In this week’s CIF-Southern Section cross country polls for both boys and girls, the Foothill League teams didn’t move an inch.
The West Ranch boys remain at No. 3 in Division 2, while Saugus High stayed put at No. 8 in the same division. As for the girls, West Ranch is at No. 10 again and Saugus is at No. 2.
But that’s not such a bad thing, at least for Saugus.
“We don’t pay too much attention to the rankings,” said Saugus coach Rene Paragas. “We’re just focused on the end of the season and the ultimate goal is that championship time. The rankings have no bearing on seeding or placing. They’re just for fun.”
Although the Saugus boys are in the bottom half of the rankings, they had a good showing this past Saturday, placing first at the Staub/Barnes Cross Country Invitational at Crescenta Valley Park with a total time of 1 hour, 22 minutes, 11.70 seconds.
West Ranch, which used only a partial varsity lineup, finished eighth in the meet.
Saugus had all runners finish in the top 16. Boon Andrews, who is in his first year with the team after transferring from Illinois, finished second out of 65 runners with a time of 16:04.91.
“He has been amazing,” said Paragas of Andrews. “He’s a super hard worker, dedicated, mentally strong, a leader. You can’t come up with enough superlatives to describe his character.”
The Centurion girls, who were ranked first in Division 2 earlier in the season, are embracing their No. 2 spot.
“I like to not be ranked No. 1. I prefer to not be the No. 1 target,” Paragas said. “We probably are anyway, but I like to be under ranked. For us, we have a formula of what gets us to the top, and we’re focused on following that plan.”
The team finished first at the Staub/Barnes Invitational, with Mariah Castillo and Kaylee Thompson leading the way in first and second place, respectively, with times of 18:08.53 and 18:23.18. West Ranch finished ninth.
Although Paragas was happy with the results, he said that there were obstacles to running optimum times.
“They ran very fast times on that course despite some congestion on the course,” he said. “They run sometimes three different races at the same time. When Mariah came to finish, she had to stop and wait for a race that was finishing.”
All six Foothill League teams found themselves in the top ten of their respective divisions this week.
Saugus had the highest ranking, pulling in at No. 2 in Division 6. The Cents are the only undefeated team in the league after going a perfect 5-0 in preleague play.
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Canyon followed close behind at No. 3 in Division 6. The Cowboys are 4-1 and on a four-game win streak after defeating Simi Valley 48-13 two weeks ago. The team is coming off of a bye week.
Golden Valley (4-1) is also ranked third in Division 7. It’s the team’s second consecutive week at that spot.
Hart (4-1) jumped up from last week’s No. 10 spot to No. 7 in Division 3 this week. Last Friday, Hart defeated Ventura 42-7 in their non-league finale.
West Ranch (3-2) made its first appearance in the polls with a No. 9 ranking in Division 9. Valencia came in at No. 10 in Division 2.
West Ranch is ranked sixth for the second week in a row in the Division 3 standings. The Wildcats are undefeated in league play with a record of 5-0 and are 18-7-1 overall.
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In Division 10, Albert Einstein Academy fell from the No. 5 spot to No. 7. Santa Clarita Christian School dropped one spot from No. 7 to No. 8 in Division 9.
Trinity couldn’t crack the top ten this week. The Knights were No. 8 last week in Division 9.