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Highlanders Win Title Again

November 22, 2003|Lauren Peterson;John Ortega

For the Granada Hills High girls' tennis team, the proof was in the encore.

Senior Canna Furuta defeated Palisades freshman Olivia Colman, 6-1, 6-3, and the Highlanders won all three doubles matches en route to a 6-1 victory to win their second consecutive City Section championship Friday at the Balboa Sports Complex in Encino.

The second-seeded Highlanders (12-1), who were making their sixth consecutive finals appearance, won their fifth title. Their other championships came in 1982, 1983, 1999 and 2002.

Top-seeded Palisades (14-1) was making its first appearance in a final since 1998 and was bidding for its 18th title overall.

"We were a little bit disappointed that we weren't top-seeded," Furuta said. "We're defending champions, so we felt we should have been, and we proved it."

Ramya Sreepathi and Nancy Ngo also posted singles victories for Granada Hills, and the doubles team of Alex Margolin and Roxanne Plata gave up only four games, as did the team of Emily Yu and Kristine Mayor.

In the City Invitational final, Shea Coleman and Comeo Pettway of Sylmar defeated Nelita Villedon and Anna Nowak to give the No. 6-seeded Spartans (8-6) their first title with a 4-3 victory over top-seeded Westchester (6-7).

Villa Park senior Lindsey Nelson is among the favorites to win the singles championship of the Southern Section girls' tennis individual tournament, which begins today with preliminary rounds at five sites.

Nelson, a four-time Century League champion, was the runner-up the last two seasons. She fell to Tracy Lin of Anaheim Canyon in 2001 and to Elizabeth Exon of Irvine Woodbridge last year, neither of whom is playing this year. Other contenders are Beverly Hills senior Riza Zalameda and Corona del Mar senior Brittany Holland.

The dark horses in the battle for the singles title may belong to Calabasas, which has senior Celia Durkin and sophomore Kristen McVitty.

Lauren Peterson


Nationally-ranked girls' cross-country teams from Murrieta Valley and Hesperia Sultana will try to win their second consecutive division titles today in the Southern Section championships at Mt. San Antonio College.

Murrieta Valley, the No. 9-ranked team in the nation by Harrier magazine, is favored to win its second consecutive Division I title in the meet that begins at 7:45 a.m. The undefeated Nighthawks are led by defending individual champion Liza Pasciuto.

Sultana, ranked 23rd nationally, is expected to romp to its second consecutive Division II championship. The Sultans' team time of 93 minutes 1 second in the section preliminaries on Saturday was more than two minutes faster than any other Division II team.

The Chino Don Lugo boys' team, ranked 13th in the nation, is expected to win its second Division I title in five years. Oak Park is favored to win its fourth consecutive boys' title and its third consecutive girls' championship at the Division IV level.

The top seven teams in each race, except for the Division I boys' race, will advance to the state championships at Woodward Park in Fresno on Nov. 29. In the Division I boys' race, the top six teams will qualify. The top five individuals not on a qualifying team but among the top 20 finishers in each race will also advance to the state meet.

San Pedro will try to sweep the boys' and girls' titles for the second consecutive year when the City Section cross-country championships are held today at Pierce College.

San Pedro had comfortable margins of victory in winning the boys' and girls' titles last year. But the Pirates will be slight underdogs in the meet that starts at 8:30 a.m.

North Hills Monroe is favored to win the boys' title in a race that has four other legitimate title contenders in San Pedro, Los Angeles Garfield, Lake Balboa Birmingham and Los Angeles Belmont. Birmingham and two-time defending champion San Pedro are expected to battle for the girls' title.

The top two teams in each race will advance to the state championships at Woodward Park in Fresno on Nov. 29. So will the top five individuals not on a qualifying team but among the top 12 finishers.

-- John Ortega

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