Terri Smythers has done it again.
The San Clemente High School junior took the South Coast League's cross-country individual title for the second consecutive season by winning Friday at Irvine Park in Orange.
The latest victory for Smythers, The Times' Athlete of the Week, is not all that surprising considering she was undefeated in league meets for the second consecutive year.
"The best thing I can say about her is that I never have to worry about her," said Brian Scherbart, San Clemente girls' cross-country coach. "She is a coach's dream. Week in and week out, she runs well.
"She does all the right things to be a winner: She practices very hard, she eats well, sleeps well. . . . She's a very good role model to be the best."
Despite her success, Smythers was disappointed when San Clemente did not win the meet.
"I'd rather have the team win," she said. "I don't care how I place if the team wins and I improve my time."
Being a role model was never a part of Smythers' plan. Heck, she didn't even have a plan.
"I joined cross-country as a freshman," Smythers said. "I didn't really know about it. I joined with my friend because our PE teacher said we should go out (for cross-country). My PE teacher said it would only be two miles.
"It turned out to be three miles, which was longer than I counted on. Then, just to hear that we were going to do a mile warm-up . . . a mile was my workout ."
Judging by the results, the workouts worked out OK.
And, not surprisingly, the workouts have a lot to do with her success.
"She's fast, but she's the type who has to grind the other runner down--she's not going to outkick someone at the end," Scherbart said. "She has tremendous endurance. She listens well and understands what to do to win the race."
Scherbart attributes Smythers' success to the fact that she doesn't pay too much attention to other runners.
"She can't be influenced by what others in the race are doing," he said. "She holds a fast pace for three miles and that usually is enough to wear the other runner down."
Theresa Beltran of Santa Ana Valley was first on the three-mile course at Centennial Park with a time of 17 minutes 51 seconds, but Foothill defeated Santa Ana Valley, 24-36, in a Century League cross-country meet Wednesday.
Christie McClintock, the No. 2 girls' singles player at Corona del Mar, swept her sets, 6-0, 6-0, 6-0, to lead the tennis team to a 17-1 Sea View League victory over Newport Harbor Tuesday.
Megan McDonald had 13 kills and six blocks to lead the Laguna Hills volleyball team to a 15-10, 8-15, 15-8, 15-8 Pacific Coast League victory over Costa Mesa Friday.
Misty Pinkerton swept her sets, 6-0, 6-0, 6-0, to lead host Western to an 18-0 victory over Anaheim in an Orange League tennis match Wednesday.
Shelley Taylor was first with a time of 18 minutes 24 seconds on the three-mile course to lead Edison over Marina, 20-50, in a Sunset League cross-country meet Wednesday.
San Clemente High School * Postion: Cross-country runner * Height, Weight, Class: 5-4, 110, Junior. * Last Week: Smythers won her second consecutive South Coast League individual title, Friday at Irvine Park. * Season: Smythers was undefeated on South Coast League meets.