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Hernandez States His Case, Takes On Best in County : Cross-Country: He tries to become first Camarillo runner to win Ventura title since 1982.


OJAI — Eleazar Hernandez of Camarillo High stamped himself as the premier cross-country runner in the state by winning the team sweepstakes race of the Mt. San Antonio College Invitational on Saturday, yet he has had little time to rest on those laurels.

On Tuesday, Hernandez outran Thousand Oaks' Keith O'Doherty, Jeff Fischer and Kevin Marsden in a Marmonte League meet.

Today he must prove himself again in the Ventura County championships at Lake Casitas.

Hernandez, who finished second to Thousand Oaks senior Brandon Del Campo in last year's meet, is favored to become the first Scorpion since Eric Reynolds in 1982 to win an individual county title.

O'Doherty finished third at Mt. SAC and has been consistent for Thousand Oaks all season. Fischer and Marsden missed the Lancers' first two meets because of injuries, but are close to regaining the form that propelled them to top-five finishes in last year's State Division I championships.

John Greene of Agoura is the defending Southern Section Division II champion, Javier Ramirez of Nordhoff lowered the three-mile course record to 15:08 in last month's Ojai Invitational, and Francisco Sandoval of Channel Islands could also be a factor.

Thousand Oaks, defending State Division I champion and ranked fifth in The Harrier magazine's national poll, is favored to win its third consecutive boys' team title. Camarillo, Agoura and defending State Division III champion Nordhoff should battle for second.

In the girls' race, Amy Skieresz of Agoura is tabbed to win her third consecutive title, but Thousand Oaks is favored to win its first team title since 1986 and snap Agoura's victory string at seven.

Lancer junior Kim Mortensen won the team sweepstakes race at Mt. SAC with a time 32 seconds faster than Skieresz's third-place effort in the individual sweepstakes, but Skieresz defeated Mortensen by 49 seconds in their only head-to-head meeting this season.

The meet will start at 1:30 p.m. with the freshman boys' race. The girls' and boys' varsity events are scheduled for 3 and 3:30.

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