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By Zach Cavanagh

Boys Cross Country Wins County Championship

Behind a phenomenal pack-run performance, the San Clemente boys cross country team outshined other teams’ individual glory to capture the Orange County Cross County Championships sweepstakes race on Saturday, Oct. 16, at Oak Canyon Park in Silverado.

In the team standings, San Clemente blew away the top competition with four runners in the top 12 and five runners in the top 20. The Tritons took the team standings with 50 points, well ahead of Capistrano Valley at 93 points, Aliso Niguel at 94 points and Dana Hills at 116 points.

Dana Hills’ Jai Dawson took the individual title on the 3-mile course at 15:07, and second-place Capistrano Valley placed its first runner in fourth with a run of 15:18 by Jack Stevens. San Clemente’s lead runner was senior Hayden Beauchemin, who placed seventh at 15:21.

However, San Clemente placed its next three runners well before Capistrano Valley, Aliso Niguel or Dana Hills placed their second runners, and the Tritons’ fifth runner came in before the Cougars’ third runner to establish the wide margin of victory.

Junior Juan Chantaca, sophomore Brett Ephraim and junior Rory Catsimanes finished back-to-back-to-back in 10th, 11th and 12th, respectively, for the huge leap in the team standings. Chantaca ran 15:28, Ephraim ran 15:34, and Catsimanes ran 15:47.

Junior Grant Sestak finished 20th with a time of 16:03 to round out the scoring.

San Clemente next runs at the storied Mt. SAC Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 23, at Mt. San Antonio College. The Tritons then get a week off to prepare for the South Coast League finals on Nov. 4.

Girls Volleyball Wins League, Set for Division 1 Playoffs

The San Clemente girls volleyball team earned a split of the South Coast League championship, the league’s No. 1 seed and the last slot into the elite CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs by virtue of a four-set win over Aliso Niguel last Wednesday, Oct. 13.

In their first matchup, Aliso Niguel won a five-set match on Sept. 28 to gain the inside edge on the league title. However, when the teams met again at San Clemente on Oct. 13, the Tritons took control with a four-set win to claim their share of the league title. San Clemente also earned the No. 1 seed for playoff selection by taking the sets tiebreaker between the two teams, 5-4.

San Clemente then earned the 10th and final spot in the elite Division 1 playoffs. Aliso Niguel also earned its own reward as the No. 1 seed in the Division 2 playoffs.

San Clemente has the tougher road, but the Tritons are open for the challenge. San Clemente opens in the first round at Sierra Canyon on Thursday, Oct. 21. Winner of that match takes on perennial power and No. 2 seed Mater Dei on the road on Wednesday, Oct. 27.

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