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Hearst Is on Beam for Royal

November 03, 2000|JOHN ORTEGA

Smiles were in abundance for supporters of the Royal High cross-country program at the conclusion of the Marmonte League finals at Agoura High on Thursday.

But no one was beaming more than Ernie Schultz, the school's first cross-country coach.

Schultz, who coached at Royal from 1968-74, guided the Highlander boys' team to six consecutive league titles from 1969-74, but they hadn't won one since.

Until Thursday, when sophomore Tim Hearst and juniors Charlie Serrano and Travis Patterson placed 1-2-3 to power the Highlanders to a 31-41 victory over second-place Newbury Park.

Thousand Oaks, three-time defending league champion, was third with 69 points.

Royal, Newbury Park and Thousand Oaks each had 5-1 records in league meets during the regular season, but Hearst and Co. took control in the second mile of the three-mile race.

Hearst, who missed Royal's previous three races because of a back injury, and Patterson led the field through the first mile before Hearst surged into the lead.

"I didn't know if I was totally in shape," Hearst said after missing two weeks of training because of the injury. "So I was coming [into this race] blind."

Hearst, who had a 10-second lead over Serrano and Patterson after two miles, lost some of that advantage in the final mile, but finished in 16:08.

Serrano was second in 16:12, followed by Patterson in 16:16.

Newbury Park, led by fourth-place Brandon Nakagawa, had four of the next five finishers. But when junior Levi Merrill placed 12th in 16:47 and senior Tim Ramirez finished 13th in 16:49 for Royal, the Highlanders' championship drought was over.

"I knew we'd be 1-2-3," assistant Ryan Luce of Royal said. "And then Newbury Park would have a bunch of guys. . . . Our fourth and fifth runners really came through for us."

In the girls' race, senior Laura Jakosky of Agoura set a course record of 17:51 to win her second consecutive title and Thousand Oaks defeated runner-up Royal, 43-65, to tie the Highlanders for the league title.

Jakosky, runner-up in the Southern Section Division II final last year, took the lead after the first 100 yards of the race and was never seriously challenged.

She had a 10-second lead on senior Jaclyn Pedersen of Royal after the first mile and her advantage was 39 seconds when she came through the two-mile mark in 11:55.

It was a race against the clock after that as Jakosky cut six seconds off the course record set by Amy Skieresz of Agoura in 1994.

"It feels great," Jakosky said. "Amy Skieresz is someone I've really idolized for so long."

Senior Kelley Hess of Thousand Oaks passed Pedersen in the last mile to finish second in 18:53 and help the Lancers win a share of their sixth title in the last seven years.

Pedersen was third in 18:59 for Royal, which won a share of its first league title.

The top three teams in each race and the top three individuals among the top six finishers not on a qualifying team advanced to the Southern Section preliminaries at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut on Nov. 11.

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