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Pirates pursuing perfection in cross country

OCC women, dominating all foes coming off a state title season, are aiming for perfect score.

October 02, 2013|By Barry Faulkner
  • Leanne Allen (217) and Karen Silvas (226) compete for Orange Coast College at the 2013 Southern California Preview Meet.
Leanne Allen (217) and Karen Silvas (226) compete for… (Dean Lofgren )

In the battle against complacency along the 5,000-kilometer cross country trail, the competition is not the sole buffer. There is, of course, also the matter of the stopwatch, its constant ticking a relentless measure of individual progress.

And, fortunately, for the defending state champion Orange Coast College women's team, there is also the matter of perfection, a perfect score produced by placing all five scoring runners atop the rest of the field.

It is this perfect score, the loftiest of all motivational measures, that continues to drive Coach Marco Ochoa's Pirates, who thus far this season are, quite frankly, running opponents into the ground.

"We kind of want to get that perfect score at state," said sophomore Leanne Allen, who along with fellow sophomore Karen Silvas has formed the Pirates' one-two punch the last two seasons.

"It's a longshot, but it's not impossible," Silvas said of the one-through-five individual finish at the Nov. 23 state meet that is a tangible objective for a squad that routinely reels in its goals.

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OCC, with four of its top seven back from last season, when it captured the program's 15th state crown but its first since 2006, has won all three of the invitationals in which it has competed in 2013. All three times, the second-place team more than doubled the Pirates' team score (the lower the score the better).

At the Fresno Invitational on Sept. 7 at Woodward Park, the annual site of the state meet, OCC runners placed second (Allen), fourth (Silvas), eighth (freshman Krista Son), ninth (sophomore Raeanne Cortez) and 13th (sophomore Guadalupe Cantoran), for a team total of 36. The gap of just more than 57 seconds between the No. 1 runner (Allen's 18 minutes, 41.75 seconds) and the No. 5 runner (Cortez's 19:39.69) was its best showing at any invitational. Runner-up Mt. San Antonio had 105 team points that day.

At the 30-team Southern California Preview meet last week in Santa Clarita, Silvas finished first (19:10.83), Allen third, Cantoran 10th, Cortez 11th and Son 16th (20:20.8) to help compile 40 points, 59 fewer than second-place Glendale.

Allen was fifth, Silva sixth, with the remaining aforementioned three Pirates placing 13th, 14th and 17th in the season-opening Mark Covert Classic in Fullerton Aug. 31, in which OCC's team score of 25 provided a 35-point cushion on runner-up Concordia.

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