The story of the week was Hart High’s misfortune before and during the Foothill League No. 1 on Thursday. Despite several injuries throughout their top five (No. 4-man Josh Sherfey dropped out just after two miles with an injury), the Indians were in second with just 300 meters remaining; however, No. 1-man Sam Peckham, who many consider one of the favorites this fall to take the individual crown in early-November, collapsed due to dehydration and exhaustion, causing the team standings to change in the final 400 meters. Five-time defending champions, Saugus, took second just a single point ahead of Hart, while Golden Valley, ranked No. 1 in the new California state rankings, completely dominated with their entire scoring contingent in the top seven. Saugus and Hart weren’t the only teams separated by a single point as the Cowboys of Canyon High finished just ahead of Valencia High. West Ranch High, meanwhile, rounded out the Foothill League standings.
This week’s most notable move came from Saugus junior AJ Yarnell, who trailed No. 1-ranked Kristian Martinez of Golden Valley with just 600 meters remaining at the opening Foothill League meet. Martinez pulled away easily, though, setting a new course record of 15 minutes, 34 seconds. Yarnell was also under the former record held by last year’s individual champion, Logan Smith of Saugus. Hart High’s Sam Peckham was running in fifth with less than 400 meters remaining until he collapsed. The senior never backed out though, hobbling to the finish line in a still-impressive 12th place. Canyon High’s Zach Wims, ranked No. 10 last week, also moved up, finishing fifth behind the Golden Valley trio of Martinez, Juan David Garcia and Nolan Del Valle, as well as Yarnell of Saugus. Three others, Aaron Nyugen and Gave Levy of Golden Valley and Saugus’ Daniel Tuit also moved into the top ten with outstanding performances at the first league meet this week, while Golden Valley’s remaining varsity runners, Brendan Tinoco and Carlos Lopez fill spots No. 11 and No. 12.
Despite a very conservative first mile, Saugus easily won over a talented Foothill League in the opening meet on Thursday, putting six Lady Cents in the top nine, while Nina Sassano’s winning effort in the junior varsity race would of placed her 10th ahead of Golden Valley High’s No. 2 runner in the varsity girls race, giving the five-time defending state champions seven of the top ten fastest performers in the first league meet. Valencia High, headlined by a 2-4 finish by their first two runners, a first in program history, finished a solid second, while Canyon High surprised in third place, although West Ranch and Golden Valley were missing Taylor Welker and Weslie Totten. Hart High, led by their talented freshman, rounded out the standings.
Saugus’ Karis Frankian is without a doubt the top female in the Foothill League this fall. Even though she ran the first mile with her six teammates, she made up a 200-meter deficit between Valencia High’s Maddie Dignadice and the rest of the field in the final two miles and went on to win by a staggering 25 seconds. The Foothill League’s biggest question, though, is who is No. 2? Dignadice finished second to Frankian at the league meet on Thursday and won her varsity race at the Bell-Jeff Invitational on Saturday, two very impressive feats; however, had Saugus senior Jenay Jauregui, an all-state honoree last fall, gone with the Vikings junior, who would of come out on top? Is Dignadice No. 2 in the Foothill League or did a fast-closing Jauregui just run out of room on Thursday? Well may have to wait till Foothill League No. 2 to find out. While Dignadice ran an impressive 17:22 for three miles this morning, Jauregui had something to celebrate as she finally broke her older sisters Beast record. The senior shattered the record by 56 seconds, touching the gate in an impressive 43:43, making her just the second woman to ever break the 44-minute barrier, setting a new school record and just 17 seconds shy of Shannon Murakami’s all-time course record of 43:26, set in 2010. Another Valencia star in Arianna Michaels had a sensational Foothill League varsity debut, finishing fourth at the league meet, while Golden Valley junior Chelsey Totten, the fastest returning runner from last year’s finals, had an off-day finishing fifth. After those five, the Saugus train begins with Katie Huntington, Tiffany West, Jordan McCall and Heidi Hoslet having finished 6-9 at the Foothill League meet two days ago. Emily McCarty, one of Saugus’ top runners last fall, had an off-day, finishing 15th in the varsity girls race on Thursday afternoon, pushing her out of the rankings in the 11th spot. Abigail Frankian, just a sophomore at Saugus, continued her brilliant and undefeated season, winning the frosh/soph race on Thursday by nearly two minutes, while Saugus’ Nina Sassano, the junior varsity winner on Thursday, and Golden Valley junior Abby Buckoff are just off the top ten rankings, sitting in spots No. 12 and No. 13.
1. Golden Valley (1)
2. Hart (2) / Saugus (3)
3. Canyon (4)
4. Valencia (5)
5. West Ranch (6)
1. Kristian Martinez – Golden Valley – Senior (1)
2. AJ Yarnell – Saugus – Junior (4)
3. Juan David Garcia – Golden Valley – Senior (2)
4. Sam Peckham – Hart – Senior (3)
5. Nolan Del Valle – Golden Valley – Junior (6)
6. Zach Wims – Canyon – Junior (10)
7. Austin O’Neil – Hart – Senior (5)
8. Aaron Nyugen – Golden Valley – Senior (NR)
9. Gabe Levy – Golden Valley – Senior (NR)
10. Daniel Tuit – Saugus – Senior (NR)
1. Saugus (1)
2. Valencia (2)
3. Canyon (5)
4. West Ranch (3)
5. Golden Valley (4)
6. Hart (6)
1. Karis Frankian – Saugus – Senior (1)
2. Jenay Jauregui – Saugus – Senior (2) / Maddie Dignadice – Valencia – Junior (3)
4. Chelsey Totten – Golden Valley – Junior (3)
5. Arianna Michaels – Valencia – Junior (NR)
6. Katie Huntington – Saugus – Junior (5)
7. Abigail Frankian – Saugus – Sophomore (8)
8. Jordan McCall – Saugus – Senior (9)
9. Tiffany West – Saugus – Junior (NR)
10. Heidi Hoslet – Saugus – Junior (7)
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