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Warriors enjoying banner season

Irvine Scene

The Woodbridge boys' and girls' teams captured league championships and individual crowns before taking on CIF runners.

November 16, 2011|By Joe Haakenson, Special to the Daily Pilot
(Courtesy of Richard…)

Woodbridge High has developed a reputation of success in cross country, but this season both the boys' and girl's teams are exceeding the expectations of many, including those of their coach.

Warriors Coach George Varvas believes in his team and knows each of his runner's capabilities. But even he had to pinch himself after the Pacific Coast League finals at Irvine Regional Park Nov. 4.

Woodbridge not only swept both the boys' and girls' team titles, but they set school records with their times — the boys running the three-mile course in a combined 76 minutes, 3 seconds and the girls in 86:28.

Woodbridge also swept the individual titles, as Dragan Simic won the boys' title and Molly Babcock the girls' title. Simic's time of 14:43 was the second best time in school history, behind Michael Hadden's 14:25 set in 2002.

Not to be outdone, Babcock's time of 16:33 also was the second best time in school history, behind her older sister Christine's time of 16:05 set in 2007.

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Simic had his work cut out for him, specifically coming from University High's Charles Morgan, who had beaten Simic in previous races.

Blake Myers of Corona del Mar was another contender, but Woodbridge also had Brandon Ferguson in the mix.

"All four of them, you could have thrown a blanket over them, they were that close," Varvas said. "But they hit that hill and Dragan and Ferguson started pulling away. It was a great race from a spectator's point of view, and I was part spectator, part coach."

Simic won it, and Ferguson took second place in 14:46, which ranks as the third best time in Woodbridge history.

"Dragan put the mental part of his race together," Varvas said. "He needed to believe in himself. He dedicated himself to his individual goal to win the league championship and he was able to see it happen."

For Babcock, her challenge came from CdM's Ashlee Powers, whom Varvas says is a future NCAA Division I runner.

"Ashlee did a great job of pushing the pace," Varvas said. "I was worried she would break our kids."

Instead, Babcock came in four seconds ahead of Powers, and Babcock's Woodbridge teammate Nicole Evans finished third in 16:46.

As rewarding as the individual championships were for Woodbridge, Varvas said it was and will always be the team results that matter most.

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