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Thousand Oaks Boys' Victory Is Easy as 1-2-3 : Cross-country: O'Doherty, Fischer and Marsden lead Lancers to top finish in Southern Section prelims at Mt. SAC.

November 13, 1994|JOHN ORTEGA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

WALNUT — With teammates Keith O'Doherty, Jeff Fischer and Kevin Marsden running three abreast at the head of the pack after the first mile of a Division I-A heat of the Southern Section preliminaries at Mt. San Antonio College on Saturday, it had the look of a staged publicity photo for the Thousand Oaks High boys' cross-country team.

Although O'Doherty eventually broke away from fellow seniors Fischer and Marsden to win with a time of 15 minutes 17 seconds over the three-mile course, that did little to diminish the dominance of Thousand Oaks' victory.

The Lancers, led by the 1-2-3 finish of O'Doherty, Fischer (15:40) and Marsden (15:48), placed five runners among the top seven finishers to total 18 points. Orange, the No. 5-ranked team in the Southern Section Division I poll, was second with 66 points followed by seventh-ranked Corona with 70.

The top three teams in each heat and the first four individuals not on a qualifying team, but among the top eight finishers, advanced to the Southern Section championships to be held Nov. 19 at Mt. SAC.

"I don't really know what to make of the boys' race," Thousand Oaks Coach Jack Farrell said. "We wanted to run well as a group today, but I didn't expect them to run as fast as they did. . . . The boys looked a lot sharper than I expected."

Although O'Doherty & Co. appeared to be saving something for the section finals, the Lancers' time of 78:32 ranks fourth on the all-time Mt. SAC list for Southern Section teams.

Thousand Oaks set the team-time record of 77:56 in winning the Division I title last year and the Lancers appear capable of lowering that mark in the championships.

"As long as we don't come down with any unforeseen injuries or illnesses next week, we should be in good shape for the finals," Farrell said.

Amy Skieresz of Agoura, Elaine Canchola of Nordhoff and the Thousand Oaks girls' team turned in other top performances among local competitors.

Skieresz, the section's two-time defending Division I champion, produced the fastest girls' time of the meet in winning a Division II-AA heat in 17:45.

The Charger senior finished a distant third (18:15) in the individual sweepstakes race of last month's Mt. SAC Invitational, but led Agoura to a second-place finish Saturday.

The Chargers tied Yucaipa for first with 42 points, but the Thunderbirds were awarded the victory on the basis of a better sixth runner.

Canchola, who gained notoriety by finishing third behind Skieresz and Kim Mortensen of Thousand Oaks in the Ventura County championships two weeks ago, topped that performance with a 17:53 clocking to win her Division III heat by nearly a minute.

The time was the second-fastest of the meet and moved her to third on the all-time freshman list at Mt. SAC behind Deena Drossin of Agoura (17:37 in 1987) and Tracey Williams of El Monte Mountain View (17:47 in 1984).

Thousand Oaks, the 14th-ranked team in the nation, won the first Division I-A heat with 37 points.

Mortensen, first in 18:25, and Bridget Roy, third in 18:59, led the Lancers.

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