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FALL ATHLETES OF THE YEAR : State Title Tops Fulfilling Season for Shelley Taylor : Cross-country: Senior was Orange County, Southern Section II-AA and State Division II winner, and helped Edison to Division II team championship.

TIMES STAFF WRTER

Shelley Taylor of Edison was the Orange County cross-country champion, the Southern Section II-AA champ and the State Division II winner.

She led Edison to the State team title, which she said she enjoyed most of all. She lost only twice all season--in the Kinney regionals and finals.

Was there anything Taylor would have liked to have accomplished in her senior season that she didn’t?

“No, not really,” said Taylor, The Times’ county girls’ runner of the year. “It went great. I couldn’t have asked for a better season. I’m really happy with it.”

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Nothing topped Edison’s narrow victory over Escondido San Pasqual Nov. 30 at Woodward Park in Fresno. The trip to Fresno was nothing new for Taylor, who had made the trek annually. This season, Taylor had company of her teammates and it made the trip all the sweeter.

The night before the race, they holed up in one hotel room and talked for hours.

The next morning, Taylor went out and crushed the field, covering the rolling 5,000-meter course in 17 minutes 28 seconds, only a second off the meet record.

(In the Division I race later that day, Milena Glusac of Fallbrook ran 17:13 to break Deena Drossin’s meet record of 17:27 set in the 1989 State meet.)

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Taylor’s time--13 seconds faster than her best last season at Woodward Park--couldn’t match Edison’s team victory, however.

“That was the greatest,” Taylor said. “It was so exciting just to have my teammates up there. I’d always gone by myself. But the girls worked really hard this season and it made a big difference.”

Except for a third-place finish at the Kinney Western Regional the following week and a 21st-place finish at the national meet last week, Taylor was unbeaten.

“I’m also really happy about that,” she said.

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Carrie Garritson, a superb sophomore at Sunny Hills, was the only county runner to beat Taylor this season, topping her at San Diego last week. This came only as Taylor was slowed by a cold, and only after Taylor had handily beaten Garritson at the section and State meets.

With her final high school cross-country season now behind her, Taylor will resume light training next week for a race in Hawaii during Christmas vacation. After that, she will start workouts for the upcoming track season.

Last year, she was the national leader in the 1,600 meters for much of the season, then improved her best to 4:52.38.

It wasn’t long after Saturday’s race in San Diego that Taylor began thinking about track.

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“Yep, I always think too much,” she said. “I’m looking forward to it. It’ll be a fun season.”

She’s also been spending time pondering her college choice, which she said has been narrowed to Arkansas, Kansas State, Oregon and “maybe” Providence. Taylor will visit Arkansas, which she said is her No. 1 choice, in late January.

ALL-COUNTY GIRLS’ CROSS-COUNTRY FIRST TEAM

Tanya Brix University Sr. State Division II individual qualifier. Tracy Fatone Los Alamitos Sr. Fifth in Orange County championships. Carrie Garritson Sunny Hills So. State Division II runner-up, sixth in Kinney nationals. Jennifer Gillis Irvine So. Led Irvine to Southern Section I-A title. Kim Nelson Canyon So. Helped Canyon to third in section II-AA. Kelly Roda Irvine Jr. Helped Irvine to fourth in State Division I. Shelley Taylor Edison Sr. Won the State Division II; lost only twice.

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SECOND TEAM

Barbara Boisvert Orange Lutheran Fr. Third in State Division II meet. Mary Crane Newport Harbor Sr. Helped Sailors win State Division III title. Kristina Dahlberg El Modena Jr. Led El Modena to seventh in State Division II. Katy Eklof Costa Mesa Sr. State Division III runner-up. Jeannie Formosa Edison Fr. Top 20 finisher in State Division II meet. Jennifer Formosa Edison Fr. 12th-place finish helped Edison to State title. Donna Mills Newport Harbor Sr. State Division III individual champion.


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