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Neev, Breakers start strong

Senior boys' runner takes first in Division 3 race at Laguna Hills Invitational.

September 17, 2010|By Mike Sciacca, michael.sciacca@latimes.com
  • Laguna Beach High's Matt Neev wins the Division 3 boys' race at the Laguna Hills Invitational at Laguna Hills High School on Saturday.
Laguna Beach High's Matt Neev wins the Division… (KENT TREPTOW, Coastline…)

The Laguna Beach High boys' cross-country team was at half strength for its season opener Saturday, but that didn't prevent the Breakers from grabbing the spotlight at the Laguna Hills Invitational.

In his first meet of the 2010 season, senior Matt Neev won the Division 3 boys' race in 15 minutes 48.27 seconds. Neev finished well ahead of runner-up Austin Barvin of Corona del Mar, who was second in 15:59.79.

Breakers boys' Coach Scott Wittkop said the invite was a "good day" for his team, adding that only half of his varsity runners ran Saturday.

"It was a race that we trained through and the kids responded the way we thought they would," he said.

For the Laguna Beach girls' cross-country team, Natasha Strickland topped the Breakers' leader board with a time of 20:47. She was followed by Marlee Grosher (21:25), Grace Clark (22:00), Audrey Rodriguez (22:17), Taylor Capobianco (22:20), Sophie Radach (22:49) and Anya Miller (23:11).

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"I thought we ran a little flat at Laguna Hills," girls' Coach Steve Lalim said. "The girls came into the race a little tired, coming off a tough week of training and completing their first week of school. But I'm OK with them running tired, as long as we're firing and running well in November. We have a little work to do to get where I'd like, but this team is loaded with 39 girls who are willing to work hard, and they'll do whatever it takes to succeed.

"This 2010 girls team is a special team. I've never had so much fun coaching. It's going to be a great year. I'm super excited to see what this team can accomplish."

Lalim said the 2010 team captains were announced Tuesday and the five captains are Capobianco, Radach, Beverly Ronses, Austin Schlatter and Carly Savage, all seniors and four-year varsity runners.

Both Laguna teams are in San Diego on Saturday to compete at the Mt. Carmel Invitational.

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Girls' Tennis

The Breakers on Tuesday hosted their first match of the season, which ended in a 12-6 nonleague loss to Dana Hills. No. 1 singles player Taylor Nederlander swept by scores of 6-3, 6-0, 7-6 and No. 2 singles Claire Jaeger won her final two sets (2-6, 6-0, 7-5).

Laguna opened its season Sept. 9 at Newport Harbor and dropped an 11-7 match to the Sailors. Nederlander swept at No. 1 singles (6-1, 6-1, 6-1) and the Breakers' top doubles team of Haley Moss/Bianca Sganga also swept (6-4, 6-1, 6-1).

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