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San Clemente wins first ever league title
ORANGE- Even during their run to the program’s first ever CIF-SS Division 1 title and Division 1 state title last season, the San Clemente girls cross country team was not able to lay claim to being South Coast League champions.
As they begin the quest to defend both titles this season, the Tritons will do so as league champions for the first time in school history.
San Clemente edged Dana Hills by one point to win the team title at the South Coast League Finals Thursday at Irvine Regional Park.
“It’s a great motivator for the girls as they move onto CIF,” Tritons coach Dave Proodian said. “We have a steady all-around team and we will try to do what worked last year, which is to run as a pack as best we can.”
The Tritons were led by junior Melissa Eisele (17:03) who held the lead for the majority of the race and before finishing second.
Despite her streak of two straight individual league titles coming to an end, Eisele was proud to be a big part of the effort that brought her team a historic first.
“We had never won a league title and this was a big deal that we finally were able to win it,” Eisele said. “We’ve been going through a bit of a transition with new training and this will help boost our confidence.”
The Tritons (48 points) had four runners finish in the top 15 to beat second place Dana Hills (49), who also had four runners finish in the top 15.
Capistrano Valley (52) was third in the competition, as they had five runners score in the top 20.
The individual league title was won by Tesoro senior Emily Scharmann. Scharmann was a few strides behind Eisele throughout most of the race, but as the runners began to make their way up the final hill in the second mile, she found a burst and took the lead. She accelerated well during the final descent and sprinted to the finish line in a time of 16:57, the only runner in the race to finish in under 17 minutes.
“When we turned the corner to come up the hill, I felt the pace slowing down and I picked it up and felt strong on the hill,” Scharmann said. “I had no idea how far ahead of the other runners I was and just kept running.”
Capistrano Valley freshman Maily Wong was third in a time of 17:14. Dana Hills senior Paige Canterbury (17:17) and Cougars sophomore Rebecca Deitch (17:23) rounded out the top five.