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Deep Mater Dei group looks to keep top spot
The Mater Dei girls track and field team enters the season optimistic that it can retain its spot as the top team in the county and one of the top teams in CIF-SS Division 2.
"We have a more veteran group this year that knows how to train harder and train smarter," Monarchs coach Rick Martinez said. "The nature of our team is that we understand how important each event is."
The Monarchs won their second consecutive Orange County Championships team title last season and finished two points away from winning their second consecutive CIF-SS title.
They return all members of one of the best 1,600 relay teams in county history – junior Emma Radan, senior Lupe Medina, junior Tara Radan, and junior Ashlyn Rambo. That group produced a season best of 3:49.88 at the CIF-SS Division 3 Finals, which was also the eighth best time in county history.
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"The benefit of having everyone back is that we all know what we're capable of doing and have experience," Medina said. "Right now, we feel that we are better than at this time last season, and we want to go really far."
Rambo is the defending county and Trinity League champion in the 800, advancing all the way to the CIF-SS Masters Meet.
Tara Radan was second in the 200 at the O.C. Championships and won the Trinity League title. She also had the fifth fastest time in the county last season in the 400.
Her twin sister Emma , who placed in the top five at league finals in both the 100 and 200, is adding hurdles to her list of events this season.
"It's a slower process because it's my first time, but I'm hoping to do well and break our school record," Emma Radan said.
Seniors Brittany Hanrahan (hurdles) and Sarah Digiovanni (distances) will also be key members of the team.
The Monarchs have featured the county's top collection of pole vaulters for several seasons and this season figures to be no different. That group is led by senior Julie Johnson, who finished second in league and second at the CIF-SS Division 3 finals.
Johnson credited nationally renowned pole vaulting coach Greg Woepse for her continued transformation into an elite vaulter.
“I can’t be more grateful to have him as a coach,” Johnson said. “I have really high standards for myself this year."
Junior Jenna Frum and senior Grace Boyer also have PR’s of 11-0 or better entering the season.