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Super Groms Houshmand, Matson claim Grom Search National Titles.

For groms these days, it seems like there’s a contest every weekend. But some are bigger than others. Last weekend in Santa Cruz, a crew of San Clemente’s rising talent made its way up north to compete in the Rip Curl Grom Search National Finals. Featuring the best up-and-coming kids from around the country, Cole Houshmand continued his winning ways by taking out the Under 16 division. Hot on his heels was Kade Matson, who won the Under 14 division and finished fourth in the Under 16 division. For the ladies, Samantha Sibley found her way to a runner-up spot in the Under 16 Girls. By winning the Under 16 Boys division champions, Houshmand now has the opportunity to enjoy an all-expense-paid trip to compete in the Grom Search International Final against the top eight qualifiers from around the world, set to go on the Search at an undisclosed location in the spring 2018.

Kade Matson. Photo: Courtesy of Rip Curl

Celebrating the Life of Ernie Polte

Beloved father, mentor and friend, Ernest A. Polte, passed away peacefully in the early morning of Sept. 29. Born in Chicago, Illinois, on Feb. 5, 1927, he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1945 and shipped to the Pacific toward the end of World War II. After an honorable discharge, Polte settled in Southern California where he began lifeguarding at Los Angeles County beaches. In 1949, he set two national junior college swimming records. Two years later, he graduated with an education degree from Stanford University, then returned to Orange County to marry his sweetheart, Nancy. Raising three sons, Larry, John and Jeff, Polte worked as a full-time teacher/coach at Fullerton College. Following retirement in 1990, he moved to San Clemente to be closer to his beloved ocean. Over the years, he competed in over 200 open-water swims, mostly first-place finishes in his age group. In the fall of 2016, he was diagnosed with liver cancer. The “old man of the sea” fought a courageous battle, but ultimately fell victim to time and disease at 90 years old. He will be greatly missed. A Celebration of Life for Ernie Polte will be held on Saturday, Oct. 21, at 11 a.m. at the La Ventura event center, located at 2316 S. El Camino Real in San Clemente.


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