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By Zach Cavanagh
The Dana Hills boys and girls cross country teams easily made their way to the CIF-SS Division 2 Final with strong performances in the CIF-SS preliminaries on Saturday, Nov. 13, at Mt. San Antonio College.
The Dolphins boys finished second in their Division 2 heat to qualify, and the Dana Hills girls won their Division 2 heat to move on to the CIF-SS Finals. The CIF-SS Finals will be contested on Saturday, Nov. 20, at Mt. SAC, with the top seven teams in each division qualifying for the CIF State Championships.
The state meet runs at Woodward Park in Fresno on Saturday, Nov. 27. The Dana Hills boys qualified for the state meet the last time it was run in 2019, finishing second. The Dolphin girls last qualified for state in 2017.
San Clemente boys and girls (Division 1) and Dana Hills boys and girls (Division 2) cross country teams all qualify for the CIF-SS Finals out of their respective prelim heats.
— South OC Sports (@SouthOCsports) November 13, 2021
The Dana Hills boys were once again paced by senior Jai Dawson, who finished third in his heat with a time of 15:51. The Dolphins didn’t run completely as a pack, but had a quick succession of finishers. Dana Hills had four runners in the top 13, with its fifth scoring runner in 20th. The Dolphins finished only behind Claremont, which placed four runners in the top eight and its fifth scoring runner in 18th.
After Dawson, junior Jack Jones was the next Dolphin in with a 10th-place finish at 16:22 in the 2.93-mile race. Seniors Nathan Scheer and Nick Burke finished back-to-back in 12th and 13th, with times of 16:29 and 16:34, respectively. Freshman Evan Noonan rounded out the scoring group in 20th at 16:44.
The Dana Hills boys, ranked No. 8 in Division 2, have had a strong season highlighted by a second-place team performance at the South Coast League Finals and a fourth-place finish at the Orange County Championships. Dawson has been stellar, with an Orange County title, a win at the prestigious Mt. SAC Invitational—the same site as the CIF-SS preliminaries and finals—and a South Coast League championship.
The Dana Hills girls won their Division 2 heat by placing all five of their scoring runners in the top 24. Junior Allura Markow continued to be the leader for the Dolphins with a fifth-place finish at 18:44. The next Dana Hills runners came in as a pair, with freshman Annie Ivarsson in 16th at 20:06 and sophomore Paige Scheer in 17th at 20:13.
Sophomore Tessa Anderson finished 21st at 20:26, and sophomore Cooper Murphy was the last scoring runner for the Dolphins in 24th at 20:37.
The Dana Hills girls, ranked No. 4 in Division 2, have gotten stronger as the season has progressed. The Dolphins finished third at the Orange County Championships and won the South Coast League championship. Markow won the individual league title in the South Coast League.
Zach Cavanagh is the sports editor for Picket Fence Media. Zach is a 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.