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Pedersen Shakes Off Jakosky

Cross-country: Royal runner holds on to win Marmonte title in rerun of Ventura County final.


AGOURA — Followers of high school cross-country would be hard-pressed to see a more exciting race than that staged by sophomores Jaclyn Pedersen of Royal and Laura Jakosky of Agoura in the Marmonte League finals at Agoura High on Thursday.

Pedersen and Jakosky finished 1-2 in the Ventura County championships at Lake Casitas in Ojai last Friday and they finished in that order again Thursday. But the distance between them was about a foot and a half, compared to 20 yards last week.

The race overshadowed victories by Thousand Oaks in the girls' and boys' meets.

"You won't see a better race than that," said one spectator after watching Pedersen cross the finish line with a sprinter-like lean and Jakosky sprawl to the track in exhaustion a step or two later.

"You ran an awesome race," girls' Coach Kim Crosse of Royal said later to Jakosky while giving her a high-five. "An awesome race."

Pedersen clocked 18:17 over the three-mile course that started and finished on the Agoura track, and Jakosky finished in 18:18, but the margin was closer to five-tenths of a second.

Pedersen had a 25-yard lead over Jakosky when she reached the track with about 400 yards to race.

Pedersen appeared to have the race well in hand after breaking away from Jakosky and sophomore Kelley Hess of Thousand Oaks with three-quarters of a mile left, but Jakosky refused to concede.

"I felt that if I went all out and gave it everything I had, I might be able to get her," Jakosky said.

Jakosky trimmed Pedersen's lead to 10 yards with 200 yards left and pulled even with 100 to go, but she couldn't get past as Pedersen shifted gears.

"I told myself, 'You've out-kicked her before and you can do it again,' " Pedersen said. "We've been doing more speed work lately and it helped because I was able to really pump my arms and go."

Hess, who upset Pedersen to win the league title last year, finished third in 18:36 to help Thousand Oaks wind up with a total of 23 points and its fifth consecutive league championship.

Royal, with Pedersen winning and freshman Erin Weesner placing fourth in 18:49, finished second with 59 points, followed by dual-meet champion Simi Valley with 62 and Newbury Park with 96.

Senior Amanda Armstrong was Thousand Oaks' No. 2 runner in fifth with a time of 19:04 and senior Melissa McBain finished 10th in 19:35.

Freshman Ashley Patterson placed 13th in 19:57 for the Lancers and freshman Julie Hancock finished 19th in 20:18 for Thousand Oaks, the No. 6-ranked Division I team in the state poll.

Thousand Oaks placed five runners among the top nine finishers in the boys' meet to total 28 points and win its second consecutive title.

Junior Seth Neumuller of Thousand Oaks placed first in 16:03 a week after twisting his left ankle in practice.

Neumuller, runner-up in the league final last year, missed the Ventura County championships because of the injury, but it didn't seem to bother him Thursday.

He trailed senior Brian Duarte of Royal by a second at the mile, but took the lead shortly thereafter and won by 19 seconds.

Senior Kenny Wilkinson of Simi Valley placed second in 16:22 and senior Patrick Dolan of Newbury Park finished third in 16:23.

Senior Dan Barnhart finished fifth in 16:24 for Thousand Oaks, with senior Brian Moncrief sixth in 16:33, junior Ryan Broms seventh in 16:35 and senior Dan Albino ninth in 16:40.

The top three teams in each race qualified for the Southern Section preliminaries at Mt. San Antonio College on Nov. 14.

Individuals not on a qualifying team who finished in the top six also advanced to the section preliminaries.

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