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Cif State Cross Country Championships:

Sailors win state

CROSS COUNTRY: The Newport Harbor girls shock Division II, capturing the CIF State title; CdM takes fifth place in Division III.

November 25, 2007|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza

FRESNO — As the Newport Harbor High girls’ cross country team lined up under a tent to take its team photo, a flier on a nearby table showcased a familiar team.

A Sailors’ fan grabbed it and read it before noticing the team, Newport Harbor’s Back Bay rival. Last year’s Corona del Mar championship team smiled big.

The fan looked up, put the paper away, and saw that this year it was Newport Harbor’s time to beam.

After back-to-back runner-up finishes, the Sailors claimed the CIF State Division II championship at the 5K Woodward Park course in Fresno Saturday. Even before the official word let out, Newport Harbor Coach Eric Tweit couldn’t believe it.

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An official alerted the longtime coach that indeed his Sailors finished first with 137 points, ahead of the 154 turned in by Foothill of Santa Ana. Still, Tweit ordered a correction.

“You need to check,” Tweit told the official of the scores. “There was no way.”

After the post-race festivities, it finally hit Tweit, who’s never short for words. But winning the school its fourth girls’ state title left him speechless. Well, for a moment as he held the plaque proudly.

CdM Coach Bill Sumner, from afar, said the Sailors’ victory guaranteed at least one thing before his Sea Kings tried to go into the record books.

“At least somebody is bringing home a state title,” he said, sporting as big a smile as he did in the flier. “There will be a party tonight.”

About two hours later, Sumner realized his Sea Kings wouldn’t be joining the Sailors in a neighborhood celebration when both teams returned home.

Corona del Mar fell short of winning its third straight Division III title as it placed fifth in the race won by Orange Lutheran. The crown would’ve given CdM six overall, tying University of San Francisco for the girls’ state record.

In a rebuilding year, a fourth-straight top five finish for the Sea Kings isn’t too shabby.

Another Newport-Mesa-area athlete excelling at state was Sage Hill School’s Cait Williamson. The junior finished sixth at 19 minutes, 7 seconds in the Division V race, ending up with the best finish in school history. Sage Hill placed 12th.

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