By Zach Cavanagh
For in-game updates, news and more for all of the Dana Hills High School sports programs, follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SouthOCSports.
Boys Cross Country No. 2 Entering CIF-SS Prelims
The Dana Hills boys cross country team is setting the stage for another potential championship run through the CIF-SS postseason.
The Dolphins already have Orange County and Sea View League championships under their belts heading into the CIF-SS preliminaries on Saturday, Nov. 16 at the Riverside Cross Country Course.
Dana Hills is ranked No. 2 in CIF-SS Division 2 behind Newbury Park, as it has been in the past five CIF-SS polls. Newbury Park has been No. 1 in Division 2 all season.
Dana Hills and Newbury Park have already run head-to-head at the three-mile Riverside course this season.
At the Riverside Invitational on Oct. 26, the Dolphins beat the Panthers, 94-108. Dana Hills sophomore Jai Dawson took second place at 15:00, with Newbury Park junior Thomas McDonnell in third place at 15:05. Dana Hills also ran that race without senior Carrick Denker, who was recovering from a gash suffered at the Orange County Championships.
Both teams also competed at the state championship course in the Clovis Invitational on Oct. 12. Newbury Park finished second, placing two runners in the top four, including the individual champion. Dana Hills finished eighth with Denker as the top runner in 11th, but Dawson did not run in the meet.
The Dana Hills girls cross country team is ranked No. 12 in the Division 2 poll and will also race on Saturday.
The Dolphins girls will run first in the first Division 2 girls heat at 7:45 a.m. The Dana Hills boys will run in the second Division 2 boys heat at 8:35 a.m.
The top 12 team in each heat will qualify for the finals, and any individuals who finish in the first 15 places overall and are not members of a qualifying team will also advance. Both Dana Hills teams should be set for finals qualification.
The CIF-SS championships will run at the Riverside course on Nov. 23, with the Division 2 girls at 7:45 a.m. and the Division 2 boys at 8:25 a.m.
Tickets can be purchased in advance at gofan.co/app/school/CIFSS. General admission is $10, and high school students with ID and children under 13 are $5. Parking is $10 per car.
Dunn Back as Head Track Coach
Dana Hills boys cross country coach Craig Dunn is returning to his top position for the boys track and field team, the school announced on Thursday, Nov. 7.
Dunn had previously been the boys track and field head coach for 10 years before stepping down after the 2016 season to focus on the distance runners. Keith Chambers had been the head coach over the past two seasons.
In his previous stint as boys track head coach, Dunn and the Dolphins collected nine South Coast League titles, six Orange County Championships and the first and only CIF-SS Division 1 team championship in Capistrano Unified School District history in 2009.
Dunn’s track teams also qualified for the team nationals twice, and Dunn was county coach of the year twice.
As a cross country coach, Dunn has been a part of 17 South Coast League titles, 10 county championships, three CIF-SS Division 1 titles, seven CIF-SS Division 1 runners-up, three state championships, five state runners-up, five state third-place finishes, eight nationals appearances and one national third-place finish.
Two Teams Named to CIF-SS Watch Lists
Two Dana Hills winter sports teams were named to the CIF-SS preseason watch lists ahead of the start of the winter sports season on Monday, Nov. 18.
On Nov. 4, the Dolphins girls water polo team was marked as a team to watch in Division 3.
Last season, the girls water polo team advanced to the program’s first-ever CIF-SS championship game in Division 4. The Dolphins were edged out by La Quinta for the title, 11-8.
Dana Hills won’t start its girls water polo season until Dec. 4 at JSerra and the El Dorado Tournament that weekend, Dec. 6-7.
On Tuesday, Nov. 12, the Dana Hills girls basketball team was named as a team to watch in Division 2A.
Last season, the girls basketball team finished third in the South Coast League and advanced to the Division 2AA playoffs. The Dolphins lost in the first round to Orangewood Academy.
Dana Hills opens its season on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at Irvine High School and hosts El Toro on Thursday, Nov. 21.
Winter Sports Begin Monday, Nov. 18
The rest of the Dana Hills winter sports lineup gets started on Monday, Nov. 18.
The Dolphins boys basketball team tips off in the Santa Ana/Garden Grove Four City Classic on Tuesday, Nov. 19 against California at Century High School. Dana Hills plays at Santa Ana High School on Wednesday, Nov. 20, before bracket play begins on Thursday, Nov. 21.
The Dana Hills girls soccer team kicks off at home against Capistrano Valley on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 6 p.m. The Dolphins also play at Laguna Hills on Thursday, Nov. 21.
The Dana Hills boys soccer team gets going at home against St. Margaret’s on Nov. 26.
The Dana Hills wrestling program has its first match with the girls team at Capistrano Valley on Nov. 23. The boys team gets going on Dec. 3 at El Toro.
Look for the annual Dana Point Times winter sports preview on Dec. 6.
Zach Cavanagh is the sports editor for Picket Fence Media. Zach is a 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.