Cross Country: Breakers grab titles

The Laguna Beach High girls' and boys' cross-country teams went to Irvine Regional Park with the same goal in mind: to run their way to a Orange Coast League championship.

Both teams accomplished that feat.

Laguna ran away with titles in both varsity divisions. In addition, its girls' junior varsity and boys' frosh/soph squads also won division titles.

In the girls' varsity three-mile race, six Breakers finished among the top 10. Winning the event was junior Natalie Kimball in a time of 18 minutes 19.32 seconds. In second place was teammate and junior Brenna Merchant at 18:23.29. Freshman Kirsten Landseidel (18:36.07) and junior Janie Crawford (18:38.57) placed fourth and fifth, respectively. In the No. 9 spot was sophomore Pearl Shoemaker (19:19.24), followed in 10th-place by sophomore Taylor Alvarez (19:22.16).

Laguna won the girls' varsity title with a low score of 21 team points. Godinez (45 points) was second, followed by Costa Mesa (87), Saddleback (108), and Estancia (133).

"We're excited about the league title," Laguna girls' coach Steve Lalim said. "The girls have worked extremely hard and deserve the recognition as league champs. I'm really proud of their performances."

In the boys' varsity race, six Breakers finished in the top 10 and the title was won by senior Veda Rebollar won took first place with a run of 15:18.22. Junior Cameron Zuziak was third (15:27.44) and senior Casiano Koprowski was fourth (15:33.07). Sophomores Drake Butler (16:02.94) and Mason Pitz (16:10.46) took the seventh and eighth spots, and junior Grant Barton (16:23.24) placed ninth.

Laguna's varsity boys won their division title with 23 points. Costa Mesa (62) was second followed by Godinez (72), Saddleback (75), Calvary Chapel (155), and Estancia (171).

"True success is knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming," Laguna boys' coach Scott Wittkop said, quoting late-UCLA men's basketball coach John Wooden. "I think that sums up our day pretty well."

Also taking individual league titles were senior Brielle Budroe who won the girls' JV race in 19:44.99, senior Nathan Sweet who captured the boys' JV run in 16:47.43, and sophomore Carter Fraser who ran a 16:54.06 to win the frosh/soph boys' race.

The Laguna girls' and boys' varsity teams, ranked No. 1 and No. 3, respectively, in CIF Southern Section Division 4, don't compete again until the Nov. 16 Division 4 prelims at the CIF Southern Section Championships at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut.

"As a team, we do not concern ourselves with the rankings, we try to focus on things we can control," Wittkop said. "We will be prepared and ready to go at CIF prelims, finals and [CIF] State."

The CIF Southern Section finals are Nov. 23 at Mt. SAC, and the CIF State Meet is Nov. 30 at Woodward Park in Fresno.

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