Trafeh Ties Mark in Win

From Staff Reports

Upset victories were in abundance during the first three races of the Southern Section cross-country championships at Mt. San Antonio College on Saturday. But Mohamed Trafeh of Duarte brought some order to the proceedings when he romped to his second consecutive title in the Division IV boys' race and tied the course record.

Ventura and freshman Whitney Russell of Newhall Hart began the meet with surprising team and individual victories in the Division I girls' race.

That was followed by upset victories by senior Stephanie Torres of Cypress in the Division II girls' race and by junior Brandon Bethke of Lake Forest El Toro in the Division I boys' event.

But three races later, Trafeh clocked 14 minutes 28 seconds over the 2.91-mile course in use at Mt. SAC since 1999. The time tied the course record set by Ryan Hall of Big Bear in the 2000 Division IV final and cut 10 seconds off Trafeh's previous best at Mt. SAC.

"I thought I had about a 90% chance of breaking the record," said Trafeh, who signed with Arizona earlier in the week. "But it's still a good time, considering the fasting and everything."

Trafeh, a native of Morocco, has refrained from eating food and drinking liquids from sunrise to sunset while celebrating the Muslim holy month of Ramadan that began Oct. 26.

Lindsay Flacks of North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake posted the fastest girls' time of the meet when she won the Division III title in 17:29 on her 17th birthday.

The Chino Don Lugo boys and the Hesperia Sultana girls had the meet's fastest team times while winning Division I and II titles, respectively.

Don Lugo, the No. 13-ranked boys' team in the nation by Harrier magazine, defeated No. 22 Simi Valley Royal, 69-126. Sultana, ranked 23rd nationally, won its second consecutive title with a 49-123 victory over Cypress.

The Ventura girls, ranked 15th nationally, upset No. 9 Murrieta Valley, 93-129, for the Division I title in a race in which all seven of its runners ran bests on the Mt. SAC course. That race also included Russell's stunning upset of defending champion Liza Pasciuto of Murrieta Valley.

Pasciuto, a senior, had an eight-second lead after a 5:21 first mile. But Russell had a five-second lead over Pasciuto when she came through two-miles in 11:44 and a nine-second advantage when she finished in 17:37.

-- John Ortega

Emmaline Hartell and Mehdi Taieb-Brahim of Birmingham were the two best runners and San Pedro again had the two best teams at the City Section finals at Pierce College.

Hartell led the girls' varsity race from start to finish, running the three-mile course in 18:03, 40 seconds faster than her previous best time, which she ran at last week's preliminary meet.

Sisters Megan and Kirsten Adams finished second and third, respectively, to lead San Pedro to its third consecutive team title and fourth in five years.

Taieb-Brahim won the boys' varsity race in 15:24 and was 32 seconds ahead of second-place finisher David Soto of San Pedro. The Patriots' senior won every City race in which he competed this year.

-- Steve Galluzzo

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