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This Weekend

October 17, 2003

CROSS-COUNTRY

* Orange County Championships

* When: Saturday, 8 a.m.

* Where: Irvine Regional Park.

* Fast facts: Anaheim Esperanza, the No. 3-ranked girls' team in the Southland by The Times, will try to win its third consecutive title against a field that includes No. 7 Cypress, No. 9 Fountain Valley and No. 10 Irvine Woodbridge. Sophomore Crystal Reed of Fountain Valley is the individual favorite in the girls' race with defending champion Michael Haddan of Woodbridge and Brandon Bethke of Lake Forest El Toro expected to battle for the boys' title. The top contenders for the boys' team title are No. 8 Fountain Valley as well as defending champion and No. 9 Dana Point Dana Hills.

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* Santa Clarita Valley Invitational

* When: Saturday, 8:45 a.m.

* Where: Castaic Lake.

* Fast facts: Palmdale Highland, the No. 4-ranked boys' team in the Southland by The Times, is expected to meet defending state Division I champion Los Angeles Loyola in the large-schools race. Mark Matusak of Loyola, third in the state championships last year, is favored to win the boys' individual title. Fellow junior Jose Melena of Antelope Valley is expected to be Matusak's strongest challenger.

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