Loaded. That's the best way to describe the 2013 Laguna Beach High girls' cross-country team.
With every varsity runner returning from last year's varsity team, the Breakers have set their sights on winning another Orange Coast League championship, gaining a berth to the CIF Southern Section Division 4 finals, and to end the season with a trip to the CIF State Championships in November in Fresno.
A year ago, Laguna won the OCL title and reached the CIF Southern Section Division 4 finals at Mt. San Antonio College, where the Breakers placed eighth overall. They were only nine points away from a top-seven finish which would have sent the team to Fresno for the State meet.
They also took first place in their division last September at the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto.
"We really had a great season," said Steve Lalim, who is in his 10th year with the girls' program, six of them as head coach.
Key returning performers from that 2012 unit are seniors Eliza Romero and Monica White, juniors Janie Crawford, Brenna Merchant, Natalie Kimball, Carlee Ressler and Livie Clark, and sophomore Pearl Shoemaker.
Romero, Merchant, Kimball and Ressler were all-league last year. Crawford and Clark finished 1-2 at the Orange Coast League Cluster last year but didn't compete at league finals last October due to illness.
The Breakers began training this summer July 15. Lalim said the team ran 30-40 miles per week consisting of easy runs, long runs, running hills, speed workouts and tempo runs.
"The girls have been doing a lot of quality training," he said.
Lalim says the team goal for 2013 is a simple one.
"The girls work hard," he said. "After not making it to State last season, they are hungry to get back to State and compete at a high level. I think we've got a team who wants to win. We're ready to beat JSerra."
JSerra has won the CIF State Division 4 girls' cross-country title the past three years.
"A phrase we talk about, 'Train hard, win easy. Train easy, lose.' We just need to put our attention on training hard and staying healthy, and we'll do well," Lalim said.
Head Coach: Steve Lalim (sixth year)
Coaching staff: Dana Crawley
2012 season results: Won Orange Coast League title
2012 CIF results: Eight-place at CIF-SS Division 4 finals
Returning runners: Eliza Romero, Sr.; Janie Crawford, Jr.; Carlee Ressler, Jr.; Olivia Clark, Jr.; Natalie Kimball, Jr.; Brenna Merchant, Jr.; Pearl Shoemaker, Monica White, Sr.;
Returning with honors: Eliza Romero (all-league, Sr.); Brenna Merchant (all-league, Jr.); Natalie Kimball (all-league, Jr.); Carlee Ressler (all-league, Jr.).
Newcomers: Solveig Erngren, Jr.; Kirsten Lanseidel, Fr.; Greer Jacobs, Fr.
Team strengths: "Depth. We're deep with quality talent," Lalim said.
The schedule: Like the boys' team, Laguna opens with the Seaside Invitational, go to Hawaii and faces the same schedule. The addition to the girls' schedule is the Palos Verdes Invitational Oct. 5. The Breakers will defend their Orange Coast League title at the league finals meet Oct. 30.
2013 Breakers Schedule
Sept. 6: at Seaside Invitational, TBA
Sept. 21: at Iolani Invitational (Hawaii), TBA
Sept. 25: Orange Coast League Cluster, TBA
Oct. 5: Palos Verdes Invitational, TBA
Oct. 12: at Clovis Invitational, TBA
Oct. 18: at Orange County Championships, TBA
Oct. 25: at Mt. SAC Invitational, TBA
Oct. 30: at Orange Coast League Finals, TBA
Nov. 16: CIF Prelims, TBA
Nov. 23: CIF Finals, TBA
Nov. 30: CIF State Meet, TBA