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Girls’ Player of the Week : Cashion Establishes Herself as Triple Threat

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Times Staff Writer

Leslie Cashion was an 11-year-old girl in pink deck shoes when she found her niche in track and field.

“I ran my first two-mile in fifth grade,” said Cashion, a senior at Corona del Mar High School. “And I beat all the boys.”

Cashion, The Times’ player of the week, hasn’t raced many boys lately, but her performance at the Sea View League track and field championships last Friday night reaffirmed her as an area distance star.

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Cashion recorded triple victories in the distance events to help the Corona del Mar girls’ team to the league championship.

Cashion won the 800 meters in 2 minutes 19.2 seconds, a career best by five seconds. She also defended her league title in both the 3,200 meters (11:32.9) and the 1,600 meters (5:16.2).

Only three other girls in Orange County--Sita Jones of La Habra, Lynne Hagan of Mater Dei and Kathy Cannon of La Quinta--managed to win the same three events at their league meets. Cashion’s times, though, were better overall.

This season, Cashion, who is undefeated in Sea View League meets, has bests of 2:19.2 in the 800; 5:10.6 in the 1,600, and 11:26 in the 3,200. She placed third in the 3,000 at the Orange County Girls’ Championships April 30 in 10:24.8.

For the past two years, Cashion finished fifth in the 3,200 at the Southern Section 3-A championship meet. Friday night at Arcadia, she will attempt to double in the Southern Section preliminaries, running the 1,600 and the 3,200.

“My goal is to make it to CIF (Southern Section) finals in both races, and break the school record in the two-mile (11:05 set in 1980),” said Cashion, whose two-mile best is 11:10.

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As a fifth-grader at Harbor Day School in Newport Beach, Cashion signed up to compete in the discus, triple jump, sprint relays and two-mile run during the school’s annual track and field meet.

“I was kind of a sprinter, jumper, field event and distance type all in one,” said Cashion, who still holds Harbor Day’s girls’ two-mile record of 13:24.

“Running two miles didn’t sound like it would be that hard to me,” Cashion said. “But I wanted to test myself first to make sure.”

Before running in the school meet, Cashion set out to conquer a two-mile course, from her parents’ home to the tract’s community guard gate and back.

She completed the course with ease. Her father, who sometimes accompanied her, did not.

“Leslie had great endurance from the start,” her mother, Marcia, said. “After two miles, she was fine. It was her father that was dying.”

Said Cashion’s father, John: “I had no idea she had any talent for distance running. I was shocked. I figured I’d run right on her tail then kick her down at the end, but instead, she blew me away. . . . I wouldn’t try it anymore.”

TOP PERFORMERS

Sheri Bertell of Mission Viejo won the 100 meters (12.56), the 200 (25.58) and anchored the winning 400-meter relay team at the South Coast League track and field championships Friday.

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Marta Bickert, a freshman from Trabuco Hills, threw a perfect game and struck out 10 in an 11-0 victory over Costa Mesa Friday.

Jenny Enstrom of Liberty Christian went 5 for 5 with 5 RBIs in a 17-7 victory over Newport Christian Friday.

Lynne Hagan of Mater Dei won the 800 meters (2:26.3), 1,600 (5:31.5) and 3,200 (11:46.6) at the Angelus League track and field championships Thursday.

Sita Jones of La Habra won the 880-yard run (2:23.7), the one-mile (5:25.7) and the two-mile (11:21) at the Freeway League track and field championships Friday.

d’Layne Kerr of Corona del Mar won the 100-meters (12.5), the 200 meters (25.2) anchored the 1,600 relay and set a league record in the 400 (57.0) at the Sea View League track and field championships.

Ann Kissinger of Marina won the 100 meters (12.5), 100 hurdles (15.2) and the 300 hurdles (46.6) to lead the Vikings to the girls’ team title at the Sunset League track and field championships Friday.

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Joyce Lightfoot of Sunny Hills set a Freeway League record in the 500-yard freestyle (5:00.82) and won the 200 free (1:56.36) Friday at the Freeway League swimming championships.

Sara Roberts, a freshman from Canyon, threw a perfect game in a 3-0 victory over Thousand Oaks Saturday in the consolation semifinals of the Thousand Oaks softball tournament.

Leslie Cashion

Corona del Mar High

Position: Distance runner.

Height, Class: 5-4 1/2, Sr.

Last Week: Cashion won three events at the Sea View League track and field championships last Friday, helping the Corona del Mar girls’ team to the league title. Cashion won the 800 meters in 2:19.2, a personal best by five seconds. She also defended her league titles in the 1,600 (5:16.2) and the 3,200 (11:32.9).

Season: Cashion, undefeated in Sea View League meets, has seasonal bests of 2:19.2 in the 800, 5:10.6 in the 1,600 and 11:26 in the 3,200.

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