While a student at Loara High School in Anaheim in the mid-1970s, Ralph Serna was considered one of the country's best prep distance runners, along with Patrick Henry's Thom Hunt and Laguna Beach's Eric Hulst.
However, high hopes and great potential were tempered by injuries. Knee ailments forced Hulst to retire. Hunt, the national high school record holder for the indoor mile, has successfully returned from injuries, which was evident in his second-place finish at the America's Finest City Half Marathon.
And Serna is apparently following the same course as Hunt. The 28-year-old graduate of UC Irvine returned to form Sunday in winning the Coronado 10K run in 30 minutes and 41 seconds.
The Coronado 10K, which benefited the San Diego Chapter of the Leukemia Society, started on the Coronado Bridge, and finished in the Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. The race attracted an estimated 6,000 participants.
Those numbers meant little to Serna, who never saw more than one runner ahead of him after the first mile. Jon Konigh of Irvine finished second in 30:48, Ron Cornell of San Pedro was third (31:06) and Armondo Sigueiros of Irvine was fourth (31:15).
Ngaire Drake of New Zealand was the women's winner in 36:37. Drake was followed by Marilyn Nichols (37:59), Kathleen Kinane (39:34) and Janice Oswald (40:14).
Serna qualified for the 1984 Olympic Trials in the marathon, but was unable to run because of an Achilles tendon injury. He resumed training in May and has raced four weeks in a row.