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.
The Laguna Beach Boys Varsity team swept the Sunset Wave division scoring 15 points. They also won the Sunset Conference scoring a low of 20 points. In doing so they broke the course record running a team time of 74:30 with all 5 scorers breaking the 15 minute mark. The JV and Frosh-Soph teams also won Wave division titles. The boys will compete in C.I.F. prelims on 11-20-18 in Riverside.
Record times at Woodbridge Invitational
As the sun set behind the hills of Norco on September 18, the Laguna Beach Cross Country team arrived at the Silver Lakes Sports Complex for their second meet of the 2018 season, the Woodbridge Invitational. The 38th Annual Woodbridge Sketchers Cross Country Classic is the largest cross country meet in the nation, with over 350 schools across 15 states.
The pinnacle of the two-day invitational was the Dough Speck Sweepstakes Race, which had 9 returning state champions and four national qualifiers, making this year the most competitive race in the meet’s 38-year history. Among the nation’s best teams was Laguna Beach High School. First up were the boys. At the start of the race, the leaders went out in a blistering 4:32 mile. Seniors Sebastian Fisher and Ryan Smithers ran side by side the entire race, averaging just under 4:53 per mile, throughout the 3-mile course. Both Fisher and Smithers finished in the top 35 and ran well under the modern school record, clocking a 14:38 and 14:40 respectively. Following closely behind was Senior Zack Falkowski (15:08), Sophomore Mateo Bianchi (15:20), and Senior Cal Neilson (15:21), all posting times that would leave their mark on Laguna Beach High School’s all-time top ten 3-mile list.
Boys Cross Country Team in record books as fastest team in LBHS history
In his second cross country race ever, sophomore Will Compton closed out the Breakers’ top six by running a phenomenal time of 15:51, solidifying his spot on the CIF Southern Section’s number one ranked team, LBHS. As a team, Laguna Beach ran a team time of 1:15:07, establishing themselves as the fastest team in LBHS history. The Breakers were the top Orange County team, as well as fastest small school (Division 4/5) team in the 38 years of the meet’s existence. Coaches Scott Wittkop and Tommy Newton-Neal were very pleased with how the team stayed relaxed and competed in the electric environment of the Sweepstakes race. Coming off of a meet victory up in San Francisco, the LBHS girls cross country team was also invited into the Sweepstakes race at Woodbridge. They also clocked the fastest team time in the school’s history with a time of 1:31:21. Senior Hannah Konkel broke the school record in the 3-mile running a time of 17:31. Both cross country teams are currently ranked in the top 5 of CIF Southern Section and will run their next race in Central Park at the Sunset League Prelims meet on Sept 25.