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Girls cross country 2012 season preview
A look at the upcoming season, including runners to watch and key dates.
After years of climbing the county and state ranks, the San Clemente girls cross country team finally reached the pinnacle of team success last fall.
Executing a disciplined pack running style to perfection, the Tritons made history, winning both the CIF-SS Division 1 and CIF Division 1 state team titles for the first time in the program’s history.
Opening a season in the role of defending champion is a new challenge for the Tritons, but Coach Dave Proodian is confident his team is ready to take it head on.
“The girls have been training well throughout the summer,” said Proodian. “They (the girls) are treating the season much like they have in the past. We start the season relaxed with intentions of surging towards mid-October and into the CIF races.”
His confidence appears to be well-founded. The Tritons enter the season returning five of the seven girls that competed in last year’s state championship, including four of the top five that helped San Clemente bring home the title with a 42-second scoring gap.
Leading the Tritons is junior Melissa Eisele, a two-time first-team All-County selection who has won back-to-back South Coast League titles. She anticipates once again employing the pack-running style that proved to be so successful in 2011.
“My team consists of the atmosphere that if we’re going to win, it will be together,” Eisele said. “We all have a strong bond, and that continues to translate itself into pack running during races.”
Proodian echoed a similar sentiment.
“The plan is always to try and stay together, and this year, we plan on running the pack faster than before,” Proodian said. “Our win last year showed the girls that pack running works.”
He also identified the continued development of talented sophomores Kelsey Carroll and Grace Georgi as a big source of optimism heading into the season.
“They (Carroll and Georgi) have begun to take on more ‘seasoned’ roles as varsity returners from a CIF and state championship team and will strengthen our lead group,” Proodian said.
Seniors Madison Huffman, Sara Kebede and Elizabeth Hays will also be counted on to produce quality results for San Clemente, which is still missing an important accomplishment on the program’s resume.
“We are the defending CIF and state champs, have been to CIF seven years in a row, and to the state meet four out of the last five years, yet we still don’t even have a league championship banner to hang in our gym,” Proodian said. “Our league is so tough and we will see great competition all throughout September and October.”
Eisele says her teammates won’t be bothered by the pressure to match last season’s success.
“I feel that there is pressure, but it’s the kind that will push us to run faster and strong than last year,” Eisele said. “Our goal is to not only win the Division 1 state championship, but to be the fastest team out of all divisions.”
TOP 5 GIRLS TO WATCH
1. Paige Tennison (Newport Harbor, Sr.)
2. Melissa Eisele (San Clemente, Jr.)
3. Emily Scharmann (Tesoro, Sr.)
4. Kylie Nishisaka (Marina, Sr.)
5. Haley Seward (Edison, Sr.)
OTHERS TO WATCH
(In alphabetical order)
Jacquie Adams (Foothill, Sr.); Kathryn Bishop (Trabuco Hills, Jr.); Madeline Bradford (Woodbridge, Jr.); Paige Canterbury (Dana Hills, Sr.); Aubrey Carr (Dana Hills, Sr.); Kelsey Carroll (San Clemente, So.); Giovanna Caruso (Marina, Sr.); Alyssa Cerminara-Gutcher (Woodbridge, Sr.); Olivia Chaplinski (Canyon, Jr.); Caylie Connelly (Santa Margarita, Sr.); Janie Crawford (Laguna Beach, So.); Jessica Cushing-Murray (Foothill, Jr.); Maya Desai (University, Sr.); Sarah Digiovanni (Mater Dei, Sr.); Ashley Elliott (Tesoro, Sr.); Stephanie Fedele (Fountain Valley, Sr.); Zara Flores (Dana Hills, Sr.); Ashley Geisler (JSerra, So.); Grace Georgi (San Clemente, So.); Olivia Goins (Canyon, Sr.); Rianna Goins (Canyon, Sr.); Maggie Goodson (Newport Harbor, Sr.); Amanda Honn (Huntington Beach, Jr.); Sara Kebede (San Clemente, Sr.); Elizabeth Hays (San Clemente, Sr.); Hannah Hunsaker (JSerra, Jr.); Alana Jones (Laguna Hills, Sr.); Bethan Knights (Northwood, Jr.); Brooke Kunzelman (JSerra, So.); Stephanie Lapidus (Tesoro, Sr.); Colby Lindholm (JSerra, Sr.); Alison Mattias (Foothill, Jr.); Lauren Maurer (Crean Lutheran, So.); Jessica McIntyre (Los Alamitos, Sr.); Erica Munson (Santa Margarita, So.); Ellen Naruse (Corona del Mar, Jr.); Sarah Parsons (Tesoro, Sr.); Mackenzie Queenenville (Edison, So.); Ashlyn Rambo (Mater Dei, Jr.); Dominique Regalado (Trabuco Hills, Jr.); Molly Rinefort (Dana Hills, So.); Grace Schafer (Capistrano Valley, So.); Samantha Serna (Yorba Linda, So.); Brianna Shoffner (Marina, Jr.); Eileen Stressling (Marina, Jr.); Leah Van Dyke (Newport Harbor, Jr.); Julia Van Marter (Canyon, So.); Audrey Wilcox (Foothill, Sr.); Gabrielle Yatauro (Edison, Jr.); Jeanette Zambrano (Bolsa Grande, So.)
Sept. 8, Laguna Hills Invitational (at Laguna Hills High); Sept. 14-15, Woodbridge Cross Country Classic (at Estancia High); Sept. 22, Dana Hills Invitational (at Dana Hills High); Sunny Hills/Wayne Walker Invitational (at Craig Regional Park, Fullerton); Sept. 29, Brea Invitational (at Carbon Canyon Regional Park, Brea); Nike Pre-Nationals (at Portland Meadows, Portland, Ore.); Stanford Invitational (at Stanford Golf Course, Palo Alto); Oct. 6, Central Park Invitational (at Central Park, Huntington Beach); Clovis Invitational (at Woodward Park, Fresno); Oct. 13, Orange County Championships (at Irvine Regional Park, Orange); Oct. 19-20, Mt. Sac Invitational (at Mt. SAC); Oct. 26-Nov. 3, CIF-SS League Finals; Nov. 10, CIF-SS Divisional Preliminaries (at Mt. SAC); Nov. 17, CIF-SS Divisional Finals (at Mt. SAC); Nov. 24, CIF State Cross Country Championships (at Woodward Park, Fresno); Dec. 1, Nike Cross Nationals Championships (at Portland Meadows, Portland, Ore.); Footlocker West Regional (at Mt. SAC); Dec. 8, Footlocker Cross Country National Championships (Morley Field at Balboa Park, San Diego); USTAF National Junior Olympic Championships (at Albuquerque, New Mexico)