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Mills, Sanchez Win Cross-Country Titles

November 10, 1996|STEVE KRESAL

Donna Mills of Orange Coast and Adalberto Sanchez won the individual titles at the Orange Empire Conference cross-country championships Saturday at the Newport Beach Back Bay.

Mills also led Orange Coast to the women's title. The Pirates, under first-year Coach John Goldman, finished with 37 points and Rancho Santiago (55) was second. Both teams are in the state meet Nov. 23 at Woodward Park in Fresno.

Rancho Santiago had six men among the top 10 and won its second consecutive men's title. The Dons finished with 30 points and also moved on to the state meet. Saddleback (66) was second and Orange Coast (72) was third.

Mills and Rancho Santiago's Elly Estrada quickly moved to the front and ran together for the first part of the 5,000-meter race. Estrada opened a 10-meter lead at the halfway point coming up a hill. Mills fell back, she said, because she was conserving energy for the finish. But it was energy she didn't need because Estrada dropped out about 600 meters from the finish just as the runners were coming to the paved flat portion of the course. Estrada has been bothered by illness all season.

"I don't know what happened to her," Mills said. "I just passed her. For some reason the end of the race really motivates me. It feels great to win."

Mills won in 19 minutes 29 seconds. Irvine Valley's Lesley Bindloss (20:22) was second and Jennifer Flores (20:30) of Rancho Santiago was third.

In the men's race: Sanchez had been 11th at the conference preview run in mid-September on the same course but cut more than a minute off his previous time and won the four-mile race in 20:59. Ben Mejia of Rancho Santiago was second in 21:04.

Juan Medrano of Rancho Santiago was fourth, and teammate Victor Vigueras was seventh.

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