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Corona del Mar rules state

CROSS COUNTRY: Led by a 1-2 finish from Cummings and Buckley, Sea Kings defend CIF State Division III title.

November 26, 2006|By Dominic Perrone

FRESNO — The Corona del Mar High girls' cross country team took off for its normal post-race cool down.

As the Sea Kings ran, the remainder of the schools and staff packed up and left the CIF State Championships at Woodward Park Saturday.

Corona del Mar still had a future to look forward to though. While the thoughts of other schools' runners turned to next season or the sadness of the end of a high school cross country career, the Sea Kings were thinking of the Nike Team Nationals and all of the fun that comes with the event.

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Yes, Corona del Mar was busy savoring its second straight Division III state championship, senior Sarah Cummings individual title and the post-race celebration that would follow. And after the cool down came sit-ups as always, which in a way signified what Coach Bill Sumner believes to be the source of the team's continued success, which has also seen three consecutive Southern Section titles.

"We set the bar pretty high here," Sumner said. "We treat it as if its Life 1A."

A week after narrowly defeating Oak Park, 48-55, in the section final the Sea Kings blew away the Eagles at the state championship, 50-113. The Sea Kings were so dominant their seventh runner finished at least 10 places high than any other team's fifth-place runner.

"We came in here a little nervous because of last week," Sumner said. "We talked about how we could come in and run to win or we could come in and run not to lose to Oak Park. I told them to just run it like we always run it."

Cummings did what she always did, leading by a wide margin through most of the race. It was the first time Cummings had run the Woodward Park course since last year's state championship, where illness led her to finish 22nd and fourth on the team. This year, Cummings was first in 17 minutes, 58 seconds on the 5K course.

"I thought about [last year] and it came into my motivation," Cummings said. "I thought about it when I came around the curve because I don't remember anything after that point last year. When I saw [assistant Ceci] St. Geme I knew I was good. It definitely makes up for last year."

When Cummings crossed the finish line she only had fleeting thoughts of winning the title before she wondered how her team was doing.

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