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Hart Maintains Dominance in Cross-Country

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Hart High boys’ cross-country team remains a dominant force in the Foothill League and the Hart girls are not ready to have their league championship streak snapped at 10 by an up-and-coming Saugus squad.

Those were the overriding themes that emerged Thursday at Griffith Park in the first Foothill League meet of the season.

Hart, led by the 1-2 finish of Jose Erazo and Brett Strahan, won the boys’ meet--which was scored as a series of dual meets--with victories over Canyon (19-38), Burbank (18-41), Saugus (15-45) and Burroughs (15-46).

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Canyon placed second, defeating Burbank (20-38), Saugus (15-41) and Burroughs (15-48).

Jessica De La Cerda placed first to lead the Indian girls to victories over Saugus (22-33), Canyon (22-34), Burbank (15-49) and Burroughs (15-50).

Saugus defeated Canyon, 25-33.

Thursday’s race counts toward 25% of the league title.

Hart, the three-time defending state Division I boys’ champion, was not expected to be as strong as in the previous three years, but the Indians took the first step toward winning their 11th consecutive league title by placing five runners among the first eight finishers.

Strahan, a junior who placed seventh in last year’s state Division I championships, spurted away from the lead pack of Erazo, David Gomez of Burbank and Jon Bischop of Canyon with 400 meters left in the three-mile race before easing up in the last 20 meters to let Erazo streak by for the win.

Erazo was timed in 16 minutes 17.2 seconds, followed by Strahan (16:17.5), Gomez (16:17.9) and Bischop (16:21).

“My goal was to run as easily as possible with the lead pack,” Strahan said. “We wanted to save as much energy as we could for Saturday.”

Hart will attempt to win its third consecutive Division I title in the prestigious Stanford Invitational on Saturday.

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De La Cerda, a senior, cruised to her third victory of the season without a defeat, timing 19:06 over the three-mile course.

Teammate Monica Prelle finished third in 20:01, with Krissy Schranz (20:35), Michelle Cartier (20:39) and Jennifer Sullivan (20:56) placing seventh, eighth and 10th.

“Our third, fourth and fifth runners were the difference for us today,” Hart Coach Larry David said.

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