There were two really deserving honorees for our Girls’ Coach of the Year, with one winning a championship and making school history in the fall, while the other led her team on an impressive run to a CIF title game in her first season on campus.
Douglas Schlueter, Long Beach Poly Girls’ Tennis
Head coach Douglas Schlueter led the Jackrabbits to their first ever CIF title in girls’ tennis, surviving a heated championship match against San Dimas, 10-8. Schlueter kept his team focused after an extended delay to their expected start time, and helped his team navigate an extremely close and competitive match. The Jackrabbits may have come up short of winning the Moore League title, but they came together at the right time for an impressive playoff run.
“It happened so fast, we were jumping around celebrating on the court together,” said Schlueter after the CIF title win. “The girls did it–they made history.”
Michelle Lehr, Millikan Softball
In the spring, Millikan softball coach Michelle Lehr did quite well in her debut season with the Rams. Even with an injury to ace pitcher Victoria Byrum, Millikan didn’t miss a beat with a 13-1 league record to claim a second straight title. From there, the Rams had to contend with the stiffer competition of the CIF-SS Division 2 bracket, but the young team handled it swimmingly.
Millikan had a pair of heroic comeback wins in rounds two and three, eventually making it to the CIF title game against No. 2 seed Mission Viejo, which had outscored its playoff opponents 20-0 to that point. The Rams came up just short in a 2-1 loss in the title game, but Lehr and assistant coach Mike Mathis have established the Rams up as a program on the rise. With only one starter set to graduate, Lehr is confident about Millikan’s immediate future on the small diamond.
“For the young group we have, being here is such a good experience for next year,” Lehr said. “I think we’ll be able to handle certain moments a little bit better. I expect us to be here for the next two years.”