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By Zach Cavanagh

Jai Dawson kept up the strong tradition of Dana Hills distance running with two hardware-winning runs at State Championship events this year.

For his accomplishments and stellar standard of performance, Dawson has been selected as one of the Dana Hills Athletes of the Year.

Dawson won the Orange County cross country championship, South Coast League title and CIF State Division II cross country championship in the fall. In the spring, the New Zealand native captured Orange County, South Coast League and CIF-SS Division 2 championships in the 800-meter and 1,600-meter runs, and he finished second at the CIF State Championships in the 800.

Jai Dawson. Photo: Scott Emery

In cross country, Dawson won six of the eight events in which he competed, with his only losses coming in a third-place finish at the CIF-SS preliminaries and a 13th-place finish at the Clovis Invitational. At the Clovis race, Dawson ran a faster time than his state-winning run on the same state course.

On the track, Dawson won 12 of the 18 races he ran in the 400, 800 and 1,600 meters, with the other six results being second-place finishes. He finished the season with the state’s fourth-best time in the 800 and the eighth-best time in the 1,600.

Dawson will continue his athletic and academic career at UCLA.

Zach Cavanagh

Zach Cavanagh is the sports editor for Picket Fence Media. Zach is multiple California Journalism Award winner and has covered sports in Orange County since 2013. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ZachCav and follow our sports coverage on Twitter @SouthOCSports. Email at

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