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Mission Viejo Just Holds On


For the second consecutive year, Santa Margarita's hopes of winning a team title at the Orange County Championships came down to the last event.

The Eagles needed to finish among the top three in the 1,600-meter relay to overtake Mission Viejo, or fourth to tie, but Santa Margarita finished fifth, leaving the Eagles two points shy of the Diablos, who won the meet for the sixth time.

Santa Margarita, which defeated Woodbridge by a half point in last year's meet, could have locked up the team title before the relay if sprinter/thrower Brooke Fitzgerald was not disqualified from the morning shotput competition.

Fitzgerald checked in at 9 a.m., but was in the final flight, so she was allowed to leave and hour later to prepare for her 400 relay event, which was supposed to start at 10:45. But a brief malfunction with the electronic timing equipment delayed the relay, and when Fitzgerald returned to the shotput area, she was told she had been scratched because her flight was nearly over.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday April 28, 1998 Orange County Edition Sports Part C Page 8 Sports Desk 1 inches; 27 words Type of Material: Correction
Track--The margin of victory by the Mission Viejo girls' track and field team in the Orange County Championships was incorrectly reported in Sunday's Times. Mission Viejo won by five points.

"Things like that happen at every meet and you can't blame it on that," Fitzgerald said. "We did our best to come back and get every point we could, so we're still walking away with our heads high."

The Eagles made the score closer than expected with key performances from Amanda Shanklin and Meghan Atkinson.

Shanklin won the 300 hurdles (44.39) over Mission Viejo freshman Dana Bethel (44.83), took first in the triple jump (37-1), third in the 100 hurdles (15.58), and fifth in the long jump (17-2).

Atkinson was second in the 400 (58.56), third in the 100 (12.44) and 200 (25.62) and anchored the Eagles' winning 400 relay team (50.07).

After losing to Atkinson in the 100 during a dual meet on Thursday, Meryl Stone of Woodbridge showed she's once again the top sprinter in the county after winning the 100 (12.15) and 200 (25.02).

Ashley Furst of Laguna Hills had an impressive victory in the 400, moving past Atkinson in the stretch and winning in 57.1. Furst also did well in the 800 (2:19.6), finishing second to Brea Olinda's Maika Nelson (2:16.47).

The Diablos picked up valuable points with a one-two finish in the 100 hurdles by Ashley Bethel (14.61) and Dana Bethel (14.67), who also placed second and third in the long jump to Trabuco Hills' Darnesha Griffith (18-2). Sarah Higham also won the pole vault (11-6) for Mission Viejo.

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