Hopes run high for the Laguna Beach High girls' cross-country team which is readying itself for the 2014 season.
If last year serves as any indication of what may come, then the new season could bring added success to the program.
The Breakers continued their preseason workouts Wednesday at El Morro School in Laguna Beach. Six of their top seven runners from last year return from a 2013 team that won the Orange Coast League crown, placed fourth at the CIF Southern Section Division 4 finals, and went on to a second-place finish at the CIF State Championships.
The state finish was the best placement for the program in school history, Coach Steve Lalim said.
The veteran coach said the pieces are in place for another big run this fall.
"We have a very talented group of girls who are really committed to being successful," Lalim said. "They have the right attitude, they really work hard, and have set high goals.
"Our strength is our pack. We have a solid group of girls who are very similar in ability and our ability to pack up and finish closely together is what makes us successful."
The Breakers begin their season Sept. 6 and will compete in several, big invitationals throughout the season.
They'll go to Minnesota at the outset of the season for an invitational, travel to the Clovis Invitational in October, and pace themselves for the key swing of the season: the OCL finals, CIF prelims and finals, and state meet which close out the schedule.
"We need to stay healthy, continue to work hard, and not lose focus of our goals," Lalim said. "We have the ability to compete at a high level but we have to do the little things that will set us apart."
2014 Laguna Beach Girls' Cross-Country
League: Orange Coast
CIF Division: Division 4
Head coach: Steve Lalim (11th year)
2013 league finish: OCL champion
2013 CIF results: CIF-SS Division 4 finals (fourth); CIF State Championships (second).
Returning varsity runners: Janie Crawford, Sr.; Brenna Merchant, Sr.; Natalie Kimball, Sr.; Pearl Shoemaker, Jr.; Kirsten Landsiedel, Soph.; Greer Jacobs, Soph.; Lauryn Alvarez, Jr.; Taylor Alvarez, Jr.; Allison Konno, Jr.; Annie Brown, Sr.
Returning lettermen: Eight
Returning with honors: Janie Crawford (all-league); Brenna Merchant (all-league); Natalie Kimball (all-league); Pearl Shoemaker (all-league); Kirsten Landsiedel (all-league, All-CIF); Taylor Alvarez (all-league).
Varsity newcomers: Grace LaMontagne; Caleigh Cherry; Callista Helms; Summer Dvorak.