Laguna Beach qualifies for state

The Laguna Beach High girls' cross-country team is off Friday to pursue a season-long goal.

The Breakers are headed for Fresno's Woodward Park for the 2011 CIF State Cross-Country Championships. Laguna qualified for the big event by finishing fifth Saturday at the CIF Southern Section Division IV Cross-Country final at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut.

The Breakers turned in a team time of 1 hour, 38 minutes 11 seconds. Top-ranked JSerra (1:33:38) repeated as division champion and the Lions are in Fresno trying to repeat as the division's State champion.

"Qualifying to the state meet was the goal all season long," Laguna girls' Coach Steve Lalim said. "This is what they've worked for all year, and I'm excited that the hard work paid off. The state meet is an amazing experience. I know the girls will make the most of it. I'm so proud of this team."

Senior Natasha Strickland earned a top-10 finish with a time of 18:29, good for seventh in the division. The Breakers had three other runners among the top 50: freshman Janie Crawford (19:23) was 29th, sophomore Eliza Romero (19:43) was 39th and senior Marisa Merchant (20:00) was in 46th place.

The Division IV state competition is Saturday ().

"I expect us to be highly competitive at state," Lalim said. "Our goal is to podium!"

The Laguna Beach boys' team finished in 14th place in the CIF Southern Section Division IV standings Saturday. Jeff White topped the Breakers with a time of 16:15, which gave the senior a 23rd-place finish.

The Breakers compiled a team time of 1:24:54. Salesian won the division title with a team time of 1:20:41.


Girls' Tennis

The Laguna Beach doubles team of Brooke Michaels and Kira Hamilton advanced to the Round of 32 of the CIF Southern Sectional Individual Tennis Championships. The duo will compete Wednesday at Whittier Narrows.

The preliminary rounds of competition were held Friday at both the Tennis Club of Newport Beach and Corona Del Mar High.

Michaels, a sophomore, and Hamilton, a freshman, started the tournament with a 6-1, 6-1 win over the Michelle Tran and Susie Phan, of La Quinta/Westminster. The Orange Coast League champions then followed by pulling out a tough, 7-6, 2-6, 10-7 match from Maddie Gottlieb and Tessa Hurr, a St. Margaret's team that won the Academy League title.

In their third and final match Friday, Michaels and Hamilton scored a default win (11-9) against Kyra Scott and Yuki Asami, the Pacific Coast League doubles champs from University who had to withdraw from the match.

The Laguna doubles team of juniors Chloe Mansour and Katelyn Bo also competed at the sectional tournament. The pair advanced through Friday's morning match but dropped a 6-0, 6-0 decision to University's No. 2 team of Nassim Radmehr and Danielle Pham.

Laguna's top two singles players, seniors Lauren Michaels and Claire Jaeger, competed in sectional singles play and also advanced through the morning matches. Michaels, the league's singles champion, defeated Katie Wee of Cerritos, 6-4, 6-4. Jaeger turned back Cerritos' Taylor Heath by scores of 6-2, 6-4.

In second-round matches, Michaels lost to Capistrano Valley Christian's Chloe Jolliff, 6-2, 5-7, 16-14. Jaeger took on South Coast League champion Sophia Bott of San Clemente and fell 6-0, 6-2.

twitter: @MikeSciacca

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