbridge, Portola, Irvine, Rosary Academy, Sage Hill and St Margaret’s.

Girls volleyball: Pacific Coast League: Laguna, Rosary, Irvine, St Margaret’s, Northwood.

Boys water polo: Pacific Coast League, single-round play.

The league includes Laguna, Northwood, Sage Hill, Woodbridge, Portola, Irvine.

Have a note/question on Laguna sports/correction/update? E-mail Frank at [email protected]. Looking for the 2023-24 high school schedules and scores? Check Laguna Beach High School on the Max Preps website.

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