Two teams continued to add to their legacies at the Foothill League finals Thursday, while another is hoping to start one of its own.
The Saugus High girls won their 11th consecutive league title and the West Ranch High boys secured their second straight title in program history at Central Park.
But it was the Valencia High boys team that was the buzz of the finals as it placed three runners in the top 10 for a second-place team finish — the highest in program history — and clinched a spot in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 prelims for just second time in the school’s 23-year history.
“I knew we would get top three,” said Britain Reynolds, who led Valencia as he finished third, covering the 3-mile course in 16 minutes, 11.94 seconds. “I teared up when the team got together and celebrated. It was such a great moment. It was surreal.”
The Vikings, who also advanced to the prelims in 2013, got a seventh-place finish from Tanay Suryavanshi (16:24.41) and an eighth-place finish from Gage Davenport (16:26.92).
“I knew as a team we could get (to the prelims),” Davenport said. “We have been working hard all season and it’s starting to pay off. I’m pretty confident we can go far.”
Sebastian Holding finished 14th (16:40.99) and Spencer Makar placed 22nd (17:02.98) as Valencia’s No. 4 and 5 scoring runners.
West Ranch’s Jack Arnold led the Wildcats to back-to-back league titles with a 35-54 win over Valencia.
Arnold won the individual title as he clocked 16:07.61, followed by teammate Preston Pope at 16:11.03.
“We’re building a lot of momentum for the future,” Arnold said. “I think, right now, we have a lot of momentum heading into the postseason. We’re looking to do great things in (Southern Section Prelims/Finals) and state.”
Justin Sherfey finished fifth (16:21.91), Isaiah Seidman was 10th (16:33.97) and Jake
Carver was 17th (16:52.25) for West Ranch.
“Finishing seventh at state last year was a very humbling experience for us,” Arnold said. “We’ve got to keep working hard, we’ve got to keep putting in the miles and keep doing the little things until the very end.”
Boon Andrews clocked 16:16.96 to lead Saugus, which finished third with 58 points.
“We did what we set out to do and close the gap between us and West Ranch,” Andrews said. “I’m happy with the results today and we’re looking forward to next week.”
Canyon High’s Ethan Danforth earned an individual berth at the Division 2 prelims as he finished sixth at 16:22.55.
The Saugus girls team continued its dominance, winning the league title with a 27-60 win over West Ranch.
Kaylee Thompson won the girls individual title as she clocked 17:41.64, followed by teammate Mariah Castillo at 17:51.92 for the Centurions, who placed all five scoring runners in the top 10.
“I saw Mariah wasn’t running her best today so I wanted to help out and push her,” Thompson said. “I also wanted to redeem myself from last year where I came close to winning league. It’s my last year and I have been wanting it for four years. I just went for it today.”
Freshman Kaela Berretta was sixth (18:51.51), Jacqueline Cascione finished eighth (18:52.68) and Savannah Sehenuk placed 10th (19:02.08) to round out the scoring runners for Saugus.
Sophia Hoelzel led West Ranch as she clocked 18:49.39 to finish fourth, as the Wildcats advanced to the Division 1 prelims.
“We really wanted to hold on to second place,” Hoelzel said. “Now, we’re really focused on prelims and finals and potentially state.”
Valencia’s Hailey Kirsch and Canyon’s Yee-Lynn Wong finished third and fifth respectively to earn a individual berths to the Division 1 and 2 prelims.
“I was so happy to finish I didn’t have a chance to process everything when I crossed the finish line,” said Wong, who didn’t finish higher than 12th at the previous two league meets. “It’s my senior year and I wanted to leave all out on the course. I wanted to do my best.”
Kirsch clocked 18:13.13 as she finished third in all three league meets this season.
“I think coming in as freshman and running varsity, I exceeded my personal expectations,” Kirsch said. “I’m really excited to be able to make it to CIF prelims. It was a little nerve-racking today because a lot was at stake in this race.”
Hart’s Lucy Yoshioka clocked 18:51.59 to finish seventh and teammate Anely Avila was ninth at 19:02.08 to round out the top 10.