In one of the more dominant team performances of the state meet, Laguna Beach took control early in the race and held strong through the finish, scoring four runners in the top 15 points-wise. Sir Francis Drake was actually within striking range of the title through four runners, but ended the race holding off Placer for second place.
Laguna Beach High boys’ cross-country coach Scott Wittkop had a feeling that he had a special group this season, but he rarely, if ever, engaged in title talk. Wittkop’s goal for the Breakers was to get back to the state meet, but because of the team’s commitment to each other, they accomplished that feat in grand fashion.
Senior Ryan Smithers won the Division 4 race in 14 minutes 46.1 seconds, leading Laguna Beach past JSerra 39-131 for the team title in the CIF Southern Section finals on Saturday at the Riverside City College cross-country course.“I honestly believe that it’s not the top guys that win these team battles,” Smithers said. “It’s our third, fourth, and fifth guys, and they really put the pedal to the metal, so props to them.”
Laguna Beach put six runners in the top 13 overall. Sebastian Fisher (seventh, 15:27.0), Logan Brooks (ninth, 15:28.9), Cal Nielson (10th, 15:29.3), Zachary Falkowski (12th, 15:33.9), Mateo Bianchi (13th, 15:33.9) and Will Compton (48th, 16:16.7) also drew the start for the Breakers.
Laguna Beach won its first section title since 2009, a year that was capped with the Breakers winning the Division IV state crown. It could be happening again next Saturday when Laguna Beach competes at the state meet at Woodward Park in Fresno.
Andrew Turner LA Times
The #1 State Ranked Laguna Beach team rested some of the Varsity runners at C.I.F. Southern Section Prelims this past weekend. The team ran a controlled race to qualify for the C.I.F. finals running as a pack and finishing within seconds of one another. This is the 22nd year in a row that the boys have qualified for C.I.F Finals.