Being unranked in the Stanford Invitational Division 4 girls' race Saturday did little to deter the Laguna Beach High girls' cross-country team from having a great day in Palo Alto.
Make that an outstanding day: the Breakers won the Division 4 girls' championship.
The race featured the No. 4 (Mayfield), No. 5 (Notre Dame), No. 9 (La Reina) and No. 10 (Scotts Valley) teams in the state rankings, but it was Laguna — unranked in the state going into the meet — who turned heads. The Breakers took the lead at the one-mile mark and ran to victory against 25 other teams.
"It was a great effort by our girls, from our first runner to our sixth runner," Laguna Coach Steve Lalim said. "It was a great team effort, and a lot of fun. I'm really proud of the girls. Their hard work is paying off. I can't wait to see what they do in November. I know one thing — they'll be ready."
At the Orange Coast League Cluster meet on Sept. 26, Laguna's girls also claimed first place. Placements for the Breakers: Janie Crawford (first); Livie Clark (second); Brenna Merchant (seventh); Eliza Romero (11th); Carlee Ressler (12th); Maddy Kristensen (13th); Katie Grayden (15th).
Laguna, ranked No. 2 this week in CIF Southern Section Division 4, will compete Saturday at the Clovis Invitational. The meet will be held at Woodward Park in Fresno, site of the CIF State Cross-Country Championships in November. The varsity girls' race is at 1:25 p.m., followed by the varsity boys' race at 1:55 p.m.
In a league four-way Monday at Aliso Creek Golf Course (par 32), Laguna went 2-1, scoring a 259-262 win over Calvary Chapel, won by forfeit against Costa Mesa and lost to league-leader Estancia.
Laguna individual scores from Monday: Jackie McMahon (48); Mary Kate Quellmalz (52); Leslie Dwight (52); Jamie Hendrickson (53); Hailey Quigley (54); Audrey Curtis (59).
Quigley's score was key for Laguna. She shot a 54, which was three strokes below her prior low score of the season. Quigley, Laguna's No. 6 golfer, along with Hendrickson and Curtis, the Nos. 4 and 5 players for the Breakers, each has shot her best score over the past two weeks.
At the halfway point of the league season, Laguna (3-2 league) sits in second place.
Laguna has two four-way league matches next week. The Breakers face Estancia at 2:30 p.m. Monday at Mesa Linda Golf Course in Costa Mesa, and face Calvary Chapel at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley.
Laguna, ranked No. 1 in Division 1-A, took Mira Costa to the wire in nonleague play Wednesday, but the host Mustangs were able to pull out a 17-25, 25-23, 17-25, 25-17, 15-12 victory.
Alyse Ford had 37 kills and eight digs, Alex Murphy six kills and 14 digs, Julia Goggin eight kills and Sevana Drovak 49 assists and eight digs for the Breakers, who fell to 8-5.
"I'm proud of the way we fought," Laguna Coach Lance Stewart said. "We played with good energy and fought hard all the way down to the final point. It was a good battle for us.
"Sevana Drovak had her best match of the year. She played some good defense, and her location was really good on her sets. I thought Alyse (Ford) was steady all match, and Alex Murphy played a real solid match in the back row."
Laguna moved to 3-0 in Orange Coast League play Tuesday by sweeping visiting Calvary Chapel, 25-21, 25-19, 25-22. Ford had 20 kills and Drovak 32 assists. It was the first league loss for the Eagles, who went to 2-1 in league and 5-10 overall.