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PHOTO COURTESY OF REGINA GUTCHER
The Woodbridge girls cross country team won its' third straight Pacific Coast League title on Friday.

Woodbridge continues winning ways at Pacific Coast Finals

OCVARSITY.COM

ORANGE- With CIF competitions on the horizon, the Woodbridge girls cross county team seems to be peaking at just the right time.
    
The Warriors placed five scoring runners in the top 10 to win their third straight team title at the Pacific Coast League Finals Friday at Irvine Regional Park.
    
Woodbridge entered the meet on the heels of winning the large schools team title at the Kit Carson Invitational in Escondido and finishing first at the second Pacific Coast League preview meet over the last two weeks.
    
Sophomore Madeline Bradford was the Warriors’ top runner in the meet, placing second in a time of 17:32.
    
Junior Kyle Oefelin (17:54) and senior Alyssa Gutcher (18:00) were fourth and fifth respectively, while seniors Olivia Rodriguez (18:18) and Ana-Paola Laveaga (18:20) were ninth and tenth respectively.
 
The Warriors totaled 30 points in the meet and had the fastest overall team time (90:04).    

“This win is going to give the girls a lot of confidence going in to CIF,” Warriors coach Bryan Pacheco said. “It was good to see the girls go out there beyond where they were comfortable.”
    
Northwood placed five scoring runners in the top 12 to finish second with 39 points. Corona del Mar (94 points) had four scoring runners place in the top 20 was third, grabbing the last automatic qualifying spot for CIF.
    
Timberwolves junior Bethan Knights continued her big breakout distance running season, claiming the individual league title with a dominant effort.

Taking the lead in the first half mile of the race, Knights was able to continually extend the lead and was never threatened. She sprinted hard down the final 100 meters and crossed the finish line with a winning time of 17:00.
    
“I’ve raced these girls before and I knew that I wanted to get control early and run at my pace,” Knights said. “I wanted to push myself to the end because my goal was to break 17 minutes.”
    
Knights now has her sights set on leading the Timberwolves to the state meet in Division 3, while also competing for an individual state title.

“We’re going to continue to set our goals and work hard in practice,” she said. “Individually, I know there is going to be some really good competition to push me. I just want to keep getting better every week and hopefully peak at the state meet.”
    
University sophomore Sarah Stern (17:40) was third and Beckman sophomore Michelle Chuang (18:03) was sixth, qualifying for CIF as individuals.


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