“Finally, I won a league title!”
Those were the words Karis Frankian spoke just seconds after her dominant victory. After four runner-up finishes between her freshman and junior track seasons, the Saugus senior finally struck gold at the highly-competitive Foothill League Cross Country Championships on Thursday afternoon. Her winning time of 17 minutes, 59 seconds shattered former teammate Stephanie Bulder’s one-year old course record by a whopping 18 seconds.
While Frankian battled the clock up front, teammate Jenay Jauregui was busy fighting a battle of her own. With the Southern Section and State Championships coming up, it was crucial the senior close the gap between Frankian and herself for the five-time defending section and state champions and that she did. Jauregui looked fantastic, perhaps the best she’s looked since her 10th-place finish at the state finals last November, blazing through the hilly course in 18:19, two seconds shy of Bulder’s former record and just 20 seconds behind reigning champion and four-year teammate Frankian.
Behind Jauregui, another Lady Centurion in Jordan McCall continued to raise eyebrows. Despite a conservative start through the first mile, the senior moved up through the pack slowly but confidently, finally pulling ahead of Golden Valley’s Chelsey Totten, who finished fourth, with less than 600 meters remaining, completing a 1-3 sweep for Saugus.
Frankian, Jauregui and McCall’s performances were very impressive; however, nothing came close to the extraordinary show Heidi Hoslet put on at the junior varsity level less than two hours before. Showing great determination, heart and will throughout the entire race, the junior blazed through the course in an unbelievable mark of 18:46. Her near-solo effort would have placed her an outstanding fifth in the varsity campaign on Thursday afternoon and ranks her 12th in course history. Although the Lady Centurions dominated the varsity girls race without Hoslet, putting six in the top eight, the juniors performance not added to Saugus’ team time proved to be crucial. Last November, Stephanie Bulder (18:17), Danielle Hernando (18:29), Kaylin Mahoney (18:31), Alex Hampton (18:45) and Frankian (18:39) combined to set a new course record of 92 minutes, 44 seconds on the challenging course. On Thursday, Frankian (17:59), Jauregui (18:19), McCall (18:37), Emily McCarty (18:56) and Katie Hutington ran a team time of 92:51, just seven seconds shy of last year’s record. Add Hoslet’s time into the equation, though, and you have a new course record by six seconds, 92:38 to be exact. Either way, the performance by the Saugus girls in all three races was historical.
In the varsity girls race, Saugus won its sixth consecutive Foothill League championship, adding another chapter to their dynasty. Individually, Karis Frankian continued the Cents string of individual titles, which dates back to Shannon Murakami’s 2005 triumph. Another impressive feat continued this fall. Saugus has taken at least the top three spots at the varsity level since 2007, quite an accomplishment considering some great runners have come through the valley. In the frosh/soph girls event, the ladies in blue and white won an impressive seventh straight championship over a young, talented West Ranch squad. Meanwhile, Abigail Frankian won the individual title, becoming the first pair of siblings, along with Karis, to win league championships in the same year since Brenda and Wendy Cohen of Canyon High pulled off the impressive feat in November 2004. The last pair of siblings to win individually at the varsity girls level was Whitney Russell in 1999 and sister Brooke in 2003 and 2004. Last but not least, Saugus set a record in the junior varsity race, finishing in the top 15 places. The previous record was set in last year’s second Foothill League meet, where the squad went 1-14. The Lady Cents also won their sixth team championship in row.