Sports Update: Naess and Rose named 2020-21 Laguna Beach athletes of the year

Basketball player Nolan Naess and Water polo/swim team member Jessie Rose were named Laguna Beach High School’s 2021 Athletes of the Year. Photo courtesy of LBHS Athletics

Seniors Jessie Rose and Nolan Naess received top honors as Laguna Beach High School released their annual award selections for the 2020-21 season.

Rose earned first team all-Sunset Surf League honors in Water Polo as a starter this season for the 8-0 Breakers who captured their 15th straight league title and extended their current win streak to 30 games. Breakers were denied an opportunity because of COVID-19 to capture their third straight Division 1 CIF title but were clearly the top team nationally this season. Rose led the team in assists and won every sprint she swam to open each quarter of play. She will continue her water polo career next year at California.

Besides Water Polo, Rose was the league champion in the 100 free and a member of two school record setting relays this season. Due to the overlap of sports this season, Rose had to skip cross country where last season she was the Sunset League overall girls champion and earned All-State honors finishing eighth at the State meet. Rose was Laguna’s top runner in the three years she ran at the State Cross Country Meet.

Naess was a four-year starter in basketball and clearly was one of the county’s best player this past season. Nolan appeared in 106 games over four years finished his career No. 2 in points (1,800), three-point baskets No. 4 (131), Rebounding No. 4 (655) and No. 5 in assists (271). His competition the past two seasons have been the toughest in Laguna’s history and the Breakers won the league title both seasons. Naess will be playing at West Point next season.

Although Laguna is in their 87th season of sports competition, the school has not always selected top athlete award winners. The current program has been in place since 2007

2021 LBHS Athletic Awards Selections:

Coach of the Year: Rick Conkey, Boys and Girls Tennis

Scholar Athlete of the Year: Mateo Bianchi – Cross Country & Track, Maija Shaw – Soccer

Rotary Scholar Athletes: Griffin Kristenson – Soccer; Ella Tyus – Volleyball, Beach Volleyball

Female Athlete of Character: Tess Booth, Surfing

Male Athlete of Character: Arthur Rounaghi, Basketball

Female Athlete of the Year: Jessie Rose, Water Polo, Swimming, Cross Country

Male Athlete of the Year: Nolan Naess, Basketball

The 87th annual football awards banquet was held on June 1. The entire team was selected the MVP for only the second time in the program history. “Red” Guyer did the same back in 1941. Pictured are this year’s All-League selections for the Golden West Conference. (From left): Jackson Golden, Luke Degner, Lucas Martin-Schimmelpfenning, Kakim Hassan, Heath Magiera, and Evan Louch. Courtesy of LBHS Athletics

Boys Basketball (5-1, 16-4)

The Breakers’ playoff quest ended in a tough 42-34 loss on June 1 in the Southern Section CIF Division 2 AA quarterfinals at Santa Margarita High School. Breakers controlled much of the first half play with great defense and shooting 50% from the field with a low scoring 18-16 lead. The Eagles got hot in the second half while Laguna started to miss shots both outside and inside the key. Breakers had their chances with 90 seconds remaining trailing 36-34 and in possession of the ball but could not close out the game. Nolan Naess was his usual effectiveness scoring 19 and taking in 7 rebounds. Jackson Sirianni scored 6 points, Kai Gilles with 5 points, Chase Hall and Willie Rounaghi each with two. This was Laguna’s third time to reach this point in the playoffs the past ten years (lost at Harvard-Westlake in 2016 and at Mission Prep in 2014).

Sand Volleyball (7-4)

Breakers finished fourth in the Interscholastic Beach Volleyball League state tournament held at Dockweiler State Beach on June 5. Breakers lost 3-0 to Redondo in their opening match, defeated Half Moon Bay 3-0 and then lost to Chaminade 2-1 for third place. Details on pairs and scores were not provided.

Track & Field

Mateo Bianchi qualified for the Division 3 Track and Field finals in two events last Saturday in the preliminary meet held at Estancia High School. Bianchi was second in the 1,600-meter run with a 4:19.71 and third in the 3,200-meter run at 9:27.37. Finals will be held at Estancia on Saturday, June 12.  Melanie Falkowski was the only qualifier for the girl’s team with a seventh-place finish in the 3200-meter run with a 11:35.06 time.

CIF Qualifiers

The Independent recognizes the Laguna Beach High School athletes who qualified for this year’s Southern Section CIF meets this Spring for Swimming/Diving and Track/Field. 

Swim & Dive:

Boys: Sai Bassett, Kaiyal Das, Ethan Das, Coleman Judd, Will Kelly, and Hunter Ledger.

Girls: Ava Houlahan, Addie Hudzinski, Ava Lipscomb, Jana Jocic, Ava Knepper, Skylar Kidd, Molly Renner, and Jessie Rose.

Track & Field:

Boys: Mateo Bianchi, Mael Metis

Girls: Rachael Dyrnaes, Melanie Falkowski, Lauren Martin, and Coco Reed.

Correction: Due to a reporting error, runner Mateo Bianchi’s name was misspelled in Sports Update on page 26 of the June 4 edition. The Independent regrets the error.

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Go to the department website at for the updated schedules and where the scores get posted first!

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