Bloodlines of Redondo Red
Roots on the campus of Redondo Union High School run deep for the Zahn family, so it seemed only fitting that three of the school’s most accomplished athletes – Adam, Andrew and Austin Zahn – would enter the RUHS Hall of Fame together.
The third-generation Sea Hawks were among the 13 athletes, one coach and two teams who became the newest members of the RUHS Athletic Hall of Fame in an induction ceremony held Saturday in the school’s Student Union.
Les Congelliere, President of the Redondo Athletic Association and former RUHS coach and athletic director, was the driving force behind the Hall of Fame which inducted its inaugural class last year.
“The Zahn brothers all did amazing things while at RUHS,” Congelliere said. “The class of 2014 Hall of Fame inductees are incredibly diverse and deserving. There were over fifty nominees and the committee made their best effort to be fair, accurate and thorough in the selection process.”
Congelliere joins Jim Ball, Tom Chaffins, Jennifer Dessert, Greg Fucci, Tracy Hattingh, Harry Jenkins, Steve Shaw and Gentil Smith as members of the RUHS Athletic Hall of Fame Committee.
Chet Zahn played football for Congelliere and was excited to have his wife Cathy and other family members in attendance to watch his three sons inducted.
“This is pretty cool,” the beaming father said. “There’s a lot of water under the bridge as the boys are third generation Sea Hawks. We don’t have a big family, but we’ve all gone here – my mom and dad and all but one of his brothers, my wife, her brother and my sisters.”
Chet said he so many fond memories of watching his sons compete at the high school level, but somje quickly came to mind.
“I remember Adam stealing the ball from (future NBA player) Josh Childress and out running him at the Pond,” Chet said. “Also, some of the basketball road trips we took. We went to the East Coast a couple of times. Then there was a volleyball tournament where we lost to Edison. It was fun and a great run. All the coaches are great.”
Cathy was all smiles throughout the three-hour event.
“This means so much for our family,” the proud mother said. “To have three sons be members of the Hall of Fame of the school that means so much to us, plus to go in together, is extra special.”
Andrew Zahn (Class of 2000) paved the road for his two younger brothers. He entered RUHS with high hopes, having had two uncles who starred at the school in basketball.
Andrew didn’t disappoint, lettering four years as a varsity player and leading the Sea Hawks to numerous Bay League Championships under head coach Jim Neilsen. He was Redondo Athlete of the Year twice. He was also the Bay League Most Outstanding Player, Daily Breeze Player of the Year and 1st Team All-CIF four times. In addition, he was Gatorade Player of the Year in California and a Nike All American.
As a senior, Andrew averaged 17.2 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks per game. The Sea Hawks went 81-15 over his last three seasons.
Andrew received a full scholarship to the University of Arizona and played professionally overseas after college. Andrew changed the perception of RUHS and brought back championship goals to the boys basketball program.
“My favorite memory was a game at Loyola Marymount University,” Andrew said. “It was a quarter or semifinal game my senior year and we were playing against Dominguez and (future NBA center) Tyson Chandler. I was having some trouble and Adam, who was a sophomore, came in for me. He had a baseline dunk right on Chandler’s face. It was great.
“Going into the Hall with my brothers is one of the biggest honors I could hope for. The fact that they followed me at Redondo and had such triumphant careers of their own, plus having so many family members that went to Redondo is pretty rad. My grandfather and grandmother were high school sweethearts here. He played football and she was a cheerleader. My mom and dad were high school sweethearts. This means a lot.”
Adam (Class of 2002) continued his family tradition in Redondo Basketball and achieved great personal and team success, winning three Bay League Championships and two CIF Championships. He was an athletic, high-flying wing player who wowed the fans with many outstanding dunks.
Playing for coach Tom Maier, Adam averaged 14.4 points and 8.2 rebounds per game as a senior. He was a Nike All-American, Gatorade Player of the Year and the Bay-League Most Outstanding Player. He received a full scholarship to the University of Oregon and played professionally in the NBA “D” League and overseas for five years.
Now semi-retired from basketball, Adam continues in the sport as a youth coach while establishing himself locally in the business world.
“The moment I remember most from my high school career was winning the CIF title by junior year,” Adam said. “Wendell White hit a buzzer-beater and everyone was piling on each other on the court.”
Adam said his teams were on the road most of the time but his grandparents never missed a game. He was extremely honored to be inducted alongside his brothers.
“With Andrew, basketball was a big part of our relationship,” Adam said. “Enemies might not be the right word but it’s pretty close. We were very competitive and later became very close friends. He never took it easy on me and I appreciate him for that.
“It was cool to go away for college and have a little brother and come back to see a man-child. It was fun to watch Austin compete for two national championships and represent his country in his sport.
“I’m very proud to be a third generation Sea Hawk and back living in the area,” Andrew said. “Lord willing, we’ll be sending our kids here in due time.”
Austin (Class of 2007) played on an undefeated freshman basketball team, but decided to go his own way and star in volleyball.
“I was really surprised to see my name so early,” Austin said. “Going into the Hall of Fame with my brothers is pretty cool.”
A varsity player for four years, Austin took his team to the playoffs all four years and was All-CIF 2nd team as a junior and 1st team as a senior.
Austin was a three-time All-Bay first teamer recording 336 kills and 92 block his senior year. He had 367 kills and 100 blocks his junior year while leading Redondo to the CIF Division 1 final.
“The run we had to the CIF final in my junior year was the most memorable time of my high school career,” Austin said. “It was only the second time Redondo had advanced that far in the playoffs.”
Austin received a full scholarship to the University of Southern California and played in the National Championship finals twice. The last three years, Austin has been an assistant to head coach Duncan Avery for Redondo’s boys volleyball team.
“I remember coming in to my freshman year and having two really big shoes to fill and not knowing how I was going to do it,” Austin said. “My goal was to get a scholarship to college. If I didn’t, I would really let my family down.
I wanted to play football and basketball but wasn’t sure what my spring sport was going to be. About a week after I had a stern talking to from baseball coach Harry Jenkins, who said I was going to be a pitcher on the mound for him, I met an over-energetic, super-enthused Tommy Chaffins. He was excited to have me on his team and said I would start out on JV but have a chance to start on varsity which was a big status thing. His passion for the sport was something that rubbed off on me and I can’t thank him enough.”
Other inductees included:
Jim Allison (1961 – Football) – Before being drafted by the San Diego Chargers in 1965, James “Jim” Allison had a stellar career as a running back at RUHS. Allison started his journey in football, as the first of only two known athletes in the school’s history to become a four-year letterman in football.
In 1961, Allison was the Bay League Player of the Year, earned 2nd Team All-CIF honors as a running back, and was voted MVP of the Sea Hawk football team.
Upon graduation, Allison attended El Camino College, where he continued to excel on the gridiron. The six-foot, 215-pound fullback was awarded a full scholarship to San Diego State University where his football career soared under the tutelage of Don Coryell. In 1964, Allison led the nation in rushing earning 1st Team All-Conference, 2nd Team All-American and SDSU Player of the Year honors. Allison is also a member of the SDSU Aztecs Brethbart Hall of Fame.
After college, Allison was drafted by both the AFL San Diego Chargers and the NFL Minnesota Vikings, the last year of the “double draft.” Allison chose to sign with the Chargers, coached by Sid Gillman. His professional football career included five years with the San Diego Chargers. In 1965, he was selected as the Charger’s Rookie of the Year.
In 1990, Allison was inducted into the El Camino College Hall of Fame for Football.
Rick Eber (1963 – Football) – While at RUHS, Rick Eber was a multiple sport athlete. He played football, basketball, and tennis. In the 1962 season Eber was a Bay League 1st team selection as a wide receiver.
“When you’re a Sea Hawk, you’re a Sea Hawk for life,” Eber said. “We had 16 members of our family that graduated from Redondo.”
Eber grew into his athletic frame after high school where his career took off. At El Camino College, he was the 1st ECC player to earn the Metro League MVP award and was 1st team on the National JC Grid Wire All-American team.
After ECC, he received a scholarship to Tulsa University. In 1967, Eber was the second leading receiver in the nation and was the Golden Hurricane’s Most Valuable Player. Eber broke two NCAA single game receiving records, a total of 20 receptions for 322 years. Eber was 1st team All-Missouri Valley Conference, 1st team All-Southwest and played in three all star games
In 1968, Eber was drafted in the 6th round by the Atlanta Falcons. He was traded to the San Diego Chargers where he was on the roster in both 1969 and 1970. Eber played in the Canadian Football League and the World Football League, from which he retired in 1975.
In 1989, Eber was inducted into the El Camino College Hall of Fame for Football and Track.
Laura Hale (1972 – Multiple Sports) – Laura Hale was a female athlete who was a little before her time. Hale graduated from RUHS in 1972, just as Title IX was being passed and implemented in high school sports.
On June 23, 1972, Congress passed the Educational Amendments. One section of this law, Title IX, prohibited discrimination against girls and women in federally-funded education, including in athletics programs.
Hale overcame the obstacles that female athletes faced forty-two years ago with steadfast determination and skilled athleticism.
Hale participated in athletics all four years of high school. She was a member of the “R” Club and GAA – Girls Athletic Association. She lettered three years in volleyball and basketball, and two years in softball. She also excelled at tennis through GAA competition. Hale was selected Most Outstanding Female Athlete four years in a row. She was team MVP in softball, and won Best Sportsmanship in basketball. Hale was also a member of the Ski Club. For her outstanding athletic abilities, Hale won a P.E. scholarship which allowed her continue her college education, obtaining her BA in Physical Education from Cal State Northridge and becoming a P.E. teacher and coach.
Hale’s impact as a coaching professional were immediate; her first year, she coached the Westlake School for Girls tennis team to a CIF 5-A Runner up title in 1975. The following year, she guided the team to a CIF championship. Hale taught PE and coached softball at Dorsey and Garfield High Schools, where her teams were league champions numerous times. Hale is also a certified volleyball, basketball and softball official.
Hale obtained her master’s degree in Educational Administration from Cal State Los Angeles in 1988 and became the first female Athletic Director at Garfield High School. Her strong leadership skills as Assistant Principal with the Los Angeles Unified School District, garnered her Administrator of the Year in 2000. For her numerous achievements in education in 2004, she also received a coveted CIF “Character Counts Courage Award” from the Josephson Institute.
Hale played on a Southern California – Triple-A Women’s ASA fast pitch softball team for 10 years, leading her team to World Services twice. She was the softball batting champion with a .400 average and chosen MVP four times.
Hale’s professional accolades continued as she was chosen to direct the first Gay Prom for LASUD students, and received an Award of Excellent from the LAUSD Board of Education in 1994, as the Executive Director of the Gay and Lesbian Education Commission.
Hale spent 32 years in the LA Unified School District and retired as a high school Principal in 2014. Hale is an avid golfer and participates in many tournaments with an “A” flight rating. She currently resides in Palm Desert.
Robin Dreizler (1978 – Baseball) – Robin Dreizler was a three-year letterman and first team All-CIF catcher in baseball. Coached by Harry Jenkins, Dreizler led his teams to the CIF playoffs both in 1977 and 1978. In his senior year, Dreizler was selected 1st Team All-Pioneer League.
Dreizler was an active member of the RUHS Student Body and was Sports Editor for the High Tide school newspaper, as well as Editor in Chief of “etcetera” the campus literary magazine.
“Two people who significantly changed my life while I was at Redondo were (journalism instructor) Jolene Combs and Harry Jenkins, who was like a father to me, like many coaches are, but he instilled a confidence level in me that was unmatched.”
In June of 1978, Dreizler was drafted in the 11th round by the Baltimore Orioles. Dreizler chose to enroll at El Camino College where he played baseball for two years for Coach Dan Cowgill and Assistant Coach Tom Hicks.
Starting two years for the Warriors, Dreizler earned All-Conference second-team honors as a catcher in 1980 and was selected as a fourth-round pick by the Philadelphia Phillies, but decided to continue his education and play for the University of Arizona. In 1982, he signed and played two years of professional baseball in the New York/Penn League for the Utica Blue Sox.
In 1983 he became the pitching coach at UC Irvine until he was hired in the same position at UCLA in 1989, a position he held until 1995. Dreizler lists Eric Karros, Troy Glaus, Brady Anderson, Doug Linton and Eric Byrnes among favorite players he has coached.
He retired from coaching in 1995 and is now the Director of Outreach and School Relations at El Camino College.
Dreizler earned his Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Public Relations, and his Master’s Degree in Humanities and Art from California State University Dominguez Hills.
Dreizler, and his wife Dina, reside in San Pedro and have four daughters.
Roland H’Orvath (1984 – Basketball) – Roland H’Orvath is one of a small group of unique Sea Hawk athletes who started their career at Aviation High School and then came to Redondo with the closure of Aviation in 1982. As a sophomore at Aviation, he earned League MVP, Daily Breeze All Area and All-CIF Honors. His trait of consistency was evident when, during his two years at Redondo, he led the league in scoring both years.
One of the most decorated athletes in the South Bay, he went on to earn one League MVP, one League Most Outstanding Player and a First Team All-League selection. He was a three- time Daily Breeze All area pick, twice an All-LA Times team member and a three-time All-CIF selection.
“I owe a lot to coach Steve Shaw,” H’Orvath said. “Also, Chuck Thomas, who found me at Adams Middle School and coached me my freshman and sophomore years.”
The awards continued during his time at El Camino College when he led the Warriors to the State Championship in 1985. H’Orvath earned All Conference, and Conference Most Outstanding Player honors, as well as All-State Awards. He transferred to Santa Clara University and, in 1987, helped the Broncos qualify for their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 27 years. H’Orvath graduated with a degree in Economics.
He currently works in Real Estate in Riverside and is actively involved in NJB and Club Basketball. He lives in Riverside with his wife Cari and children – Ethan, Carlo, Daniella and Roland Jr.
Aaron Wachtfogel (1999 – Volleyball) – Aaron Wachtfogel is perhaps the most decorated Sea Hawk volleyball player of all time. As a junior, he was a starter on the 1998 team that defeated Mira Costa for the first time in 20 years. In 1999, he was the unquestioned leader of the team that swept Mira Costa and won a Bay League title. He led the team in almost every statistical category while taking the team to the CIF Division II final. Wachtfogel was also named the Daily Breeze Player of the Year and 1st team All-CIF for his efforts.
“Tommy Chaffins instilled a new winning mentality to the volleyball program at Redondo,” Wachtfogel said.
In college at University of Pacific, Wachtfogel started off his career as a back-row player only, as his college coach thought Wachtfogel was too small to play at the net. When Wachtfogel got his chance against the No. 1 ranked BYU team he dialed up 35 kills in a 3-2 upset win. He was named the AVCA Player of the Week which he won one more time while ranking in the top ten in five statistical categories and left the school as the all-time dig leader.
After getting his MBA in four years, Wachtfogel then went on to play professionally on the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP). He has played eight seasons on AVP circuit and reached nine AVP semifinals, winning the Manhattan Open on 2010 with fellow Redondo Beach resident and Olympian Sean Rosenthal. His #99 jersey has not been worn since at RUHS.
Amanda Rivera (2000 – Softball) – Rivera was ready to dominate from the batter’s box as a freshman, leading the area with a .440 batting average. For four years, Rivera became not only a league threat but a powerful force in the area. She was All-League, All-Area, and All-CIF all four years of her career. In 1998 she helped her team reach the CIF quarterfinals by posting the state’s top batting average of .630.
“My journey at Redondo began when I was in fifth and six grade when my dad would take me to basketball, volleyball and softball games,” Rivera said. “My goal wasn’t to become an Olympian or play college softball, it was to make varsity at Redondo. The girls I watched when I was in fifth and sixth grade were role models to me and now I get to be the same, so thanks to all those who played before me.”
Rivera’s accolades didn’t stop after she graduated from RUHS. She continued her successful career at the University of Illinois at Chicago by setting home run records, earning Rookie of the Year and First Team honors in the region and was an Easton All-American. By the time she was a senior she had set single season home run records in the Horizon League with 20 HR along with 58 RBIs – finishing with an astonishing 52 home runs in her career.
Rivera spent the next few years building her reputation as a quality coach by assisting at four universities before taking the head coaching job at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis in 2012. She is currently building a very successful program at IUPUI and has doubled the program’s post season win totals in the last two seasons.
Bob Martinez (2000 – Swimming/Water Polo) – Robert “Bob” Martinez, a second-generation Sea Hawk, came to Redondo already an accomplished young swimming phenom. At RUHS, he met Mark Rubke (’71), who was to be his coach for the next four years. Martinez broke nearly every existing RUHS swimming record. He enjoyed setting goals and breaking records, but “winning the meets” was what he enjoyed the most.
Undefeated for four years in the Bay League and all championship meets, Bob swam nearly all the individual events during the dual meets. His specialty was freestyle, and he was Bay League Champion all four years in the 100 and 200 events. He swam butterfly, backstroke and the difficult individual medley swims. Martinez held the school records in all the freestyle events: 50, 100, 200, 500 and the 100 Butterfly. In 1999, he broke a 21 year-old Bay League record in the 200 Freestyle with a time of 1:43:77. Coach Rubke said: “Bob was good at sprints and distances, his versatility was what set him apart.”
A multiple-event swimmer in CIF competition, he is RUHS’ only male CIF Swimming Champion. Recognized all four years as MVP for swimming, Martinez also excelled in varsity water polo lettering his sophomore, junior and senior years. He was MVP and All-League his senior year and named All School MVP in 2000.
Martinez attended USC after RUHS. He continues to work as a Los Angeles County Lifeguard, in addition to being a nine-year veteran with the Los Angeles Police Department, currently stationed at the Southeast Division. Bob is also the proud father of two beautiful children, Vincent and Gwen.
Dijon Thompson (2002 – Basketball) – Dijon Thompson was a leader and standout basketball player both at RUHS and in college at UCLA. The 6’7” guard/forward lettered three seasons for head coach Jim Nielsen. He was the captain of the 2001 Boys Basketball CIF Division II-AA championship team that compiled an impressive 27-6 record. Thompson led his team to victory over Josh Childress’s Mayfair team in the finals to secure the first boys CIF championship in 55 years.
Thompson was named the CIF Division II-AA Co-Player of the Year and the Bay League MVP his senior season. At the end of his senior year, he was named one of the five best players in California, and was rated one of the top high school shooters in the nation. Thompson was a McDonald’s All-American finalist and an unanimous choice for the Los Angeles Times’ All-South Bay/Westside Team.
“I want to thank the Zahns for catching my lobs,” Thompson quipped. “Although, Andrew didn’t catch them as high as Adam.”
After high school, Thompson played four years at UCLA, where he was team captain his senior year. He averaged 15.6 points a game throughout his career as a Bruin. He was one of UCLA’s most versatile performers who could play both inside and out. In 2001, Thompson garnered the Seymour Armond Memorial Award for Most Valuable Freshman and was All-Pac-12 First Team in 2005.
In June of 2005, Thompson was selected by the New York Knicks in the second round. The Phoenix Suns acquired the draft rights to Thompson in a trade. In July of 2005, Thompson signed a multi-year contract with the Phoenix Suns. He also played in the NBA with the Golden State Warriors and the Atlanta Hawks.
Thompson has played professionally in Germany, Ukraine, Israel, France, and Russia. Several teams Thompson has played for won National Championships (Alba Berlin, Azovmash Mariupol, Ukraine, and Hapoel Jerusalem). In addition, Thompson was named to various All-Eurocup First Team selections, most recently in 2013-14, with BC Nizhny Novgorod in Russia.
Nick Berger (2005 – Tennis) – The most decorated doubles player in Redondo boys tennis history, Nick Berger is also arguably the best. Playing with many different partners Berger achieved unequalled results. He was a finalist with Nathan Stadler in the prestigious Ojai Tournament, twice a finalist and once a champion in the CIF Individual Doubles Tournament with Andy Gerst, went undefeated in CIF team competition with Chance Finley and helped his team in the regular season with many different partners.
Berger qualified for CIF all four years in doubles and led his team to a 71-4, record in his last three years at Redondo. After graduation, Berger continued his tennis career at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and got to play with his high school team mate Andy Gerst his last three years.
“As a doubles player, I could only get three points out of a possible 18 for my team.” Berger said during his induction speech. “So everyone of my teammates should be up here with me. It was in incredible three years we had.”
Berger continues to be active in sports as the Sports Performance Director at STACK-Velocity Sports Performance.
Coach: Mike Burley (Wrestling 1958-68) – The RUHS wrestling coach from 1950 to 1966, Mike Burley guided the Sea Hawks to six consecutive Bay League championships in the 1950s. Twice, in 1954 and 1955, the Sea Hawks were CIF runners-up to San Diego.
Among the many talented RUHS wrestlers mentored by Burley were Mike Coyle, Frank Addleman, Dick Keelor, Sergio Gonzales, Nick Corollo, Bob Urhausen, Jerry Bray, Bruce Winnie, Alex Felix, Allan Gonzales, Albert Johnson, Jack Sedga, Harold Hoffenberg, and Jim Nobles.
A math and physical education teacher at RUHS from 1947-1968, Burley also coached Bee level football for many years.
Born Nov. 10, 1905, in Iowa, he earned his undergraduate degree and teacher credential from Iowa State Teacher’s College and his MA from USC.
Prior to his arrival at RUHS, Burley was a teacher and successful track and field coach at Leuzinger High School from 1944-1947, competing against legendary Sea Hawk coach Harold Grant.
He died June 29, 1982 at the age of 76.
Teams: Girls Basketball (2002) – Under the guidance of head coach Marcelo Enriquez, the Lady Sea Hawks won the Bay League title, the CIF Division II-A crown and the Southern California Regional Championship reaching the State final for the first time in the history of the girls basketball program.
After defeating Bay League rival North Torrance 42-30 in the CIF-SS Division II-A final at the Long Beach Pyramid, Redondo defeated Troy (Fullerton) 53-39 to capture the CIF Division II-A Regional Championship behind Ofa Tulikihihifo’s 14-point, 13-rebound performance at the Long Beach Arena.
Playing at Arco Arena in Sacramento, Redondo lost a hard-fought 51-47 game to St. Mary’s of Stockton in the State final.
The Sea Hawks finished the season with a 26-8 record while boasting one of the best defenses in Southern California, holding opponents to an average of less than 40 points per game.
Record was 26-8
Team members included: Krista Areyan, Allison Bretana, Krisztina Fuleki, Jeana Glover, Brittany Grice, Chloe Grimm, Tyler Martinook, Regina Moala, Jennifer Owens, Christina Scarratt, Lindsay Steele, Sandi Tsosie, Ofa Tulikihihifo, and Jessica Woodas.
Boys Tennis (2004) – Jan Ball, the wife of head coach Jim Ball, called the 2003 Redondo Boys Tennis team the “Dream Team”, but it was the 2004 team that fulfilled the dream. After losing only one contest in 2003 to a more experienced Brentwood team in the CIF Finals, the returning 2004 players set the highest of goals, – an undefeated season.
To accomplish this goal, Jim Ball raised the strength of schedule to provide as many tough matches as possible. The team, led by singles players Nathan Stadler and Andy Gerst, as well as strong doubles teams consisting of Nick Berger and Chance Finley, and Logan Bailey and Jon Vlasach, was able to defeat traditional powerhouses like Palos Verdes, Peninsula High School and Beverly Hills High School for the first time in school history.
Also contributing to the team’s success were Charles Baker, Daniel DeMoss, Tesh Demsas, Daniel Fine, Alvin Jeong, and Ronit Mukerji. Helping the team that year was Doubles Coach Damian Schiller and current Redondo tennis coach Jessica Seibert.
The 2004 ream achieved its goal and finished the season with an unblemished 25-0 record by defeating that same Brentwood team in the CIF Division IV finals by a score of 12-6, reversing the score from the previous year. In addition, Berger and Gerst were CIF Individual Doubles Champs and Bailey and Vlasach were finalists.