Saints win LPL title

Santa Maria High cross country runners stand atop the podium after the team won the Los Padres League championship on Wednesday with a win at Morro Bay High School.

Santa Maria's boys team dominated the varsity race at the Los Padres League Cross Country Finals at Morro Bay High School Wednesday, and the Saints made some history as a result.

"I looked all through the records (for school sports titles), there are a couple of guys who have school records for the 1940s, and I couldn't see anything about cross country," Brian Wallace said by phone after the meet.

Wallace is Santa Maria's athletic director. He also coaches all the school's cross country teams.

"This is the first fall sports title for the school since the girls tennis team won one in 2002." Then-coach Ginny Barnett guided that squad to a CIF Southern Section divisional final.

Santa Maria's football team will go after the Northern League title when it plays at 7 p.m. Friday night in a first-place showdown at Nipomo.

Wednesday, Nipomo's Devin Diaz and Joe Gocke went 1-2 in the varsity boys race, with Diaz winning in 14 minutes, 46.49 seconds over the 2.8-mile course, but the Saints' first six runners finished in the top 10 as Santa Maria scored 31 points to runner-up Cabrillo's 69.

Teams earned double points in the league standings for each opponent it defeated Wednesday.

Cesar Ayuso led the Saints with a third-place finish. John Barajas (fifth place), Jose Lepe (sixth), Dennis Tello (eighth) and Alexis Garcia (ninth) rounded out Santa Maria's scoring five runners. Teammate Alexis Garcia finished sixth.

Nipomo's boys finishedd third with 83 points. Lompoc earned the fourth, and final league qualifying spot for the CIF Southern Section Preliminaries, with 103 points.

Santa Ynez finished fifth in the eight-team field with 129 points. Orcutt Academy was seventh with 154.

Individual winner Audrey McClish led the Morro Bay girls to the varsity team championship. She won in 16:57.17. Santa Ynez senior Emily Donahue finished second in 17:26.64.

Morro Bay's girls won the team title easily, with 39 points. Santa Ynez eased to second place, and an automatic berth in the divisional prelims, with 67. Temleton (84 points) and Cabrillo (125) earned the other two automatic bids to the prelims.

Orcutt Academy's girls made it to the CIF state meet in Division 5 last year. The Spartans finished third at the mid-season duals but will have to hope for an at-large berth in the sectional prelims after finishing sixth Wednesday.

The top seven boys and girls varsity runners earned All-LPL status. Lompoc's Greg Wuitschick finished fourth. Cabrillo's Nathan Schartz finished seventh.

Analise Dempsey of Morro Bay finished third in the varsity girls race. Kiely West of Santa Ynez (fourth place), Mackenzie Webb of Orcutt Academy (fifth), Elena Estrada of Cabrillo (sixth) and Hanni Richter of Santa Ynez (seventh).

If Orcutt Academy's girls team does not advance to the prelims, Webb earned a berth there as an individual with her fifth-place finish.

Girls tennis

Arroyo Grande 14, San Marcos 4

The Eagles scored a win in their first-ever CIF Southern Section Division I playoff match, defeating the Royals at San Marcos in the first round.

Maddy Ferreros lost just four games in a three-set singles sweep for the Eagles. PAC 8 League singles champion Delanie Dunkle teamed with Bella Waterman in doubles, and the pair swept their sets for Arroyo Grande. Lily Bickmore teamed with Bella Waterman for one set, and that duo won 7-5.

Delanie Dunkle's freshman sister, Peyton, teamed with Emma Mostajo for a three-set sweep for the PAC 8 champions. Mostajo and Peyton Dunkle lost three games.  

Erika Egg and Josceline Ramirez both won two singles sets for the Eagles. Christina Atherton and Casey Lieberman won a doubles set.

Arroyo Grande coach Lori Hollister said in a text after the match that her team was heading straight to top-seeded Corona del Mar in Newport Beach for the teams' 2 p.m. Friday match.   

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Sports Reporter