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Nordhoff Might Be in a New Frontier


OXNARD — Nordhoff High is still the king of boys' cross-country in the Frontier League, but the Rangers' reign might not last much longer.

That was the feeling one got after watching the first Frontier League meet of the season at College Park on Wednesday.

Nordhoff, nine-time defending league champion, posted its 27th victory in the last 28 league meets, defeating second-place Santa Clara, 32-34.

Malibu was third with 82 points, followed by Calabasas with 87.

"I had a dream last night that it was going to be 30-30 and they would win on the sixth-man [tie-breaker]," Coach Ken Reeves of Nordhoff said. "I knew it was going to be close."

Nordhoff, which won six state titles at either the Division III or IV level during the 1990s, romped to most of its league titles during its streak. But Santa Clara showed Wednesday that a 10th championship won't come easily.

"We kind of look at this [meet] as David and Goliath," Coach Debra Sharp of Santa Clara said. "But we knew it was going to be close."

Nordhoff, with six of the top 10 runners, had a comfortable 32-43 lead over Santa Clara based on its places after the first mile. But things tightened up after that.

Santa Clara, led by seniors Bobby Hull and Michael Reed, , made a concerted move as a team in the next half-mile to tie the score, 33-33, midway through the race.

Hull was first and Reed was second at the point, with the Saints' No. 3-5 runners in ninth, 10th and 11th.

The Saints had five of the top 11 runners when Hull led the field through two miles in 10:22, but junior Mike Owen of Nordhoff had moved into second ahead of Reed to help Nordhoff to a 31-34 advantage.

Reed passed Owen in the final mile to finish four seconds behind Hull's winning 15:35 effort, but Nordhoff had four of the next six finishers after that.

Owen finished third in 15:42, with junior Danny Bolanos fourth in 15:57, senior Jay Leech sixth in 16:09 and senior Nick Pisciotta eighth in 16:14 for the Rangers.

Joel Mellick finished ninth in 16:17 and Gus DeHaro finished 10th in 16:23 for Santa Clara. But when sophomore Das Baker of Nordhoff passed senior Anthony Walker of Santa Clara in the final mile to finish 11th in 16:29, Nordhoff had its narrow victory.

"We were pretty confident we could win," Owen said. "But we also knew it was going to be close."

Some of Santa Clara's runners were visibly upset at finishing second, but Sharp said they knew they ran well.

"They were disappointed," she said. "But they also realize how far they've come [in the last couple of years]."

Reeves was happy with his team's victory, but he doesn't expect things to get any easier in the final two league meets of the season.

"I'd rather finish in first than [second]," he said. "But it's going to be a dog fight each time. . . . It's not over."

Freshman Lindsey Owen, Mike's sister, won the girls' race in 18:24 to lead eight-time defending league champion Nordhoff to a 22-37 victory over second-place Malibu.

Santa Clara was third with 84 points, followed by Calabasas at 90.

It was Owen's third victory of the season without a defeat.

The others came in the Ojai Invitational at Lake Casitas on Sept. 16 and in the Lagoon Invitational at UC Santa Barbara on Saturday.

"I felt bad in the first mile," Owen said. "But the second and third mile felt more comfortable to me. . . . I just felt like I was running a little too fast in the first mile."

Junior Mimi Hodgins of Malibu led Owen by a stride after coming through the mile in 5:50, but Owen had a nine-second advantage at two-miles and a 24-second margin of victory at the finish.

Junior Robin Quinn finished third in 18:49 for Nordhoff with sophomore Kate Krumpschmidt fourth in 19:04, freshman Lauren Lansing sixth in 19:34 and sophomore Aislinn Fletcher eighth in 20:15 for the Rangers.

Kathy Jones paced Santa Clara with a fifth-place time of 19:07.

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