Many emotions were felt among the Foothill League teams that competed Saturday at the CIF Southern Section Championships.
None was as emotional as the girls Division 2 finals.
The Saugus girls saw their five-year string of Southern Section championships snapped in half by Simi Valley in a race for the ages. Heading into the 2011 cross country season, the Lady Centurions knew the journey would be a difficult one as the team lost six of their top nine due to graduation, but even though the Pioneers, who became the first program to take down the powerhouse in six years, beat the defending champions, the effort Saugus gave in today’s race was very inspiring.
Before the tears flooded out, Saugus, lead by Karis Frankian and Jenay Jauregui’s All-Southern Section performances, ran an extraordinary race, recording the sixth fastest team time (89:12) in Mt. San Antonio College course history. Frankian blistered through the course in 17 minutes, 6 seconds, second to former teammate Kaylin Mahoney on the Santa Clarita Valley all-time list, Jauregui surprised in eighth, clocking 17:33, #7 in valley history, and three others – senior Jordan McCall, junior Heidi Hoslet and sophomore Abigail Frankian – ran personal records on the 2.91-mile layout. Katie Huntington anchored the team with her 18:15 clocking.
The performance was truly extraordinary.
An hour before, though, history was made as both the Golden Valley and Hart boys teams qualified for the California State Cross Country Championships, to be held at Woodward Park next Saturday. The Golden Valley boys, lead by Kristian Martinez’s individual win (14:54), the first in school history, won the section title over defending state champions Loyola, another first in school history. Juan David Garcia (14:59), Nolan Del Valle (15:19) and Carlos Lopez (15:35) joined teammate Martinez in the top 12 with junior Brendan Tinoco clocking a personal record of 16:01.
Hart, meanwhile, made the state finals for the first time since 1994. The surprise of the day on the boys side came from senior Sam Peckham, who until yesterday, was well off of his personal best of 15:36, set as a sophomore. The standout ran a surprising 15:16 to finish sixth and earn All-Southern Section honors in his final run at Mt. SAC. Teammates Austin O’Neil (15:29), Billy Walker (15:59), Josh Sherfey (16:03) and Mac Kaufman (16:18) were the other scorers that helped the Indians make history in Walnut on Saturday morning.
Although the Saugus boys, Valencia and Canyon girls and Golden Valley’s Chelsey Totten had great performances, they were less fortunate in making the state championships yesterday. For the second time in three years, the Centurions tied for the final spot into the state meet and lost on a six-man tiebreaker. Lead by AJ Yarnell’s 17th place finish, Saugus ended up ninth, just off of a berth into the state championships.
Golden Valley’s Totten recorded a season-best of 18:27, just a few seconds off her all-time best to conclude her junior cross country season, while both the Valencia and Canyon girls finished 16th, the Vikings in division one and the Cowboys in division two.
Many events will take place next Saturday at the California State Cross Country Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno, most notably the Saugus girls attempt in becoming the first team, boy or girl, to win six consecutive state championships. Check back over the week for several stories on this weekends state finals.
1. Kristian Martinez – Golden Valley – Senior – 14:54
2. Juan David Garcia – Golden Valley – Senior – 14:59
3. Sam Peckham – Hart – Senior – 15:16
4. Nolan Del Valle – Golden Valley – Junior – 15:19
5. Carlos Lopez – Golden Valley – Senior – 15:25
6. AJ Yarnell – Saugus – Junior – 15:28
7. Austin O’Neil – Hart – Senior – 15:29
8. Daniel Tuit – Saugus – Senior – 15:43
9. Billy Walker – Hart – Junior – 15:59
10. Brendan Tinoco – Golden Valley – Junior – 16:01
1. Karis Frankian – Saugus – Senior – 17:06
2. Jenay Jauregui – Saugus – Senior – 17:33
3. Jordan McCall – Saugus – Senior – 18:03
4. Heidi Hoslet – Saugus – Junior – 18:15
5. Katie Huntington – Saugus – Junior – 18:15
6. Abigail Frankian – Saugus – Sophomore – 18:26
7. Chelsey Totten – Golden Valley – Junior – 18:27
8. Madison Hills – Canyon – Junior – 18:29
9. Valeria Soto – Canyon – Junior – 18:35
10. Maddie Dignadice – Valencia – Junior – 18:54