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Edison Takes Charge in All-Sports Championship : Competition: Chargers go to the bank with strong boys' basketball and soccer teams to pass Los Alamitos.


Winter wasn't bitter for Southern Californians, and it wasn't bitter for several Orange County high schools pursuing the all-sports championship, either.

Several schools experienced unseasonably summer-like conditions as their athletic programs warmed up to the possibility of being crowned the best all-around sports champion for the first time in county history.

This spring, The Times will honor county all-sports champions in two divisions: Large school (1,200 or more students) and small school (fewer than 1,200.) Edison currently leads the large-school division and Corona del Mar is the one to catch among the small schools with the spring season left to play.

Edison replaces Los Alamitos, which led the large-school division after the fall season. The Griffins dropped to third while Mater Dei moved into second. Corona del Mar has led the small-school division from the start.

"We knew we would have a pretty good winter," said Bruce Belcher, Edison girls' athletic director. "We were trying to run through the sports and see how well we'd do," in comparison to some of the top-ranked schools. Edison figured Los Alamitos would score high in girls' soccer and boys' basketball, and the Griffins did. But Edison, with key points in boys' soccer and basketball, scored even higher.

In the small-school division, Brea-Olinda takes over the No. 2 position previously held by Corona del Mar's Sea View League rival Newport Harbor, which fell to third. Brea made its move in girls' basketball. The undefeated Ladycats won their fifth State title and added 40 points to move up from fifth place in the overall standings.

In the fall, Corona del Mar led the small-school division as well as the overall standings with 170.3 points to Los Alamitos' 150.7.

But now, large-school leader Edison has the highest total with 237.7. Mater Dei moves from seventh overall to second with 235.7 points. Corona del Mar is third overall at 222.52, but has a comfortable lead over Brea-Olinda (197.1) in the small-school division.

Final standings will be posted and awards distributed to the winners at the end of the school year, when point totals from the fall (six sports, 240 possible points), winter (five sports, 200 points) and spring (10 sports, 400 points) seasons have been tallied.

The rankings are based on a formula that considers overall record (through Southern Section finals or league only, depending on the sport), league finish (points for first, second, third, and at-large playoff berths) and performance in section championship competition.

A school was left with no points for a sport if it went winless, did not compete in that sport, or did not report that team's results. Every effort was made, through correspondence and phone calls with schools and the section office, to obtain a point total for each team at every school. But records were unavailable in some cases.

Here's how Edison reached its county-leading 237.7 points. Point totals are rounded off, allowing for one-tenth of a point discrepancy between the overall total and the sum of each sport's score:

--The Chargers carried over 141.6 points from their fall sports.

--The boys' basketball team finished 20-9 (6.9 points), fourth in the Sunset League (three points) and runner-up in section play (16 points). Total: 25.9.

--Girls' basketball was 17-9 (6.5), third in league (five), but did not make it to the quarterfinals in section play (zero). Total: 11.5.

--Boys' soccer was 19-6-1 (7.5), third in league (five) and lost in the section quarterfinals (eight). Total: 20.5.

--Girls' soccer was 22-5-3 (7.8), second in the league (seven) and lost in the section quarterfinals (eight). Total: 22.8.

--Wrestling was 5-1 (8.3) and second in league (seven). No points in section competition. Total: 15.3.

Mater Dei made its big move with a perfect 40-point performance in boys' basketball, and 34.6 in girls' basketball, 38.7 points in boys' soccer and 29.6 points in girls' soccer. Boys' and girls' basketball and soccer won league titles. The Monarchs had two section champions, one runner-up and one semifinal loser.

The only sport where the Monarchs faltered was wrestling (two points).

"I'm really proud of our coaches," said Gary McKnight, Mater Dei boys' basketball coach and athletic director. "They work awfully hard, and so do the kids. It's a tribute to their work ethic."

McKnight also recognized the work ethic of other campus groups that don't score in the all-sports championship, singling out the Monarchs' spirit squad, which recently won a co-ed national title.

"We felt the success we had in fall would be carried on," he said. "We felt we should be ranked up in the top schools. . . . I just wish we could get our cheerleaders in on this."

Belcher wished Edison's field hockey team could be in on the all-sports trophy chase. Field hockey in the winter, as well as gymnastics in the spring, is excluded from the competition because the section doesn't recognize official section champions in those sports.

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