HIGH SCHOOL CROSS-COUNTRY STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS : Thousand Oaks Continues Hot Run; Irvine Girls Win


The Thousand Oaks High boys continued their record-breaking spree and the Irvine girls pulled off a stunning victory as both schools won Division I titles in Saturday's State cross-country championships at Woodward Park.

Thousand Oaks, led by the 3-4-5 finish of Jeff Fischer, Brandon Del Campo and Kevin Marsden, totaled 23 points.

Santa Ana finished second with 88 points, followed by Madera (96), San Jose Bellarmine (99) and Palos Verdes Peninsula (166).

Thousand Oaks' point total is the lowest since the State meet began in 1987, and the Lancers' team time--the cumulative time of their top five runners--of 77 minutes 59 seconds over the 5,000-meter course smashed the previous best of 78:23 established by El Monte Arroyo in 1987.

Thousand Oaks had set a team time record of 77:56 over Mt. San Antonio College's three-mile course last week in winning its second consecutive Division I title in the Southern Section championships.

"We wanted to set the team time record," Fischer said. "That was our goal."

Fischer, a junior, achieved his personal goal by going out conservatively--he was no better than 20th at the one-mile mark--moving into second at the two-mile mark (9:52), and then hanging on the last mile to finish third in 15:26.

Favored Mebrahtom Keflezighi of San Diego won the race in 15:02, followed by Jaime Martinez (15:18) of Orange. Then came the green, black and white wave of Fischer, senior Del Campo (15:30) and junior Marsden (15:30).

Irvine, led by the third-place finish of sophomore Jessica Corbin, edged Peninsula, 85-87, for the girls' Division I title.

Madera finished third with 107 points, followed by San Diego Mt. Carmel (142) and three-time defending champion Agoura (160).

Junior Amy Skieresz (17:49) and senior Kay Nekota (18:12) finished first and second for Agoura, but Irvine's depth proved decisive as the Vaqueros placed five runners among the top 42 finishers.

Peninsula, second to Agoura in the Southern Section finals, placed four runners ahead of Irvine's fourth scorer, but the Panthers' fifth runner was 70th.

"Even though we only finished fourth (in the Southern Section championships), I honestly thought we had a chance at winning today," Irvine Coach Randy Rossi said.

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