After being told that they had just lost the Southern Section 4-A title by 2 points Saturday, members of the Dana Hills High School boys’ cross-country team gathered together, commiserated, and set off on a slow and sorry cool-down.
And then . . . the news.
An error had been made in calculating the team scores. A recount was taken and the revised results were in.
Dana Hills, the defending 4-A champion that had dropped from the polls at mid-season with illness and injuries, was declared the winner by a 4-point margin.
“I’ll tell you,” Dana Hills Coach Tim Butler said. “ This is something.”
With the victory, Dana Hills became the first team in 10 years to win back-to-back championships in the boys’ 4-A division. The last team to do so was Palos Verdes, which won in 1977-78.
Led by Mike Tansley (seventh overall in 15 minutes 21 seconds), Dana Hills totaled 86 points for the victory.
Top-ranked Camarillo, which initially had been announced as the winner, was second with 90 points. Second-ranked Corona del Mar was third with 106.
Tansley took the lead from the start of the race, holding it through the first mile. Though he dropped back several places through the second and third miles, the rest of the Dana Hills squad came on strong.
Steve Niednagel was ninth in 15:33, followed by sophomore Daniel Niednagel (12th, 15:48), Andrew Tansley (15th, 15:53) and Jose Pina (53rd, 16:47).
“I just think we were very fortunate to be in this spot today because of all the adversity we had to go through this season,” Butler said. “I have never seen a better group of kids in regards to just going out and getting things done.”
“When they told us we lost, I felt like our whole season had just gone down the drain,” Mike Tansley said. “It was either do or die today, and we did.”
Thousand Oaks’ Mike Williamson (15:02) won the individual 4-A title by outrunning Muir’s Mike Nelson (15:09), Corona del Mar’s Eddie Lavelle (15:11) and Santa Ana Valley’s Jimmy Rodriguez (15:14).
Other Orange County teams placing in the top 10 were Santa Ana (sixth, 140 points), led by senior Roger Nava (sixth overall, 15:20); El Modena (eighth, 193 points); and Fountain Valley (ninth, 212 points).
In the boys’ 2-A division, Laguna Hills’ Tony Gibney (fourth, 15:42) and Steve Frisone (sixth, 15:54) led the Hawks to a fourth-place finish with 146 points behind Arroyo Grande (94), Agoura (114) and Ontario (128).
Tony Bergman of Whittier Christian finished third overall (16:11) in the 1-A division, leading Whittier Christian to sixth place.
The Southern Section final also served as a qualifying meet for the State Cross-Country Championships Nov. 26 at Woodward Park in Fresno. The five teams with the overall fastest combined team times qualified in three divisions: Division I (enrollment 1,600 and more); Division II (700-1,599) and Division III (less than 700). . . . Dana Hills, along with Camarillo, Roland, Canyon Country Canyon and Arroyo Grande qualified in the Division I race. Santa Ana Valley’s Jimmy Rodriguez qualified as an individual as well.