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STATE PREP CROSS-COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS : Seven Orange County Teams Will Make a Run at Titles

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The cross-country season comes to a close Saturday with the State championships at Woodward Park in Fresno. The first race on the 3.1-mile course begins at 9 a.m.

Seven county teams and seven individual runners qualified for the girls’ finals; five teams and three individuals qualified for the boys’ races.

The first of the day’s eight races is the Division II girls’ race, featuring Dana Hills, winner at the Orange County Championships, Santa Margarita and University. The Trojans, led by freshman Allyson Marquand, are making their first appearance in the State finals.

County entrants in the Division III girls’ race are El Modena, the Century League co-champion, and Newport Harbor, which edged Corona del Mar for the Southern Section’s fourth and final qualifying spot. Buena Park sophomore Heather Garritson will defend her State title, while Pacifica’s Stacey Young, the three-time Garden Grove League champion, and Estancia’s Araceli Martinez will compete as individuals.

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The next race features the Division II boys. Orange, the Century League champion, and Katella, the Empire League champion, will represent the county in what is likely to be deepest field of the day. Sacramento Jesuit and Concord De La Salle are the division’s top-ranked teams. Santa Margarita’s Michael Murray, the Southern Section Division II-A champion, will compete as an individual.

El Modena and Corona del Mar will compete in the Division III boys’ race. El Modena is the county’s only school to qualify both boys and girls’ teams to the State championships.

Orange Lutheran, ranked fourth in the state in the Division IV poll, will compete along with Laguna Beach’s Lindsay Buwalda in the Division IV girls’ race.

In the Division I girls’ race, Los Alamitos and Irvine are the county’s only representatives. Irvine is making its sixth consecutive appearance at the meet, while Los Alamitos is making its first. Sunset League champion Angie Winkler of Fountain Valley will compete as an individual.

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Ryan Downey of St. Margaret’s is the lone county runner in the Division IV boys’ race.

Santa Ana and Matt Wickersham of Mater Dei will compete in the Division I boys’ race. Wickersham won the section Division I-A individual title last weekend at Mt. San Antonio College, where the Saints won the Division I-A team title.


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