Laguna Sports Update: Cross Country on Track for Successful Season

Jessie Rose and Mateo Bianchi. Laguna All-State runners hope the State will allow their season to take place. Photo courtesy of Laguna Cross County

Sunset Conference

League Assignments Announced for 2020-21 Season

The Sunset Conference recently announced the league assignments by sport for the upcoming 2020-21 season, marking the first full league shuffle since the Sunset membership expanded to eight schools in 2018. The Breakers moved into the challenging league with some trepidation since the school’s enrollment is more than half the average size of the other league schools. In the inaugural year, 21 sports were split into two divisions with the expected top four programs competing the Sunset Surf League while the expected four weakest programs were in the Sunset Wave League.

In the 2018-19 season, Laguna captured or shared one Surf title and three Wave crowns in the 42 league races. In the coronavirus-shortened 2019-20 season, the Breakers captured one Surf and four Wave League titles in the 24 league races that were completed. Only Los Alamitos had a more successful outcome among the eight schools. The Griffins took in a dominating total of 11 Surf League and four Wave League titles over the past two years.

Fall Sports:

Boys and Girls Cross-County and Girls Volleyball move into the Sunset Surf League

Boys Cross County will join Newport Harbor, Los Alamitos, and Edison. Girls Cross Country will compete with Fountain Valley, Los Alamitos, and Newport Harbor. Girls Volleyball will be paired with Corona del Mar, Los Alamitos, and Huntington Beach.

Winter Sports:

Boys Basketball moves into the Sunset Surf League. The Breakers will face Newport Harbor, Los Alamitos, and Edison.

Spring Sports:

No changes for Laguna.

Sunset school student enrollments used this past season:

Fountain Valley – 3,535

Los Alamitos – 3,140

Huntington Beach – 3,071

Marina – 2,448

Edison – 2,434

Newport Harbor – 2,388

Corona del Mar – 1,729

Laguna Beach – 1,067

Looking Ahead to Fall  2020 Sports

Boys Cross Country

The Breakers will step up to the Sunset Surf League this fall with returning all-state performer Mateo Bianchi leading the squad. Laguna is coached by Scott Wittkop now in his 11th season at the helm with six league titles, one Southern Section and one State title to show for his efforts.

Bianchi returns as the clear Sunset Conference individual favorite but Edison may have the strongest top five runners returning to challenge for team honors. Chris Drews should be Laguna’s second-ranked runner and is also a favorite for all-league honors.

For the team to advance to the Southern Section preliminaries, the squad must finish in the top two of the four-team Sunset Surf schools or they will have to qualify for the post-season by getting ranked in two of the final Top 16 polls during the regular season. Cross Country is one of only two sports where division assignments are based on school enrollment with Laguna falling in the middle of Division 4 of five groups. The Breakers have made the finals for 21 straight seasons. Seven of the 21 section finishes have been top two earning participation in the podium ceremonies with all but one squad finishing in the top 16. To advance to the State Meet, Breakers must finish in the top seven at the Section Finals which will be held at Mt. San Antonio College this season.

The 2020 season opens on Aug. 20 with practice followed by the first meet on Saturday, Aug. 29 in Cerritos.

Girls Cross Country

Defending Sunset Conference Champion, Jessie Rose returns to lead the squad for another run for a league title and CIF honors. Los Alamitos looms as the one Sunset school that could snap the Breakers string of consecutive league crowns that stretches back to 2012 as the Griffins are loaded with a deep squad of runners. Breakers are managed by Steve Lalim now in his 13th season in-charge and he returns a solid squad for this fall. Jessie Rose earned All-CIF and All-State honors last season and will be joined by Nina Rogers, also another all-league all-CIF performer. Also expecting to have a great season are Sydney Schaefgen, Coco Reed, Melanie Falkowski, Hannah Williams, and Isabela Reichel.

Cross Country Summer Camp is still scheduled for July 13 at El Moro and the fall schedule will hopefully be allowed to take place for these promising runners.

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