They really didn't need to run the Southern Section cross-country preliminaries in the boys' 4-A division Saturday at Mt. San Antonio College.
All you had to do was look at the latest poll, which ranked Palos Verdes first, Thousand Oaks second and Dana Hills third.
So, it really wasn't a surprise when Palos Verdes won the first heat, Thousand Oaks took the second and Dana Hills edged Corona del Mar in the last.
Although the Dolphins scored 68 points to the Sea Kings' 90, it was actually a closer race. Dana Hills, which placed five runners in the top 20, had a team time of 81:20, No. 4-ranked Corona del Mar's time was 81:34.
Javier Barrera led the Dolphins with a fifth-place finish, and Sea King sophomore Eddie Lavelle took second in 15:41. Defending 4-A champion Richard Erbes of Glendale won the race in 15:16.
"I was kind of surprised Dana Hills beat us by more than 20 points," Corona del Mar Coach Bill Sumner said. "We must have lost something in the last half mile. What hurt us was Jim Robbins coming in 28th after he had been in the top 10 earlier."
Huntington Beach took third in its heat to qualify for Saturday's 4-A boys' team final. Mission Viejo and Capistrano Valley also advanced with fourth-place finishes in their heats.
Other county qualifiers included:
--The Valencia boys' team. The Tigers, ranked No. 3 in 2-A, finished first in their heat with the help of senior Chris Lugo's victory. The defending 2-A champion finished in 15:37, the top time for county runners. No. 8-ranked Laguna Hills was second in the race.
Although Valencia placed four runners in the top 15, it will be hard pressed to defeat No. 1-ranked Walnut in the final. Walnut took first through fourth places in its heat. Laguna Beach finished second behind Walnut. In another 2-A heat, Costa Mesa, led by senior Chris Hobson's (15:45) third-place finish, advanced by finishing third.
--The Buena Park boys' team. The Coyotes, No. 5-ranked in 3-A, took third in their heat.
--The La Habra boys' team. Fourth-ranked in 3-A, the Highlanders had four runners finish in the top 10. Junior Moises Garcia (15:43) was third.
--The La Habra girls' team. Sita Jones (19:47) finished fifth to lead No. 4-ranked La Habra to a second-place finish.
--The Canyon girls' team. The No. 9-ranked Comanches took third in their 4-A heat.
--The Dana Hills girls' team. Kirsten Quigley (19:02) was seventh and Kelli Lewis (19:28) ninth as the Dolphins finished second in their 4-A heat. In the same race, Newport Harbor finished third.
--The Ocean View girls' team. Kathy Karpel (19:03) was fifth and Shannen Karpel (19:05) sixth to lead the fifth-ranked Seahawks to second place in their 4-A heat. Irvine took fourth in the same race.
--The La Quinta girls' team. Junior Kathy Cannon (19:19) solidified her position as the Aztecs' No. 1 runner by finishing sixth, three seconds ahead of teammate Kristin Harkins. Despite an injury to their No. 5 runner, Melanie Daniels, the Aztecs advanced to the 2-A final with a third-place finish. Woodbridge, led by freshman Cathi Peck (19:47), also qualified for the 2-A final by finishing fourth.
--The Laguna Beach girls' team. Megan Barnett (19:32) was third, Wendy Petersen (20:06) fifth and Kirsten Petersen (20:06) sixth to lead the No. 5-ranked Artists to first place in their heat.
--Ken Hall, San Clemente senior, qualified in 4-A by finishing third in his heat in 15:43.
--Julie Cooper and Beth Rosipajila of El Dorado both qualified in 3-A. They finished in 19:03, but Cooper was awarded second place.
--Stephen Niednagel of Capistrano Valley Christian finished third in his heat to qualify for the 1-A final.