Powerful Yucaipa, which won the girls Division II title last year, moves up to Division I with virtually the same team, including top performer Kimi Welsh.

Other girls to watch in the Southern Section include Allyson Marquand of Irvine University, Laura Fleshman of Canyon Country Canyon, Elaine Canchola of Ojai Nordhoff, Jennifer Barris of Chino Hills Ayala and Danielle Day of Quartz Hill.

The Long Beach Poly boys team returns all seven runners from last year's Division I championship team, including senior Chad Durham.

Mission Viejo's Mark Gleason, Righetti's Ronnie Buchanan and Ojai Nordhoff's Dusty Herman are also contenders for individual titles.

The El Camino Real girls and the Belmont boys are considered favorites to repeat as City Section champions.


Long Beach Wilson beat defending champion Foothill for the Southern Section Division I title last season and is a favorite to win its third title in four years.

Wilson remains the only school from outside Orange County to win a top division title since Downey in 1972.

Placentia El Dorado is considered a contender to defend its Division II title, but will have to get past Los Alamitos, Costa Mesa and Laguna Beach among others.

La Canada, Crescenta Valley, El Segundo and La Serna figure to challenge defending champion Bell Gardens in Division III.

Other teams considered favorites in their divisions include Santa Barbara (Division IV), Mira Loma Jurupa Valley (Division V) and Rowland Heights Rowland.


Laguna Beach is the defending Southern Section I-AA champion and will likely contend to repeat, but Manhattan Beach Mira Costa figures to make its usual strong run as well.

Huntington Beach is the defending Division II state champion and Torrance Bishop Montgomery is the defending state titlist in Division III.

Van Nuys may be the best team in the City Section, but the Wolves are in the second year of a two-year suspension for using an ineligible player in last season's playoffs.

Westchester is regarded as a strong candidate to defend the 4-A title it won last year by defeating Roosevelt.

Sylmar is the defending 3-A champion.


Palos Verdes Peninsula defeated Newport Harbor for last season's Southern Section Division I title and it won't be surprising if there's a rematch for the championship in late November.

Palm Desert (Division II), Irvine Woodbridge (Division III), Fullerton Rosary (Division IV) and Brentwood (Division V) are other defending champions and all are considered contenders to repeat.

Newport Beach Newport Harbor, Dana Point Dana Hills, Newport Beach Corona Del Mar, Irvine University and Mater Dei are other teams to watch.

In the City Section, perennial power Palisades is favored to defend its 4-A championship.

Verdugo Hills is the defending 3-A champion.

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