Brett Schultz of Canyon High School won the Century League cross-country championship Saturday, running the 3-mile course at Yorba Regional Park in 14 minutes 50 seconds.
Schultz also finished first last season but later was disqualified for elbowing Santa Ana's Roger Nava during the race. League coaches voted, 5-1, to disqualify Schultz.
Because of the disqualification, not only did Schultz miss last year's Southern Section preliminaries but so did Canyon, which dropped from second to fifth place in the standings without his finish.
Saturday, Schultz was a close third with 660 yards to go and then out-sprinted Rene Gutierrez of El Modena and Jimmy Rodriquez of Santa Ana Valley.
Gutierrez finished second in the same time as Schultz, 14:50. Rodriquez was just two seconds back in third place.
El Modena captured the team title, beating Canyon and Santa Ana. All three advance to the section preliminaries.
Villa Park finished in sixth place. It is the first time since Dave White became the Spartan coach in 1975 that his team will miss the preliminaries.
The girls' race was won by Maricela Benavidas of Santa Ana Valley, who ran 17:31 and helped the Falcons win the team title. Villa Park took second, and Santa Ana edged Canyon for third place. The top three go on to the preliminaries.
Canyon had advanced to the section meet every year since 1976, the first year the section held a girls' meet.
Maria Mendoza's third-place finish in 17:56 led the Saints. Villa Park's Laura Doering was third in 18:10.
Brea-Olinda placed five runners in the top 12 and won the Orange League boys' final by one point over Valencia at Craig Park in Fullerton.
Igor Daza of Valencia won the race held on a course shortened to 2.5 miles because of the rain. Daza finished in 12:37, which was 25 seconds ahead of second-place Brent Jones of Brea. Jaime Lugo of Valencia was third in 13:10.
Jay Le Page, who was seventh in 13:40, and David Pasino, ninth in 13:56, finished in the top 10 for Brea.
Anaheim, led by Luis Valenzuela's fourth-place finish, was third. The top three teams advance to the section preliminaries.
In the girls' race, Savanna, led by Ericka Lovett's third-place finish in 16:38, took the championship. Only three points separated second through fourth places. Valencia was second with 71 points, Magnolia was third with 72, and Brea (73) was fourth. The top three advance.
Fountain Valley narrowly defeated Huntington Beach to win the Sunset League boys' championship at Central Park.
Teams advancing to the section preliminaries were Fountain Valley (44 points), Huntington Beach (51) and Marina (70). Shannon Winkelman of Marina won the boys' race in 14:06.
Huntington Beach's Natalie Adam won the girls' race in 17:10. Marina won the team title, with Huntington Beach second and Fountain Valley third.