By Ryan Posner and Haley Sawyer
Signal Staff Writers
It had been a while since Canyon cross country carried some clout in the Foothill League.
The likes of Saugus and West Ranch have made that difficult as of late.
There was, somewhat, a changing of the guard this season. Saugus and West Ranch were still top contenders – both made it all the way to the CIF State cross-country championships.
But Canyon advanced to the state championships as well, and even won the first Foothill League race of the year.
A bulk of the credit for putting Canyon back on the map goes to junior Ethan Danforth, the All-SCV Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year.
Danforth placed first at the first Foothill League meet, foreshadowing a superb season. He went on to place first at CIF-Southern Section finals and second at the CIF cross-country championships.
“I feel like we always had the potential to keep up with those top teams but we just didn’t put in the effort like them,” Danforth said. “I think we finally got to that point and the results showed it.”
For Danforth, the jump from sophomore to junior year involved some maturing, which translated to his running.
MORE ALL-SCV: Girls cross country / Girls golf / Girls tennis doubles / Girls tennis singles
“I feel like I can handle more,” Danforth said, “and I know what my limits are and when I can go beyond them. Every time I push myself, I try and push myself a little harder. That’s been the difference.”
Danforth overtook Elias Opsahl of Redlands East Valley at the CIF-SS finals, going from third to first in the final 400 meters. Understandably, that was Danforth’s favorite memory from his breakout season.
“Not just for me but for the coaches too,” Danforth said. “Seeing their reaction was priceless. It was one of those things where I didn’t really realize what I did until a couple days later.”
Opsahl finished first at the state race, though, beating Danforth by just under three seconds. Danforth’s time of 15 minutes 19.7 seconds set a Canyon record for the CIF State race, topping the mark of Dave Hartman (14:51.1, 1990).
Danforth followed that by finishing 14th in the seeded race at the Footlocker Western Regionals at Mt. SAC. A five-kilometer race, his time converted to 14:54 for the traditional 2.9-mile Mt. SAC Course, which set another school record.
“It’s not always the success,” Danforth said. “It’s about doing it with this team. That’s been the best part.”
Since tearing up this year’s cross country postseason, collegiate letters have begun to pour in. Danforth hopes to continue running at the next level and that possibility is looking brighter with every race.
He’ll have a few more school records to break, though, before he gets to that point.
All-SCV boys cross country team
Preston Pope, West Ranch, Senior
Pope came in first at the Foothill League finals, setting a new course record at Central Park with a time of 15:01.35. At the CIF-SS finals, he finished fourth at 15:02.8 and at the CIF State championships, he finished 21st at 15:49.9.
Isaiah Seidman, West Ranch, Junior
Seidman was a top runner for the Wildcats and was almost always competing with Preston Pope. He finished second at league finals, clocking 15:02.10 and second at the Division 2 CIF-SS finals – both times hot on Pope’s trail. Seidman finished seventh in Division 2 at the state level (15:29.8), where West Ranch finished sixth as a team.
Evan Bates, West Ranch, Junior
Bates has a bright senior year ahead of him after finishing in fourth at the Foothill League finals (15:04.97). He came in 12th in Division 2 at the CIF-SS finals and 37th at the CIF State championships as well.
Britain Reynolds, Valencia, Senior
Reynolds has come a long way since joining the Vikings cross country team with no experience as a freshman. His 15:19.32 time was good enough for fifth place at league finals and he went on to finish 18th in the Division 1 race at the CIF-SS finals at 15:01.4.
Boon Andrews, Saugus, Senior
The Centurions didn’t have a front runner this season, but Andrews managed to stand above the rest of his teammates. He was the first Saugus finisher at the CIF State championships and had a 24th-place finish overall. As a team, Saugus came in third place at the state level. Andrews was consistently a top finisher for the Cents throughout league, too.