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Dana Hills triumphs at South Coast finals

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

ORANGE – Going into the South Coast League Finals, nine of the 10 teams competing, boys and girls sides from five schools, had already qualified for CIF as at-larges via the rankings.

The only group that hadn’t qualified was the Tesoro boys team.

Christian Wehrli checked the box Thursday and made sure the Titans will be represented.

While Jack Landgraf again paced Dana Hills to a title with his first-place finish, Wherli edged his way into second to qualify for CIF as an individual.

“Stoked on that,” Wehrli said. “I’m so happy. Couldn’t be happier. I just can’t believe I got second. Better than what I was expecting, for sure.”

After placing third at the league preview meet, the junior ran the best time of his career at 14:48.7.

“At the bottom of the (last) hill, it really started to hurt there,” Wehrli said. “I was just getting this mental thought that I couldn’t get up that fast enough. But something just turned on in me and I just started moving and broke away from the pack.”

It was Landgraf, though, who showed he’s still the class of the county.

The Dana Hills junior atoned for his subpar league preview performance by posting his career-best time of 14:32.6. Landgraf had a time of 14:53.3 on the same Irvine Regional Park course at the O.C. Championships on Oct. 15.

Thomas Wilfert and Brandon Hough also finished in the top five for the Dolphins. Dana Hills finished just ahead of El Toro, 40-54, for the league title.

While Dana Hills reclaimed the boys title, Capistrano Valley had other plans for the girls title.

Hayley Herberg and Alyssa Bautista finished side-by-side for first and second to help push Capistrano Valley to the team title over Dana Hills, 40-50.

“That’s one of the most rewarding ones I think I’ve had in this run of five years or so,” Capo Valley coach Ken Sayles said. “I told the girls 40 points would win. We got to 40 points without our number three girl.”

The Cougars' Isabella Jin went down early in the race with breathing problems that were perhaps due to the dry and dusty conditions.

“When Izzy dropped out there, I was close to losing my mind,” Sayles said. “But I saw where the others were when they turned the corner after the mile marker. I thought, ‘You know what? We’re not too far out of shape here.' "

Capo Valley and Dana Hills each got three runners in the top 10, but the Cougars' fourth and fifth scoring runners, Alexis Stevens and Jada Kredo, crossed the finish line before the Dolphins' fourth runner to secure the title.

“It’s amazing how much everyone has stepped up from previous races,” Bautista said. “I think it’s giving them a lot of confidence.”

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE

At Mason Park in Irvine, Northwood senior Erika Adler ran a 16:44 to close out the regular season with the league's individual title and she led the Timberwolves to the team title.

Leif Hellgren of Corona del Mar scored an upset win over Woodbridge’s Ryuya Souther for the boys individual title, but Woodbridge held on for the team win.

GOLDEN WEST LEAGUE

Ocean View’s boys team won its first league title in 33 years at the Golden West League Finals at Central Park in Huntington Beach on Wednesday.

Ryan St. Pierre (15:58.49) led the Seahawks in third place as all five of Ocean View’s scorers finished in the top 10.

Santa Ana and Segerstrom rounded out the top three.

Maria Hernandez (19:14.28) paced the girls field and led Santa Ana to a first-place finish. With the regular season dual meets added in, Segerstrom and Santa Ana tied in the standings and were named co-champions.

Sunny Hills ran away with both Freeway League titles, beating out Troy for the girls win, 20-72, and the boys win, 18-47.


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