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Girls cross country preview: O.C. top 10
OCVarsity’s girls cross country season-opening top 10 poll:
O.C. GIRLS TOP 10
1. Dana Hills (49 poll points): The defending South Coast League champions have several pieces to replace, but they can rely on veterans Kathryn Kaloroumakis, Lauren Soto and Alyssa White to steer the ship. Dana Hills is ranked No. 6 in CIF-SS Division 1.
2. Capistrano Valley (38): The county’s No. 1 team at the end of last season took a big loss with the graduation of Ashley Licata (Utah), but All-County junior Haley Herberg is ready to lead. A healthy year from Alyssa Bautista could put the Cougars in league contention again.
3. Mission Viejo (34): As freshmen, the trio of Kelli Hines, Morgan Calcagnie and Emma Hicken lifted the Diablos to the Sea View League title. They are a year older now and hungry after moving to the stacked South Coast League. Hines threw down the nation’s fastest 3-mile time in 16:54 at the Cool Breeze Invite last weekend.
4. Esperanza (32): Shannon Mac Kellar, Sapna Dholakia and Summer Shea keep the top of the Aztecs lineup intact, but injuries on the back end will make it challenging for the defending CIF-SS Division 3 champions to close up their scoring spread.
5. Canyon (27): The Crestview League champions finished ahead of Mission Viejo at the Cool Breeze Invite. Junior Sara Leonard was just three seconds behind Hines.
6. Woodbridge (25): Woodbridge tied Corona del Mar in points at last year’s Pacific Coast League Finals. The Warriors’ core of Elizabeth Dahl, Lora Gonzalez and Meagan Oefelein make their final push in their senior year.
7. Trabuco Hills (21): The Mustangs were the Orange County champions last season, but their tight, pack-style of running faltered in smaller fields, such as league meets. They need an elite runner to emerge to be competitive in the South Coast League.
8. JSerra (14): A young team that might be coming together. The Lions were the top team at last weekend’s Riverside Showcase, sending all five scoring runners through the finish line in the top 11. Lions sophomore Nadia Tabrizi was the runner-up.
9. Laguna Hills (12): It will help the Hawks to have an individual state finalist in McKenna Rinke leading a team that is trying to make its sixth straight CIF-SS Finals. The Hawks think they will be a contender in their first year in the Sea View League.
10. Laguna Beach (6): The Breakers were the Orange Coast League champions by a wide margin last season. They lost a couple of scoring runners, but they retain the league’s individual champion in junior Grace LaMontagne.
Also receiving votes: El Toro (5), Yorba Linda (5), San Clemente (4), Northwood (4), Tesoro (3), Corona del Mar (2), St. Margaret’s (2), San Juan Hills (2), Bolsa Grande (1), Crean Lutheran (1), Beckman (1).