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NOTEBOOK : Strong Rivals Stand in Way of Belmont Cross-Country Title


It was like old times for Belmont High in the City Section cross-country semifinals Wednesday at Pierce College.

Paced by individual winner Manuel Lopez, Belmont High--winner of 10 of the last 12 City titles--placed three runners among the top 11 to win its heat. Monroe and Birmingham were second and third, respectively, followed by South Gate and Westchester.

Lopez, a sophomore, overtook early leader Juan Cortes of Reseda with less than half a mile to go and pulled away for a three-second victory in 15 minutes, 51 seconds over the three-mile course.

Belmont's Jose Garcia finished fourth in 16:07 and Cristobal Martinez was 11th in 16:32. Epigmenio Mateo (16:43) and Luis Bejar (16:46) rounded out Belmont's scoring in 16th and 17th place, respectively.

The Sentinels, however, figure to be strongly challenged in their bid for a third consecutive title by Palisades and Garfield, which finished first and second, respectively, in the other heat.

Peter Gilmore of Palisades turned in the meet's fastest time of 15:13. The Dolphins had four runners in the first five at 16:11 or better. Garfield, led by runner-up Richard Martinez in 15:44, was second, and Bell was third.

The top five teams in each heat, along with individuals among the first 15 who are not on a qualifying team, advance to the City championship meet at Pierce College on Saturday at 10 a.m.

Delfina Martinez of Belmont turned in the second-fastest girls' time, winning her heat in 19:33. Melinda George of Chatsworth and Lizette Zermeno of Wilson were second and third, respectively, in 19:37 and 19:38.

Birmingham edged Bell, 83-85, in the team standings, followed by Huntington Park with 86. Five-time champion Belmont was fourth with 103.

Palisades edged Taft, 41-42, in the other heat. Garfield (93) and Bravo Medical Magnet (125) qualified as the third and fourth teams.


East Los Angeles College won the men's and women's divisions in the Southern California Athletic Conference championships Friday at Griffith Park to qualify for the Saturday's state meet in Fresno.

Monique Mejia (18:43), Lilly Covarruvias (18:45) and Lynnette Alfaro (19:11) of East L.A. swept the first three places in the women's three-mile race as the Huskies beat LACC, 26-34, for the team title.

Ismael Bernal of East L.A. passed LACC's Cesar Vasquez in the final 600 meters to win by five seconds in 20:32 in the men's 3.9-mile race.


The Cal State L.A. women placed three runners among the top four to win the NCAA Division II Western Regional in San Francisco on Nov. 5.

Marisa Avendano won the 5,000-meter race at Golden Gate Park in 17:32, followed by teammates Marisol Cossio and Martha Pinto in 17:41 and 17:52. The Golden Eagles totaled 38 points to advance to Saturday's national championships in Lincoln, Nebraska.

UC Davis was second with 44 points and Humboldt State, buoyed by the eighth-place finish of former Bell Gardens High standout Sara Flores (18:21), was third with 65.


The Roosevelt High girls' volleyball team, seeking their ninth City final berth in 14 years, defeated El Camino Real, 15-17, 12-15, 15-13, 15-11 in the 4-A quarterfinals Wednesday. The Roughriders will play defending City champion Palisades in Tuesday's semifinals in a rematch of last year's 4-A final. Franklin beat Poly, 16-14, 15-13, 16-14 in a 3-A quarterfinal to improve to 14-0. The Panthers face Fairfax in a semifinal Tuesday.

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