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Fall notes: Ricker guides quick turnaround at Costa Mesa

STAFF REPORT

One of the best storylines of the girls tennis season is taking place at Costa Mesa, as the Mustangs have put together a 5-2 start under their new head coach, Brian Ricker.

Ricker led Corona del Mar’s program from 2004 to January of this year, but he stepped down with intentions of moving to Chicago. In his 11 years at CdM, the Sea Kings girls team won six Pacific Coast League titles and also captured the 2006 CIF Division 1 team title.

The move to the Midwest didn’t pan out for Ricker, and he has made the most of his stay in the county, turning around a program that has recently struggled.

The Mustangs won only three matches in 2014. An 11-7 win over Santiago last week gave Costa Mesa its fifth win.

They begin the Orange Coast League portion of their schedule today against Laguna Beach. The Breakers are ranked No. 3 in CIF-SS Division 2 and have not dropped a league match in over three seasons.

- KENNY CONNOLLY


GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Santa Margarita had a strong showing this past weekend at the Durango Fall Classic in Las Vegas, finishing second. It was the best finish by a county team since 2011, Los Alamitos.

The Eagles lost in the the finals to Assumption of Kentucky.

Meghan McClure, Devon Chang and Jane Horner earned all-tournament honors for the Eagles.

Sunset League rivals Los Alamitos and Edison finished 15 and 19th, respectively.

San Clemente (20th), Villa Park (31st), Beckman (33rd), Newport Harbor (35th), Laguna Beach (42nd) and El Dorado (53rd) also competed in the 64-team tournament. ...

Whittier Christian continued its stellar start with a third-place finish at the Pacific Ridge Tournament in Carlsbad.

Mandie Sides was selected to the all-tournament team and Molly Patapoff earned MVP honors.

The Heralds, who compete in the Olympic League and the CIF-SS Division 2AA playoffs, won the Tustin Tournament earlier this month.

- DAMIAN CALHOUN

CROSS COUNTRY

JSerra senior Andrew Burkhardt defended his title at the Iolani Invitational in Hawaii on Saturday. Burkhardt ran a 15:27 and won by a 14-second margin.

The top-ranked Dana Hills boys also took part in the meet, taking first place behind a balanced running attack. The Dolphins’ scoring quintet of Mason Coppi (15:50), Jack Landgraf (16:13), Jake Ogden (16:21), Brandon Hough (16:23) and Thomas Wilfert (16:27) occupied the third- to seventh-place spots.

Dana Hills defeated JSerra, 25-66, in the boys team battle. Laguna Beach placed fifth with 184 points.

In the girls race, Dana Hills finished second behind Palos Verdes, 24-75, with Camille Perkins (19:45) and Sienna Serrao (19:46) posting top-15 finishes for the Dolphins.

Laguna Beach was fourth with 138 points. ...

Brea Olinda spent the weekend in Oregon for the Seaside Three-Course Challenge, and Wildcats coach Matt Rainwater described it as the most difficult cross country course he has encountered.

“This was by far the most ‘cross-country’ course I have ever run with sand dunes, logs, a mud pit and fresh-cut, single-track trails,” said Rainwater, who took part in a coaches race. “If the course was any more difficult, you would be forced to walk.”

The invitational was divided into three races – easy, medium and difficult. Teams tallied their top two runners in both the easy and medium races and their top three from the difficult race to come up with their final score.

Brea’s boys totaled 65 points for their seven runners and finished first. Gio Orellana won the easy course race after losing his shoe in the mud pit with a mile to go.

Caleb Myers added a second-place finish on the medium course, while Joe Tobin nabbed a critical top-five result in the difficult race.

The Wildcats girls team placed second behind Oregon-state runner-up Mountain View, 119-136. Carly Halm was the leading performer with a victory in the difficult race, while Hannah Batchelor placed 10th on the easy course.

Rainwater called “team-building” the primary focus of the trip, but he added that the team wants to win wherever it goes.

- ANDREW TURNER, Contributing writer

GIRLS GOLF

The No. 3 Corona del Mar girls golf team will be missing one of its stars for a couple of weeks. Alyaa Abdulghnay, No. 8 in the Golfweek Sagarin rankings, has been invited to compete in two prestigious tournaments, beginning with the World Junior Girls Championship this week in Kanata, Ontario, Canada.

Abdulghany was one of three girls chosen by the USGA to represent the United States.

After that tournament ends Friday, she will fly to Bad Saarow, Germany, to tee off in the 19th Faldo Series Grand Final in Berlin. Masters champion Nick Faldo started the series to help young golfers lauch their careers. The tournament is by invitation only and has World Amateur Golf Ranking status.

- DAMIAN DOTTORE


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