By Zach Cavanagh
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Denker’s Bloody Run Highlights Another Dana Hills County Title
The Dana Hills boys cross country team crushed the competition to earn a record fifth straight Orange County Cross Country Championships title, its ninth in the past 13 seasons and a record 11th title overall. But the highlight of Dolphins’ run on Saturday, Oct. 19 at Oak Canyon Park in Silverado was senior Carrick Denker literally giving a blood-and-sweat effort.
Denker has been the pacesetter for the Dana Hills boys this season, but his county title push took a hit midway through the three-mile race, when he was inadvertently pushed into a metal post and suffered a deep cut on his left hand.
Despite the deep gash to the bone, his blood-soaked hand and blood spattering all over his uniform and nearby runners, Denker pushed on to a third-place finish with a time of 14:44.2.
After the race, Denker went to a local hospital and received 12 stitches and a tetanus shot. He is not expected to be sidelined very long. The Dolphins, who are ranked No. 2 in CIF-SS Division 2, compete next in the Riverside Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 26.
Sophomore Jai Dawson, who transferred from New Zealand last year, paced Dana Hills on the day with a second-place silver finish at 14:41.1, a personal record.
Dana Hills placed all five of its scoring runners in the top 25 to obliterate the field. The Dolphins scored 64 points, nearly half of second-place Beckman’s 126 points.
Senior Omar Garcia finished 18th at 15:12.1, a personal record; junior Brandon Pizano finished 21st at 15:14.0; and junior Ryan Broadhead finished in 23rd at 15:16.0.
The Dana Hills girls cross country team finished sixth in the team standings with 202 points. Senior Marisa Gaitan finished 10th at 17:41.3, and freshman Allura Markow finished in 12th at 17:50.6.
Football Closes Regular Season at San Juan Hills
The tremendous start of the Dana Hills football team hit the skids in league play, and the Dolphins figure to be winless in league play in their last season in the Coast View Conference, for now.
After a school-record 6-0 start, Dana Hills (6-3, 0-3) dropped its third straight game in a home loss to Aliso Niguel, 37-10. The Dolphins have lost 10 consecutive league games. Dana Hills football will leave the Coast View Conference for the Pacific Coast League next season.
The Dolphins will finish at reigning league champion and current league leader San Juan Hills on Friday, Oct. 25. The Stallions (5-3, 2-0) beat Trabuco Hills and Aliso Niguel by a combined score of 77-14.
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.