Inaugural class inducted into Redondo Athletic Hall of Fame
It was a long time coming, but Redondo Union High School finally has an Athletic Hall of Fame.
The inaugural class of 22 athletes, three coaches and two teams were inducted Saturday at a ceremony held in the Student Union on the school’s campus.
Under the leadership of former RUHS Athletic Director Les Congelliere, who serves as president of the Redondo Athletic Association, the Hall of Fame Committee of Jim Ball, Jennifer Dessert, Terry Flynn, Tracy Hattingh, Steve Shaw and Gentil Smith turned the dream into a reality for the 108-year-old school.
“I have wanted to do a Hall of Fame since 2008,” Congelliere said. “I started working on it, met with others who have them in place and finally it’s coming through. Why we’ve never had one is a big unanswered question.
Congelliere said the selection process was difficult because of so many quality nominations.
“We plan to add 5-10 more annually,” Congelliere said. “We used a rubric with a 5-point scale for selection. One for accomplishments while at Redondo Union, one for athletic accomplishments after high school and one for lifetime/career achievement.”
Inductees from the 1930s, 40 and 50s included Mickey Colmer (’37 – baseball, basketball, football), Iris Cummings-Critchell (’37 – swimming), Bob Bacon (’46 – football, track), Clarence Witt (’47 – basketball, football, track), Howard Bugbee (’48 – football, track), Richard Keelor (’53 – football, wrestling), Rex Hughes (’56 – football, basketball) and Dean Moore (’57 – basketball, football).
Athletes from the 1960’s, 70s and 80s included Nick Carollo (’64 – wrestling, football), Harry Jenkins (’64 – baseball, basketball), Sergio Gonzalez (’65 – wrestling), Bob Clemo (’65 – basketball), Terry Place (’75 – soccer, softball, track, volleyball), Greg “Gig” Sims (’76 – basketball), Jimmy Ellis (’85 – football, wrestling), Tracy Brown (’87), and Scott Davison (’88 – baseball).
From the 1990’s and 2000’s, inducted athletes were Morgan Ensberg (’94 – baseball, basketball), Keith Ellison (’02 – basketball, football), Ofa Tulikihihifo (’02 – basketball, tennis, track), Andy Gerst (’05 – tennis) and Rebecca Saraceno (’05 – volleyball).
The Hall of Fame also inducted three coaches – Harold Grant (1939-48), Mel Seifert (1938-70) and Russ Striff (1940-69) – along with the 1943 CIF championship football team and the 1946 track and field team that became the school’s first State champion.
Each inductee was given a trophy with a Sea Hawk spreading its wings atop a base bearing an inscription “Class of 2013.” Each year, a plaque listing the names of that year’s inductees will mounted along those of previous years and displayed inside Sea Hawk Pavilion.
From Colmer, who was once described as the greatest South Bay athlete of the 20th century, to girls volleyball standout Saraceno, achievements from generations of Redondo athletes were read to the more than 100 people in attendance.
Many of older former athletes told swapped stories and talked about how things have changed. They mentioned the use of “The Paddle” for disciplinary action and how beautiful the campus and athletic facilities are.
Bob Bacon led Redondo’s track team to a State title in 1946 and played halfback and fullback for the 1943-45 football teams. He later was inducted in the Hermosa Beach Surfer’s Walk of Fame.
His fondness for Harold Grant, who coached Bacon in football and track, was evident when Bacon became emotional talking about his relationship with the Hall of Fame coach.
“Harold Grant, sitting up behind a window, saw me out on the practice field running around,” Bacon recalled. “He came up to me and asked if I would like to play football and track. I said ‘No thank you, I’m a surfer.’ I lived on 21st Street in Manhattan Beach and he said “I’ll see that you get to school so you don’t have to ride the bus. I’ll give you a ride.
“Coach Grant told me I was a champion. I said ‘I’m no champion.’ He said if you come out and work with me and I’ll make you a champion. He was the most competitive man I’ve ever met in my life. Out of all the men I’ve ever met, he was honest, he was truthful, he was compassionate and he gave you his all. God bless you, Harold Grant.”
Bacon remembers being disciplined because of his passion for surfing.
“I was told by coaches Mel Seifert, Russ Striff and Grant that I was not to be in the ocean,” Bacon said. “I had passed the lifeguard test the first time I took it and spent time with the swim team on the side. I just didn’t tell them what I did. What came out of it was four blood blisters. Talk about ‘The Paddle,” I had to reach down and grab my ankles for ditching school to go to the Cove to surf.”
Jim Gierlich joined Bacon as representatives of the 1943 football team. He also entertained the audience singing a song he composed to honor the Hall of Fame inductees.
“Winning the CIF championship is one of the big memories I have from my days at Redondo.” Gierlich said. “The first memory I have was that I did not start the first game which was the only game we lost that year, One day after that first game, they had all the first team line up. Coach Striff came and grabbed me and put me on the first team. That was a big deal for me back in those days. I started the rest of the season and we had a lot of great wins that year.”
Inductee Richard Keelor traveled from Virginia to attend the ceremony. The former RUHS student body president was anal-league wrestler and an All-Southern Section lineman on the football team.
His athletic background (his cousin if NFL Hall of Famer Frank Gifford) provided the foundation for a lifetime of involvement in fitness and health endeavors. Keelor is a former director of program development for the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports in Washington, D.C.
“I was blessed to have a great coaching staff,” Keelor stated. “Take a look at this high school. It is a magnificent example of what good people can do in a good community.”
Dean Moore was a three-sport letter winner at Redondo and scored the only touchdown in a 6-0 win in the first Redondo-Mira Costa football game.
“I appreciate this selection and to be a part of this group,” Moore said. “About that touchdown against Mira Costa, I tripped over an offensive lineman and fell into the end zone. But it was a great win.”
Probably best known for his long and successful tenure as a baseball coach at his alma mater and later West Torrance, Harry Jenkins was a two-sport star at Redondo, earning All-Southern Section recognition in basketball and baseball. With 651 victories, he ranks among the state’s all-time winningest coaches.
His loyalty to Redondo Union never swayed, continuing to teach at the school even though he was coaching baseball down the road at West.
“We’re all fortunate,” Jenkins said to those in attendance. “When you come on this campus you become part of it. You fall in love with the school and you stick around. I was luck enough to come back as a coach.
“The people who set (the Hall of Fame) up spent endless hours. We’ve been talking about this for many years. You see Terry Martinez and Gentil Smith around and around – they’re never going to go away and that’s what makes this happen… we’re really lucky to have Redondo High School.”
Standing 6-foot-6, Bob Clemo was selected to the All-Southern Section basketball team in 1965 after helping the Sea Hawks reel off 26 consecutive wins to reach the semifinals.
Clemo said he was honored to be among such great athletes but was equally impressed at the improvement of the school that was funded by the passing of Measure C in 2008.
“I don’t believe this campus,” Clemo quipped “How much money did you raise? You must be running a bookie deal.”
Scott Davison was the most decorated baseball player in Redondo Union’s history, twice earning CIF Southern Section Player of the Year and All-American honors.
“I’m extremely honored to be in the first Hall of Fame class along with some of the great athletes who played at Redondo,” Davison said. “With (coach) Harry Jenkins, Redondo was one of the best programs in Southern California and we were ranked national a couple of times. If you played baseball, this is where you wanted to be.”
Davison recalled playing Cerritos during a CIF playoff game at Redondo his senior year. But it wasn’t just his team’s performance on the field that made the game so memorable.
“It was the quarterfinals and the second time we had faced a strong Cerritos team that season,” Davison said. “I pitched a one-hit shutout for the win, but the thing I remember most came during the game when black ashes started falling onto the field. We found out later that the Redondo Beach Pier had burned. If that happened today, the teams would be pulled off the field because of the air quality.”
Although he achieved success on the gridiron, Keith Ellison was an All-Southern Section point guard for Redondo’s championship basketball teams.
“Winning the CIF championship in basketball two years in a row was the highlight of my days at Redondo,” Ellison said. “The first one was very special.”
Ellison has returned to his alma mater and is currently a defensive coach for the Sea Hawk football team.
“Everything I am on the field and as a person is a reflection of the people I have been around,” Ellison said during his induction speech. “So this award isn’t about me, but about the people who have led me along the way. I especially want to thank my teammates because I never played an individual sport. I also want to thank the current coaching staff and players who came here on a Saturday to recognize me. I think it’s good for the current players to see the history of the players who have come through here. I’m humbled to be here and hear about those great players who came before me.”
Ofa Tulikihihifo was a league champion in the shotput and discus and a two-time All-CIF Southern Section Player of the Year in basketball, but it was her skill on another court that led her to become one of Redondo’s greatest female athletes.
“I lived in Hawthorne and most of my friends went to Leuzinger, but I played tennis and wanted to play at Mira Costa,” Tulikihihifo said which drew boos from the audience. “I was denied a permit three times, so I tried out at Redondo and I really think that God knew I was supposed to be here. I was blessed to have great coaches, great friends and great counselors. Redondo really set the foundation for my life.”
Tulikihihifo said she has many great memories of her time at Redondo.
“If I had to choose one as my favorite, it would be winning CIF for the first time in basketball,” Tulikihihifo said. “I’m so humbled to be a part of the Hall of Fame. If it wasn’t for my teammates, friends and family, I wouldn’t be where I am today. They are just as deserving of this award as I am. I wish they could all have one.”
Rebecca Saraceno was a three-time All-Southern Section volleyball player at Redondo, three times leading the Sea Hawks to runner-up finishes in the Southern Section playoffs.
“It is a tremendous honor to be named to the hall of the fame.” Saraceno said. “Redondo is 108 years old and has produced so many amazing athletes and to be a part of the first class of inductees is surreal.”
Saraceno’s favorite memory as a Sea Hawk came during her sophomore year in 2003.
“We were the first team to make it to playoffs since 1980 and we made it all the way to the CIF finals on an at-large bid beating everyone with the odds completely against us,” Saraceno said. “It was one of those true underdog moments and we felt completely unstoppable – a feeling I will never forget.”
Redondo’s girls volleyball coach Tommy Chaffins was on hand to watch his former team captain being honored.
“Becca was the face of RUHS girls volleyball when the program turned around as far as I’m concerned,” Chaffins said. “The two years before I took over the program, the team won five matches each year. My first year we won 11 matches when Becca was a freshman. The following year, our team won 24 matches, played in the CIF finals twice and the semis once during her four year career.
“My first year coaching, the most kills any player had was 14 kills. Becca had 17 her first match. The first year we made the playoffs (her sophomore year) she had 35 kills (still a school record along with Lara Dykstra) when we upset a 27-1 Brea Olinda on the road in the semis. She took every big swing and wanted to take every big swing. Great as all of those accolades are, I think she set a standard for our program of our best player being a great teammate and thinking of the team first. She set a standard that has been passed on to future captains like the Dyktras, Tiffany Morales, Briana Lanktree (current senior captain) to think of the team first. Becca set that legacy as far as I’m concerned.”
Butch Seifert accepted the Hall of Fame trophy on behalf of his late grandfather, Mel Seifert, a captain on Redondo’s football team who also competed in basketball, baseball and track.
He is best remembered for his 32-year tenure as a Sea Hawk coach. Perhaps his longest lasting contribution was the Pacific Shores basketball tournament, established by Seifert in 1951 and still drawing strong fields 62 years later.
Seifert, also a former RUHS athletic director, guided the Sea Hawks to a Southern Section basketball championship in 1943 and continued coaching until his retirement in 1970.
“My grandfather, father and I all played sports here,” Seifert said. “We all had the most remarkable, wonderful, treasured memories. Every athlete being honored has said they had a coach, they had a teacher, somebody in their high school days that meant everything to them and guided them. You’ve heard from these legendary athletes who all attribute so much to their coaches. That’s why I’m grateful that there is a coaches wing here because there are so many more coaches than just these three that made such a big difference in the lives of so many kids.”
For more information on the Hall of Fame or to nominate an athlete for future consideration, visit Redondoathleticassociation.org.
RUHS Athletic Hall of Fame 2013
Mickey Colmer (1937 – football, basketball, baseball). Once described as the greatest South Bay athlete of the 20th century, Colmer played professional in football, basketball and baseball after dominating in all three sports, as well as track, in high school.
In a baseball playoff game against San Diego Hoover High, Colmer twice struck out a young Ted Williams before giving up a game-winning home run to the future great. As a fullback, he once scored all 55 of the Sea Hawk’s points in a football playoff game.
“You just didn’t want to get in his way,” his friend, Ed Coury, told the Daily Breeze after Colmer died in 2000. “Once he hit that line, he was hard to stop. Just like a train going through that line.”
Colmer, after serving in World War II, played with the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees of the All-American Football Conference, a rival to the NFL in the late 1940s.
He played baseball for the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League and basketball for a barnstorming team led by widely respected former Stanford star Hank Luisettti.
Iris Cummings-Critchell (1937 – swimming). Before graduating from high school, Cummings Critchell already had competed in the Olympics, representing the United States as a 15-year-old swimmer at the 1936 Berlin Games.
As the 1936 national champion in the 200-meter breaststroke, the teenager qualified for the Olympic Trials and made the U.S. team that competed in Berlin, where she was eliminated in an early round heat.
Cummings Critchell continued to reign as national champion in the event until 1939, when she retired from swimming and took up flying as a member of the first Civilian Pilot Training Program at USC, eventually becoming the first woman to graduate from the school’s advanced aerobatics course.
In World War II, she served her country as a member of the Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP). Later, she raced airplanes competitively and, along with her husband Howard Critchell, helped found the Bates Aeronautics program at Harvey Mudd College.
In 2006, she was inducted into the National Flight Instructors Hall of Fame.
Bob Bacon (1946 – track, football). Bacon was the leader of RUHS’s 1946 state championship track team, winning two individual state hurdles titles and helping the spring relay team to another first-place finish.
His alma mater’s first track and field high school All-America, Bacon was the state champion in the 110- and 220-yard hurdles, establishing school records that were never broken – the events are now run in meters – and in the longer event running the fastest schoolboy time in the nation that year.
Also a halfback and fullback on the 1943, ’44 and ‘45 football teams, Bacon helped the unbeaten 1943 team win a Southern Section championship.
Later, he was inducted into the Hermosa Beach Surfer’s Walk of Fame.
Clarence Witt (1947 –basketball, football, track). Witt was an outstanding football and basketball player. He was a member of RUHS’s 1946 state champion track and field team, finishing second in the 880 behind rival Dan Gerst of Santa Monica High.
A week earlier, at the CIF Southern Section meet, Witt was the 880 winner.
In football, Witt was an All-Southern Section quarterback and team co-captain. In basketball, he was a two-year starting varsity center and received Al-Bay League honors.
He played both sports at El Camino College, earning All-Conference honors in basketball after averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds a game.
Howard Bugbee (1948 – football, track). An All-Southern Section sprinter and All-Southern Section football players, Bugbee established a single-season school rushing record that lasted nearly 50 years. Not until 1993 was the former fullback’s record broken.
As a sprinter, the speedy Bugbee was recognized as a high school All-American by the amateur Athletic Union, which named him to its 1948 All-Scholastic track and field team for the 100-yard dash. Two years earlier, he helped RUHS win a state track title.
Later, after transferring from Stanford, Bugbee was a two-time letter winner at USC, helping the Trojans win NCAA track titles in 1954 and 1055.
Richard Keelor (1953 – football). Athletic success at RUHS was only a preview of things to come for Keelor, a former director of program development for the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports in Washington, D.C.
At RUHS, where he also served as student body president and was king of the Coed Ball, Keelor was an all-league wrestler and an All-Southern Section lineman and three-year varsity letter winner in football.
Al Long Beach State, he was a two-time captain of the football team and a conference wrestling champion, leading to his 1975 induction into the school’s athletic hall of fame.
Keelor later coached wrestling at Beverly Hills High, founded a health-related company and became an expert on physical fitness. He has conducted more than 200 regional and national fitness and health promotion clinics, including four sports medicine conferences at the White House.
Rex Hughes (1956 – basketball, football). Hughes played three years on the varsity basketball team at RUHS. In his many seasons as a Sea Hawk, Hughes set numerous records and accomplished many feats both on the gridiron and on the basketball court.
Hughes was known for his skill in basketball and for his excellent sportsmanship and leadership. For his all-around playing ability in the sport of basketball during the 1954-55 season, Hughes received the distinction of being named to the first team All-Bay League and All-CIF basketball teams. Hughes averaged 19.6 points per game. In 1955 and 1956, he led the Bay league in scoring.
After high school, Hughes attended Baylor, later transferring to Pepperdine.
Hughes first attempts at coaching began as an assistant basketball coach at North Torrance High School. In 1964, he returned to his alma mater. In his first year as the head basketball coach, he did a remarkable job. Hughes guided the team to a phenomenal 26-1 overall record. His team was ranked No.1 in the CIF Southern Section, No.1 in the state and No. 3 nationally. The pressure of 26 consecutive wins caught up with the Sea Hawks in the semifinals and they were defeated in a heartbreaking loss to North Torrance. That same year, he was named Coach of the Year.
Hughes served as the men’s basketball coach at Kent State University from 1974-78. He would serve as an NBA head and assistant coach. Hughes served as a head coach for part of a season with the Sacramento Kings, and a single game (as an interim coach) with the San Antonio Spurs.
Dean Moore (1957 – basketball, football, tennis). Moore was a three-sport letter winner at RUHS, a two-time All-Southern Section quarterback and an all-league basketball player.
A talented passer, Moore also was an elusive scrambler who used his speed and agility to evade defenders. In the first RUHS-Mira Costa football game, a 6-0 Sea Hawk victory, he scored the only touchdown.
Moore, who also played tennis in high school, earned a scholarship to play football at UCLA for legendary coach Red Sanders. A broken collarbone limited Moore’s playing time and he transferred to Cal to finish his career.
Nick Carollo (1964 – wrestling, football). For Nick Carollo, twice named the most outstanding player on the RUHS football team, winning a state wrestling title in high school was only a jumping off point.
At El Camino College, he was a two-time state JC champion and at Adams State University in Alamosa, Colo., he was a three-time national champion and the only man in school history to win an NCAA Division I wrestling title.
Later, while competing for Athletes in Action, Carollo was a Pan American Games gold medalist and 16-time All-American. He also competed in judo, studying with masters of the martial art in Japan and reaching the level of third-degree black belt.
Harry Jenkins (1964 – basketball, baseball). Probably best known for his long and successful tenure as a baseball coach at his alma mater and later West Torrance High, Jenkins was a two-sport star at RUHS, earning All-Southern Section recognition in basketball and baseball.
The 1964 South Bay player of the year in baseball, as selected by the Daily Breeze, he later was a two-time all-conference infielder at Pepperdine, where he batted .343 in two seasons and in 2008 was inducted into the school’s athletic hall of fame.
Returning to RUHS as a teacher in 1970, Jenkins coached the baseball team for 19 seasons. His teams won 10 league titles and three times the Daily Breeze tabbed Jenkins as its South Bay coach of the year, an honor he won for a fourth time at West.
With 651 victories, he ranks among the state’s all-time winningest coaches.
Sergio Gonzalez (1965 – wrestling). A two-time Olympic wrestler, Gonzalez was first a champion at RUHS, capping an unbeaten season with a Southern Section title in 1964.
At UCLA, he was a conference champion and two-time runner-up at the NCAA championships in the 105-pound weight class.
Gonzalez, a gold medalist at the Pan-American Games in 1971 and the U.S. amateur championships in 1974, represented the United States at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968 and the Munich Games in 1972, finishing seventh in his weight class at Munich.
Bob Clemo (1965 – basketball). A three-year varsity started and All-Southern Section pick as a senior, Clemo was the leader and Most Valuable Player on one of the most storied basketball teams in RUHS history.
Averaging 12 points and 17 rebounds a game, the 6-foot-6 center led the unbeaten Sea Hawks to 26 consecutive victories before they were upset by North Torrance, a team they had twice defeated in league play, in the semifinals of the 1965 CIF Southern Section playoffs.
Later, after playing basketball and volleyball at USC, Clemo turned to business. He has been an executive in Orange County for more than 30 years and also served on the board of the John Tracy Clinic.
Terry Place Schaettler (1975 – volleyball, track). Place Schaettler was only getting started at RUHS, where she was an all-league volleyball player, reached the State Meet as a hurdler and, as a senior, was the school’s female athlete of the year.
In two seasons at USC, where she twice was a second-team All-American as a middle blocker, she helped the Trojans win consecutive national championships and compile a 72-1 record.
Afterward, Place Schaetller helped the U.S. team qualify for the 1980 Olympics, only to be denied a chance to participate because of a U.S.-led boycott of the Moscow Games.
Later, while playing in a semi-pro league in Germany, she married a German and joined the West German team, finally getting a chance to play in the Olympics in 1984 after a boycott by Eastern Bloc countries opened a spot for the West Germans in Los Angeles.
Greg “Gig” Sims (1976 – basketball). Sims, a 6-foot-9 shot-blocking center, was the most heralded basketball prospect in RUHS history, attracting a scholarship to UCLA after a stellar high school career that included All-Southern Section and league Player of the Year honors.
An example of the lanky Sims’ dominance was the championship game of the Pacific Shores Tournament in 1975: In lifting the Sea Hawks to the Shores title for the first time in 11 years, he scored 33 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and blocked eight shots.
At UCLA, Sims played for three coaches in four seasons. He helped the Bruins win three conference titles and, in his senior year, reach the championship game of the NCAA tournament. In 1980, he was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers.
After being cut, he played professionally in Europe until 1989.
Jimmy Ellis (1985 – football, wrestling). Before suffering a third-round knockout against George Foreman in a 1991 heavyweight fight, part of a 31-bout professional career, Ellis was a standout football players and wrestler at RUHS.
At 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, Ellis was an All-South Bay linebacker and unbeaten league champion wrestler, reaching the CIF Southern Section finals in wrestling before being disqualified for unnecessary roughness.
An All-American linebacker at Boise State, Ellis was drafted and eventually cut by the then Los Angeles Raiders before he tried boxing.
Turning pro without ever fighting as an amateur, he compiled a 27-3-1 record in a four-year career. All his victories were by knockout.
Tracy Brown (1987 – soccer, softball, track, volleyball). An All-Southern Section soccer and volleyball player as well as a league Player of the Year in both sports, Brown was a versatile 10-time varsity letter winner at RUHS.
She won two letters in softball, twice earning all-league recognition, in addition to four in soccer, two in volleyball and two in track and field as a sprinter and hurdler. Her teams won league championships in volleyball and soccer.
Brown, the school’s Female Athlete of the Year in 1987, also maintained a 3.6 grade point average.
Scott Davison (1988 – baseball). The most decorated baseball player in RUHS history, Davison was a two-time CIF Southern Section Player of the Year and two-time high school All-American and California State High School Player of the Year in 1988.
Three times selected to the All-South Bay team by the Daily Breeze and twice its player of the year, the right-hander compiled a 48-6 record in helping the Sea Hawks win four consecutive league titles.
After batting about .400 in his last two seasons, he was selected by the Montreal Expos in the fourth round of the 1988 amateur draft as a position player. Though later released by the Expos because of a shoulder injury, Davison reached the majors as a pitcher with the Seattle Mariners and later played professionally in Japan.
Morgan Ensberg (1994 – baseball). Ensberg was a two-sport standout at RUHS, earning all-league, All-South Bay and All-Southern Section honors in basketball and baseball, but he enjoyed his greatest success in baseball.
An All-Star third baseman, he played eight major league seasons with the Houston Astros, San Diego Padres and New York Yankees, batting .263 with 110 home runs and reaching the World Series with the Astros in 2005.
He enjoyed his greatest season in 2005, hitting 36 home runs, playing in the All-Star Game, winning a Silver Slugger Award as the top offensive player in the National League at his position and finishing fourth in voting for most valuable player.
Before launching his pro career, Ensberg helped USC win a national championship after making the team as a walk-on.
Keith Ellison (2002 – basketball, football). Though he would later enjoy greater success in football, Ellison was an All-Southern Section point guard at RUHS, helping the Sea Hawks win Southern Section championships in 2001 and 2002.
Ellison, also a multi-threat quarterback and All-Southern Section safety in high school, later played five seasons in the NFL as a linebacker for the Buffalo Bills, appearing as a starter in 40 games.
Before that, he played football at San Diego State, El Camino College and Oregon State, earning recognition as the Mission Conference defensive player of the year at El Camino in 2003.
Ellison is currently the Defensive Coordinator for the RUHS varsity football team.
Ofa Tulikhihifo (2002 – basketball, track, tennis). Tulikihihifo played tennis and was a league champion in the shotput and discus at RUHS, but she was dominant in basketball.
A two-time Southern Section player of the year and three-time Bay League player of the year, she twice led the Sea Hawks to Southern Section championships. In 2002, RUHS reached the California State Division II final before suffering a heartbreaking loss.
Tulikihihifo later played at Cal State Northridge, where she was an All-Big West Conference selection. She left CSUN as the Matadors’ all-time leading scorer, later playing professionally in Europe.
Rebecca Saraceno (2006 – volleyball). Saraceno was a three-time All-Southern Section volleyball player at RUHS, three times leading the Sea Hawks to runner-up finishes in the Southern Section playoffs.
As a junior in 2004, she set a school record with 35 kills in an upset playoff victory against second-seeded Brea-Olinda.
At UC Santa Barbara, Saraceno was an All-American outside hitter and Big West Conference Player of the Year. After her senior season, she was selected as the school’s Female Athlete of the Year.
Andy Gerst (2005 – tennis). Perhaps the top tennis player in RUHS history, Gerst was a three-time league Player of the Year, compiling a 61-4 record over three years.
He was a CIF doubles champion as a junior and a finalist as a senior, and led the Sea Hawks to an Ocean League and CIF Southern Section championship in an undefeated 25-0 season capped by a victory over a powerful Brentwood team in the Southern Section final.
A two-time high school All-American, Gerst was ranked among the top 20 junior players in Southern California while at RUHS and later played at Washington and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where he was an All-Big West Conference selection. He played two years on the Pro Tour and is still involved in tennis.
Coach Harold Grant (1939-48). A former college football coach, Grant arrived at RUHS in the late 1930s and guided the Sea Hawks to a state track and field championship in 1946.
A year later, the Grant-coached Sea Hawks finished second.
Grant, who had previously coached at College of Emporia in Kansas and at Missouri School of Mines, also coached at RUHS, guiding the 1943 team to an unbeaten record and Southern Section championship.
Coach Mel Seifert (1938-70). Seifert kept busy as a student at RUHS, serving as a class president and captain of the football team as well as participating in basketball, baseball and track, but he is best remembered for his 32-year tenure as a Sea Hawk coach.
Perhaps his longest lasting contribution was the Pacific Shores basketball tournament, established by Seifert in 1951 and still drawing strong fields 62 years later.
Seifert, also a former RUHS athletic director, guided the Sea Hawks to a Southern Section basketball championship in 1943 and continued coaching until his retirement in 1970.
In 1967, the Fresno State graduate was inducted into the Southern California Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Assn. Hall of Fame.
Coach Russ Striff (1940-69). Before arriving at RUHS in the mid-1930s and coaching the Sea Hawks to football and track and field championships in the ’40s, Striff was an All-L.A. City running back at Lincoln High and an All-West Coast end at Oregon State.
At Redondo, he combined a booming voice and passionate, no-nonsense approach to guide the football team to a Southern Section title in 1942 and the track team to a State title in 1946 but may have been more fondly remembered for his compassion.
According to his son, Jerry, Striff developed what he called a “scholarship fund” for students in need, providing financial pick-me-ups for anything from prom attire to lunch money without making it known to anyone but the students involved.
“I had many of his former students tell me over the years of their emotional gratitude for his thoughtfulness,” his son said. “He never talked about it even at home.”
1943 CIF Champion football team. Led by coaches Harold Grant and Russell Striff, the 1943 team won the first Southern California Championship in the school’s history. After a 7-6 loss to Loyola in practice game, the Sea Hawks ran off nine straight wins, culminated by a 21-14 victory over Alhambra in the championship game.
Redondo outscored its opponents 140-64 during the season, Oliver Coury was named as first string guard on the Mythical So-Calif. Eleven and Roy Riley was chosen as third-string quarterback.
1946 State Championship track team. Coached by Harold Grant, the 1946 track and field team captured Redondo’s first state title in any sport. Bob Bacon won the 110- and 220-yard hurdles, Clarence Witt finished third in the 880-yard race, Ronnie Dixon placed fourth in the 220-yard hurdles and roger Norgren finished fourth in the 440-yard event.
Redondo’s 880-yard relay team of Bacon, Dixon, Norgren, Witt and Howard Bugbee also won a state title.
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