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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | SOUTHERN SECTION CROSS-COUNTRY

Championship Overview

November 18, 2000

The Southern Section cross-country championships are today at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, with the first race scheduled to start at 7:45 a.m. The top four teams in each division qualify for the state championships at Woodward Park in Fresno next Saturday, as will the top five individuals among the top 20 finishers not on a qualifying team. Teams that do not finish in the top four can be considered for an at-large berth in the state meet if the cumulative time of their top five runners meets or exceeds a predetermined time over Mt. SAC's 2.95-mile course. The at-large berths from the state's 10 sections will be finalized either tonight or Sunday.

BOYS

Division I

Team favorites: Long Beach Poly, the No. 2-ranked team in the nation by Harrier magazine, is heavily favored to win its fourth title in five years. Rialto and defending champion Don Lugo could offer Poly its toughest challenges.

Individual favorites: Defending champion Ozzie Pina of Long Beach Poly ran 15:03 and Rene Reyes of Millikan ran 15:04 in the section preliminaries last week.

Keep your eyes on: Sophomore Johnny Zendejas of Camarillo, who ran 15:25 in the section preliminaries and has improved greatly in the last month.

Division II

Team favorites: Canyon, the No. 14-ranked team in the nation, was regarded as the class of this division two weeks ago, but the Cowboys might not be at full strength because No. 1 runner Nick Zoetewey was slowed by a cold in the section preliminaries and No. 4 runner Ryan Morgan had the flu this week. St. John Bosco is the most likely winner should Canyon falter.

Individual favorites: Zoetewey and Brian Robles of St. John Bosco have each run 15:13 at Mt. SAC, with Steven Murray of Santa Margarita at 15:17.

Keep your eyes on: Sophomore Phillip Reid of Rio Mesa, who clocked 15:28 to place sixth in the individual sweepstakes race of the Mt. SAC Invitational on Oct. 21.

Division III

Team favorites: Bosco Tech is picked to win its third title in four years with Norwalk, Nordhoff and Newbury Park considered the Tigers' toughest challengers.

Individual favorites: Junior Mark Batres of Bosco Tech ran 15:17 to place sixth in the team sweepstakes race of the Mt. SAC Invitational and senior Puneet Mahan of Norwalk won the Division III sweepstakes in 15:26.

Keep your eyes on: Roberto Contreras of Nordhoff, who will be running his first race of the season after regaining his academic eligibility this week. Contreras placed fifth in the Division IV final last year to help Nordhoff win its third consecutive title.

Division IV

Team favorites: Oak Park is favored to win its first section title, with Estancia its biggest challenger.

Individual favorites: Ryan Hall. Ryan Hall. Ryan Hall. The Big Bear senior ran a scintillating 14:35 in the section preliminaries to scare the course record of 14:32 set by Jeff Nelson of Burbank in 1978.

Keep your eyes on: Senior Mark Nevers of Oak Park, who ran a school record of 15:18 in the preliminaries and hopes to break 15:00 today.

Division V

Team favorites: Santa Clara, top-ranked team in the state, and Flintridge Prep, two-time defending state champion, could wage the tightest team battle of the meet. Two points separated these squads in the Division V sweepstakes race at Mt. SAC.

Individual favorites: Senior Tom Kubler of Viewpoint is the defending state and section champion, but junior Henry Hagenbach of Cate beat him, 15:15-15:21, in the Division V sweepstakes race at Mt. SAC.

Keep your eyes on: Seniors Michael Reed and Bobby Hull of Santa Clara, who would give the Saints a big boost toward their first section title if they finish among the top five or six.

GIRLS

Division I

Team favorites: Peninsula, the No. 20-ranked team in the nation, appears to be the class of the field with Quartz Hill, Dana Hills, Fountain Valley, Esperanza, Ayala and Thousand Oaks involved in a tight battle for the final three qualifying spots.

Individual favorites: Senior Anita Siraki of Hoover, who set a stunning course record of 16:38 in the Mt. SAC Invitational, is heavily favored to win her second consecutive title. Junior Julie Allen of Fountain Valley should finish second.

Keep your eyes on: Senior Jaclyn Pedersen of Royal, who placed fourth in this race as a sophomore but was slowed by injuries last year.

Division II

Team favorites: Canyon is the top-ranked team in the division, but Woodbridge, state Division I champion last year, Sultana and Newport Harbor appear capable of winning.

Individual favorites: Amber Steen of Newport Harbor beat Laura Jakosky of Agoura by less than a second for last year's title.

Keep your eyes on: Junior Jazmin Treadway and sophomore Brenda Stevens of Canyon, who finished 10th and 18th in the Division I final last year and are running better than ever.

Division III

Team favorites: La Canada is favored to win its second title in three years, but it's hard to bet against a Nordhoff team that won the Division III sweepstakes race in the Mt. SAC Invitational.

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