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The rich get richer

Posted: April 7, 2008 11:06 p.m.
Updated: June 9, 2008 5:01 a.m.
After running in a track meet against West Ranch on April 3, Saugus runners Katie Dunn and Kaylin Mahoney had one more race against time that night.

Along with the Centurions cross country head coach Rene Paragas, they tried to make it down to the ESPN Zone in Anaheim in time for the 710 ESPN Southern California Sports Awards.

They got there in time, but there wasn't any chance to change. So at the formal event, Mahoney and Dunn sat through it in their track warm-ups.

No matter.

The trio of Dunn, Mahoney and Paragas represented the Saugus girls cross country team and were given the award for High School Team of the Year.

While Saugus cross country picked up a team award, a Santa Clarita athlete also picked up an individual honor. Former Valencia High softball pitcher Jordan Taylor was honored with the 2007 High School Female Athlete of the Year award. Taylor was not in attendance and is currently a pitcher for the University of Michigan.

Taylor set state records last season for wins in a single season after going 32-0 and also for wins in a single week, with 10. She finished with a career earned run average of 0.27 and was the Gatorade California State Player of the Year.

The USC girls soccer team picked up the Female College Team of the Year for winning a national title in 2007. Former Canyon High player Nini Loucks is a member of the USC team, but a knee injury in October limited her to 11 games for the season.

The winners were determined by online voting and the awards ceremony was hosted by San Diego Chargers star LaDanian Tomlinson and ESPN radio personality Colin Cowherd.

"It was almost straight from the track to the podium really," Paragas said. "It was kind of fitting. We are very excited, very happy about tonight."

The Centurions cross country team repeated as CIF Division I State Champions and also as CIF-Southern Section Division I champs.

Along with the numerous titles they pulled in during the season, the Saugus girls cross country team seemed to destroy any record in its path, breaking seven course records in 2007. They beat the course record at the state championships at Woodward Park in Fresno Nov. 24 by 32 seconds and went on to finish second in the Nike Team Nationals in Portland, Ore Dec. 1.

"At the beginning of the season we wanted to make it a repeat but we wanted to do it better," Dunn said. "We knew we had to work hard and we didn't go in there thinking we were going to be the best again.
You can't think of yourself too high.

"We knew we had to work hard and push it to another level in order to do better," Dunn added. "Coming back from being state champs the year before, that gave us a lot of hype."

Saugus lived up to the hype just fine, taking first place in all 11 CIF meets they competed in during the season.

"Really that's the key to our success, we work harder than everyone else," Paragas said. "It's that year-around, 365-day commitment to wanting to be one of the best teams not just in CIF."


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