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New look, same talent for Eastlake cross country team Trent Warren | Mon, Aug 20 2012 03:02 PM

The official start to the high school fall sports practices (other than football) began on Monday, and the Eastlake cross country team is looking to make a statement this year. Since joining the Mesa League, the Titans have yet to win a league title but are hoping to change that.

Two new cross country coaches will lead this year’s EHS team. David Koopman, who also coaches girls basketball, is in charge of the boys squad while Mark Coziahr (girls soccer) is set to coach the girls team.

New additions and ideas have been brought to the team. Coziahr is adding a weight-lifting regimen — something the program has never had before.

The team has responded positively to the new idea. Already team members feel they are getting stronger and more explosive for hill running.

Leading the way for the boys team will be seniors Zac Zasueta and Casey Stanko and junior Oliver Abundez. Abundez is coming off a breakout track and field season after finishing second in last spring’s 800-meter run at the league finals.

Last year, the boys team finished third in the league standings behind Mesa League champion Bonita Vista and Otay Ranch (second place) and thus will be looking to, in Abundez’s words, “bring home a team banner.”

Both Zasueta and Abundez are returning league medalists (Zasueta was eighth; Abundez was 14th) and will be pushing each other this year to contend for state qualifying berths.

“I’m stronger and have my head where it needs to be,” Zasueta said matter-of-factly.

On the girls side, seniors Carly Graff, Kayla Lawson, Jenna Garces and Sarah Garces will buoy Eastlake with their experience. Juniors Ridley Gatlin and Alina Corona are others to watch. Gatlin finished a team-best 13th and Corona 15th at last year’s league finals.

Overall, the Eastlake girls team finished third at last year’s Mesa League finals.

A lot of the talent graduated in the Mesa League this past year, making it pretty much open for any team to take the title. Nothing is guaranteed, however, as new talent will emerge and runners who may have flown under the radar last year will rise to grab the spotlight for any of the Mesa teams.

“We have a lot of strong returners on both the boys and girls sides,” Graff said. “We have been working very hard over the summer with our new training program and I think the results will show as we approach our racing season.”

 

FALL SPORTS — IMPORTANT DATES

FOOTBALL
First interscholastic scrimmage: Aug. 24
First regular season game: Aug. 31
Last regular season game: Nov. 2
San Diego Section playoffs: TBA

CROSS COUNTRY
First possible interscholastic contest: Aug. 29
Last possible pre-playoff contest: Nov. 10
San Diego Section finals: Nov. 17 at Morley Field (Balboa Park)

BOYS WATER POLO
Seventh annual Draz Classic: Aug. 24-25 at Coronado High School
First possible interscholastic contest: Aug. 29
Last possible pre-playoff game: Nov. 3
San Diego Section playoffs: Nov. 7-17

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL
First possible interscholastic scrimmage: Aug. 28
First possible interscholastic contest: Aug. 29
Last possible pre-playoff game: Nov. 2
San Diego Section playoffs: Nov. 6-17

GIRLS FIELD HOCKEY
First possible interscholastic scrimmage: Aug. 28
First possible interscholastic contest: Aug. 29
Last possible pre-playoff game: Nov. 7
San Diego Section playoffs: Nov. 10-17

GIRLS TENNIS
First possible interscholastic contest: Aug. 23
San Diego Section team playoffs: Oct. 23-26
San Diego Section individual playoffs: Nov. 5-9


GIRLS GOLF
South Bay Legue prelims Oct. 23 at Bonita Golf Course, finals Oct. 24 at Chula Vista Municipal Golf Course
San Diego Section prelims Oct. 30 at Coronado Golf Course, finals Nov 1. at Coronado Golf Course
 

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