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CROSS-COUNTRY

A Record-Setting End to Season

November 07, 2000|DAN ARRITT

The regular season has officially ended for cross-country teams across the county, as did some long droughts for several teams.

David Napper won the first individual title for Cypress since William Feliciano in 1984, sweeping the field at the Empire League finals Wednesday at Irvine Regional Park.

Dana Hills senior Devin Segal won the South Coast League title Friday at Laguna Niguel Park in 15 minutes 29 seconds, the first Dolphin to win a league title since Dana Hills' assistant coach, Dan Niednagel, won in 1990.

"I told Dan it was about time we got it back," Segal said.

About 30 minutes earlier, Capistrano Valley sophomore Britney Webster completed an undefeated league season and became the first Cougar to win an individual title since 1981. Webster won in 18:21, which was one of the top five times in the history of the race.

"She has been the highlight of an injury-filled season for us," Capistrano Valley Coach Ken Sayles said. "She has quite a future ahead of her."

Orange freshman Raul Lara won the Century League title Thursday, the first Panther league champion since Nick Russell won in 1996. Lara's victory also helped Orange advance to the Southern Section preliminaries for the first time in four years.

Other teams saw their winning streaks come to an end.

Steve Naughton of Pacific won the Garden Grove League title Friday at Mile Square Park in 15:05, breaking Dave King's 1986 school record by six seconds and helping Pacifica spoil Santiago's bid to win its 10th consecutive league title.

The victory by Dana Hills in the South Coast League also ended a four-year reign by Mission Viejo.

Others kept their streaks intact for another season.

The Katella boys ran their string of Empire League titles to 11, while the Pacifica girls won their eighth consecutive Garden Grove League championship.

Runners who defended their individual titles included Cypress senior Michelle Icban in the Empire League, Fountain Valley junior Julie Allen in the Sunset League, Newport Harbor senior Amber Steen in the Sea View League, Tustin senior Alonso Smith in the Golden West League, and Santa Margarita seniors Lori Mann and Steven Murray in the Serra League.

Foothill junior Laura Strachan was unable to defend her back-to-back Century League titles, but at least it stayed in the family as her sophomore sister, Katie, took first at Yorba Park.

Other underclassmen who won league titles were University sophomore Shey Manafian in the Pacific Coast League, Valencia sophomore Juan Robles in the Orange League and Sunny Hills freshman Claire Kim in the Freeway League.

The biggest surprise came in the Golden West League final 12 days ago, when Saddleback senior Claudia Ochoa set a league record of 18:35 on the three-mile course at Central Park. It was the first time this season that she broke the 19-minute mark.

Ochoa, who missed the first two meets of the season when she was sick and lost five pounds, upset Veronica Pedraza of Santa Ana, who finished second in 18:58.

COMEBACK KID

The Mission Viejo girls' team finished second to Dana Hills in the South Coast League finals, thanks to the determination and quick recovery of senior Sarah Rettmann.

Rettmann, the defending league champion, developed three stress fractures in her leg and knee two weeks into the season and did not run in a single varsity race.

She also did not run for three weeks leading up to the league finals, Mission Viejo Coach Fred Almond said, and decided to enter only two days before.

Rettmann finished 20th overall and fourth on the Mission Viejo team, but her points were enough to help the Diablos qualify for the Southern Section preliminaries Saturday at Mt. San Antonio College.

"It was an unbelievable effort," Almond said.

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If you have an item or idea for the cross-country report, fax it to (714) 966-5663 or e-mail dan.arritt@latimes.com

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

CROSS-COUNTRY TOP 10

Orange County Sportswriters' Poll

BOYS

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Pos. School (League) 1. Dana Hills (South Coast 2. Santa Ana (Golden West) 3. Newport Harbor (Sea View) 4. Edison (Sunset) 5. Mission Viejo (South Coast) 6. Fountain Valley (Sunset) 7. El Toro (South Coast) 8. Tustin (Golden West) 9. Santa Margarita (Serra) 10. Valencia (Orange)

*--*

GIRLS

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1. Corona del Mar (Pacific Coast) 2. Woodbridge (Sea View) 3. Newport Harbor (Sea View) 4. Fountain Valley (Sunset) 5. Esperanza (Sunset) 6. Brea Olinda (Orange) 7. Newport Harbor (Sea View) 8. Mater Dei (Serra) 9. Santa Margarita (Serra) 10. Rosary (Serra)

*--*

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