With cross-country season right around the corner, Foothill League teams like Canyon are hitting the ground running, literally, proving why they are considered one of the fastest high school teams around at the Hoka One One Postal Nationals at Buena High School on Saturday.
Eight teams participated in the meet with schools like Westlake, Oaks Christian and Foothill Tech sending some of their fastest runners, but at the end, both Canyon boys and girls teams took home first place.
“We wanted this race to be more for the development of our kids,” said Canyon cross-country head coach George Velarde. “We have been training hard all summer and wanted to get a two-mile time to see where everyone was at and the kids didn’t foil, they gave us a pretty darn good performance.
“Yeah, definitely not a statement, we have a long way to go. I just had a talk with the team a couple days ago and I told them that race doesn’t do anything. We have a lot of improvements to make come October. Nice race, but it’s time to move on.”
The girls team made it a point to run as a pack throughout the race, something that the Cowboys will be focusing on this season, as six of their runners finished with the top 15 girls runners.
Canyon junior Chandler Bietsch had the best finish among the Cowboys girls runners, finishing in fourth place with a time of 12 minutes, 6.03 seconds and Kayla Young followed in fifth place in 12:07.05.
Leading throughout the whole race was Angelee Berganio, who had just dealt with the flu, and she slotted in seventh place (12:09.62) and Milca Osorio in eighth place (12:10.23).
“(Berganio) unfortunately, has been sick for the last two weeks, so didn’t have the best performance, and we knew that going into the race,” Velarde said. “We didn’t know what she was going to give us, but she took it upon herself of leading the entire race of the girls pack. It wasn’t until he last 50-meters that the girls passed her up.”
Boys runner senior Freddy DeAnda looks ready to lead the Cowboys boys team after a first-place finish in 9:46.41 and with lessons learned from his former teammate Ethan Danforth.
“Freddy unfortunately has been in the shadow of Ethan, in a good way, but we’re hoping that everything that Ethan has gone through over the past few years has rubbed off on Freddy,” Velarde said. “This is his year, he is a senior, he has been pretty injury free this summer and we are hoping he will take that next step.”
Kyle Stevens came in third place (9:50.46) and Frank Lofton came in sixth place (10:00.37) and will be the top boys runners entering the season.
“Last year, everyone forgot that Kyle was only a sophomore and now that he’s a junior, he’s developing into his own,” Velarde said. “With Frank Lofton, we have three front-runners, but then after that we have another pack. I’m very pleased with what’s happening right now. Obviously, we have a long way to go, but it’s just a nice, good start to the season.