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By Zach Cavanagh
For the first time in nearly 11 months, San Clemente High School hosted a competitive athletic event, and the Tritons wasted no time getting back to dominant form.
The San Clemente girls cross country team took the first six finishing spots to take down Mission Viejo, 15-46, in a South Coast League dual meet on Saturday, Feb. 6 at San Clemente High.
“It’s nice to be with the team and see other teams and join together in competition when times are really strange,” said Tritons senior Lily O’Rourke, who came in first place on the three-mile on-campus course with a time of 18:35.
O’Rourke got out to the lead early and never looked back, and UC San Diego-bound San Clemente senior Kelsie Yamano followed close behind the whole way through to finish in second at 18:38.
“It feels great to be back here,” Yamano said. “The last time we were able to race was track last year, so it’s really nice to be back on our home course.”
The San Clemente course is normally used for try-outs only with no home cross country meets in a regular season. Now, the course is a major home advantage for the Tritons, with runners taking on a major hill behind Thalassa Stadium twice.
“I feel like I’ve been training on the track a lot recently,” Yamano said, “so the hill was definitely a bit of a wrench in there. It’s nice to see some different courses and try on different terrain.”
San Clemente capitalized on that advantage with senior Cameron Green coming in third (19:41) and sophomores Madison Kerrigan (19:52) and Kennedy Banks (21:22) rounding out the Tritons’ scoring five. Senior Natalie Lord finished in sixth (21:41) and senior Annie Larson finished in 11th (22:10).
The Tritons swept all levels against Mission Viejo on Saturday with freshman, sophomore and junior varsity wins, as well.
San Clemente took the top three spots in the JV race with junior Britta Barnes taking the win (21:34), the top four spots in the sophomore race with Jane Putnam as the winner (20:56) and the top three spots in the freshman race with Lyza Yetter grabbing first place (22:12).
The San Clemente girls team has a bye week next Saturday before taking on the Dolphins at Dana Hills on Feb. 20.
Other South Coast League Scores:
San Clemente 22, Mission Viejo 37
1. Chantaca, SC, 15:20; 2. Beauchemin, SC, 15:21; 4. Horspool, SC, 15:34; 7. Chuck, SC, 16:05; 8. Ritchie, SC, 16:07
(Tritons win at Varsity, Soph., Fresh. levels)
Dana Hills 20, Aliso Niguel 35
1. Dawson, DH, 15:19; 2. Foody, AN, 15:33; 3. Viola, DH, 15:51; 4. Landgraf, DH, 16:17; 5. Pizano, DH, 16:33
(Dolphins win at Varsity, JV, Soph., Fresh. levels)
Trabuco Hills 21, Dana Hills 35
1. Markow, DH, 17:33; 2. Munoz, TH, 18:36; 3. Pinter, TH, 18:40
Other South County Scores:
St. Margaret’s 20, Laguna Beach 35
1. Adelman, StM, 15:36; 2. C. Capelle, StM, 16:00; 3. E. Capelle, StM, 16:16
Laguna Beach 25, St. Margaret’s 30
1. Falkowski, LB, 18:20; 2. Wilson, LB, 18:37; 3. Reed, LB, 18:39; 4. Mullen, StM, 18:40; 5. Collier, StM; 18:42
Zach Cavanagh is the sports editor for Picket Fence Media. Zach is a multiple California Journalism Award winner and has covered sports in Orange County since 2013. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ZachCav and follow our sports coverage on Twitter @SouthOCSports. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.