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(From L to R) Katie Carroll, Amber Eisele, Gracie Georgi, Melissa Eisele and Kelsey Carroll led the San Clemente girls cross country team to a first-place finish at the Woodbridge-Estancia rated meet race on September 21. Courtesy photo
(From L to R) Katie Carroll, Amber Eisele, Gracie Georgi, Melissa Eisele and Kelsey Carroll led the San Clemente girls cross country team to a first-place finish at the Woodbridge-Estancia rated meet race on September 21. Courtesy photo

By Steve Breazeale

Follow us on Twitter @SouthOCsports for updates on all the San Clemente fall sports teams.

Girls Cross Country Takes Home Woodbridge Hardware
The San Clemente girls cross country team is off to a perfect start in 2013. The group of veteran runners, who have yet to finish anywhere except at the top of the winner’s podium in their first two races, put together a combined winning score of 106 at the Cross Country Classic Woodbridge-Estancia rated race on September 21. The Tritons cleared their next closest competitor by 58 points.

The team was led by senior Melissa Eisele, who finished in second place with a time of 17:02. Junior Kelsey Carroll’s time of 17:20 earned her a sixth-place finish. Katie Carroll finished 18th (17:52) while junior Gracie Georgi (18:07) finished 29th.
As of September 23, San Clemente was ranked No. 4 in the CIF-SS Division 1 polls, which is compiled by

The Tritons will compete in the Dana Hills Invitational on September 28.

Parker Finishes Eighth for Tritons Boys Cross Country
Matt Parker was the top finisher for the San Clemente boys cross country team at the Cross Country Classic Woodbridge-Estancia meet on September 21. Parker, who was racing in the 3-mile Senior Division 1 Blue race, finished seventh overall after posting a time of 16:10.

Junior Matt Shelton also had a top-10 finish, as his time of 16:16 in the 3-mile Junior Division 1 Blue race earned him an eighth-place finish.

The Tritons will compete in the Dana Hills Invitational on September 28.

Special Teams, Defense Make Impact but Tritons Football Falls to Mavericks
It was apparent last Monday that San Clemente starting quarterback Sam Darnold would likely be out for the season, which meant Friday’s game against visiting La Costa Canyon would be the team’s first complete game without their standout offensive weapon.

Behind the leg of kicker Blake Gonzalez and several key defensive plays, the Tritons kept it close against the Mavericks on September 20, but ultimately fell, 16-13, in the nonleague contest. It was the Tritons’ second loss in a row.

After surrendering 13 first-quarter points to La Costa Canyon (2-1), the Tritons defense tightened up and limited them to just three points the rest of the way. The Tritons (2-2) scored their only touchdown in the first quarter, when sophomore defensive back Tanner Wright scooped up a fumble and returned it 25 yards for the score.

The Tritons would inch closer in the second quarter following the first of Gonzalez’s two field goals on the night, cutting the lead to 16-10.

With the game on the line in the fourth quarter and the ball at the Mavericks two-yard line, on fourth and goal, senior quarterback Loren Applegate tried to run the ball in the end zone but was stopped one yard short.

San Clemente will now host Newport Harbor (1-2), a perennial playoff contender out of the Sunset League, on Friday.

The Sailors are led by the pass-catch duo of quarterback Cole Norris and receiver Quest Truxton. Newport Harbor is coming off a 34-14 loss to rival Corona del Mar.

Girls Golf Narrowly Edges Tesoro, Hosts Lady Triton Invitational
The San Clemente girls golf team hosted the Rainbow Sandals Lady Tritons Invitational on September 20 and came away with a 12th-place finish. Alex Cooper shot a team-low 78 (+5) to lead the scoring.

Top teams from around the area came to the San Clemente Municipal Golf Course to compete, and at the end of 18 holes, Torrey Pines was the winner after shooting a cumulative 375.

On September 24, the Tritons traveled to league opponent Tesoro’s home course at Tijeras Creek, where San Clemente pulled off a 211-212 victory. Cooper was the medalist in the match after carding a 36 (E) on the front nine.

Tritons Girls Volleyball Wins Back and Forth Battle with Cougars
In a seesaw nonleague match against visiting Capistrano Valley on September 19, the San Clemente girls volleyball team pulled off an upset win and defeated the Cougars in five sets.

Capistrano Valley is currently ranked No. 4 in the CIF-SS Division 1A coaches’ poll while the Tritons are unranked.

Both teams traded off set wins in the opening four sets, with San Clemente eventually pulling away in the decisive fifth set, 15-11.

San Clemente sophomore outside hitter Cali Hoye led the team with 20 kills, one ace and 10 digs. Senior outside hitter Taylor Brubaker had 15 kills, three aces, four blocks and six digs. Sophomore setter Marie Paris had 10 digs and a season-high 45 assists in the win.

The Tritons were swept in three sets in a non league match against Huntington Beach on September 24. The team will compete in the Capo Valley Tournament from September 27-28.

San Clemente Boys Water Polo Takes Third in Clovis
The San Clemente boys water polo team went 4-1 at the Clovis Tournament over the weekend, earning a third-place finish. The Tritons (4-2) opened the tournament with three straight wins over Clovis West, Clovis North and Lodi, respectively. The Tritons would drop their fourth game, 11-9, to Buchanan on the second day of competition. San Clemente faced Clovis in the third-place game and won, 9-7.

The Tritons opened South Coast League play against El Toro on September 24 and were defeated 10-8. They play on the road at Tesoro on September 30.

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