Southern Section Track Championships : Corona del Mar, Woodbridge Run Away With Girls’ Titles

Times Staff Writer

After staving off each and every challenge of the day, members of the Corona del Mar High School girls’ track-and-field team found that in the final moments of the Southern Section 3-A championships, they could no longer run from what finally overtook them:

Their whirlwind emotions.

After securing the Sea Kings’ 3-A division title with a school-record performance in the 1,600-meter relay, Corona del Mar’s Jill Young, Chickie Moiso, Laurie Sawin and d’Layne Kerr stood together and cried.

Then they laughed and cheered and screamed and skipped--a chorus line--across the field to the scorer’s table where their trophy was waiting.


On this hot afternoon in front of 5,450 at Cerritos College in Norwalk, the Sea Kings won the girls’ 3-A division with 56 points. Pomona was second with 38.

In a no less impressive performance, Woodbridge took the girls’ 2-A title with 49 points, holding off Cajon, which finished second with 40.

“It was a team effort all the way,” Warrior Coach George Varvas said. “But that’s the way championships are won.”

Indeed, Corona del Mar and Woodbridge proved they had great depth and--in the 1,600 relays--great speed, as both set school records.

Woodbridge--with lead-off runner Debbie Horon (58.9), sophomore Michelle Munoz (59.4), Kristen Schertzer (57.0) and sophomore anchor Kaci Keffer (56.0)--sped to victory in 3:51.57--a school record by five seconds.

Corona del Mar bettered that mark, though only by .8 seconds. Young (59.5), Moiso (58.8), Sawin (57.9) and Kerr (55.2) combined for a 3:51.49--a school record by 2.5 seconds.

“I’m so happy, though you’d never know it right now,” Kerr, a senior, said through tears. “I’ve been in our tent crying. I can’t help it.”

Kerr need make no excuses. Her day--highlighted with victories in the 3-A 200 and 400 meters--helped buoy her team above unexpected trouble.

That was the disqualification of Sawin in the 400. A judge ruled that she took four steps outside her lane line. Sawin, who strongly disagreed, had finished fourth.

“After we found out about Laurie, everyone got upset, but we just worked harder,” Moiso said.

Woodbridge didn’t have that kind of boost, but it didn’t matter. Strong individual performances from freshman Amy Robles (second in the 800, fourth in the 1,600), Schertzer (second in the 400, fourth in the 300 hurdles), Keffer (fourth in the 400) and a school-record 49.01 in the 400-meter relay were all the Warriors needed.

Aside from the two team titles, Orange County athletes provided a generous supply of top individual performances.

Aside from Kerr, Allison Franke of Canyon was the only other county athlete to win two events. Franke, a junior, won the 4-A triple jump in a personal best 38-feet 1-inch, holding off second-place Lisa Fager of Mission Viejo, who leaped 38-0.

Franke also defended her 4-A title in the discus, throwing 135-3. Megan Franke, Allison’s sister, placed third in 125-1.

Kaleaph Carter of Edison also defended his 4-A title in the shotput, winning with a throw of 62-0 3/4. Carter, whose best mark this season is 63-2 3/4, is fourth best in the nation. Aaron Gowell of Shelby, Mich., leads with 65-3, a mark he recorded Friday.

Carter also placed third in the discus at 164-2.

In the distance events, Marina’s Shanon Winkelman held off Santa Ana Valley’s Jimmy Rodriguez to win the 4-A 3,200 meters in 9:11.73. Winkelman and Rodriguez led the pack that included Dana Hills’ Javier Barrera and Steve Niednagel through 2,400 meters before Winkelman finally made his move with 500 meters to go.

Rodriguez, a stride back, maintained his position but could not overtake the winner and finished in a personal-best 9:12.43.

Jim Robbins of Corona del Mar and Jim Geerlings of Newport Harbor ran a tough, tactical race in the boys’ 3-A 1,600. Robbins, the county leader this season at 4:11.6, finished a disappointing sixth in last year’s 1,600--a race in which Robbins was favored but Geerlings won.

Saturday, Robbins, Geerlings and Burbank’s Todd Lewis led the pack through the first 800 meters in a relaxed 2:13. At 1,200 meters, Robbins took the lead, but 100 meters later Geerlings moved to first.

Robbins and Geerlings exchanged leads twice before Robbins’s final sprint gave him the edge, and the victory in 4:15.68. Lewis outkicked Geerlings in the final stretch and lunged to catch Robbins but fell for second in 4:15.83. Geerlings was third in 4:17.02.

Mater Dei’s George Lynch took a great start to hold on and win the 3-A 110-meter hurdles in 14.66. Lynch came back less than two hours later to finish second (38.77) in the 300-meter hurdles to Garden Grove’s Anthony Hale, who won in 38.13.

In the 4-A 110 hurdles, Marina’s Marc Kallick (14.54) held off Cerritos’ Darrell Thompson (14.63) for second. Pasadena’s Kevin Dallas won the event in 14.46.

Esperanza’s hurdle pair of Daniele Reaves and Emily Thiebaud finished first (44.42) and fourth (44.74) in the girls’ 3-A 300-meter hurdles.


The top nine athletes in each event, regardless of division, advanced to the Southern Section Masters championships next Friday night at Cerritos College. Other Orange County qualifiers included: Newport Harbor’s R.W. Henson, Edison’s David Noel, Valencia’s Eric Whitcomb and Marina’s Kevin Magula in pole vault; Edison’s Charlie Tyler, Orange Lutheran’s Jason Neben, Los Alamitos’ Jon Cisneros and Brea-Olinda’s Tanesha Maze in long jump; Mission Viejo’s Sheri Bertell (100 and 200 meters); Esperanza’s John Carrow, Los Alamitos’ Dave Sanford and Brea’s Brent Jones (800); Edison’s Kevin Flynn and Westminster’s Mike Engen (shotput); El Dorado’s Lori Svoboda and Western’s Andy Lobpries (high jump); Corona del Mar’s Eddie Lavelle, Dana Hills’ Javier Barrera and Steve Niednagel (3,200); La Habra’s Sita Jones (1,600) and Corona del Mar’s Leslie Cashion (3,200) and Cypress’ Chris Little (boys’ 400).