Through four races, Canyon High School cross-country runner Angelee Berganio has been faced with many obstacles to begin the 2019 cross-country season.
Battling the flu a couple of times to begin the school year, Berganio never once used her condition as an excuse and picked up four top 10 finishes along the way, culminating in a first-place finish in 19 minutes, 36 seconds at the three-mile Kenny Staub/John Barnes Invitational hosted by Crescenta Valley High School at Crescenta Valley Park on Saturday.
”Her perseverance is what sets her apart from a lot of other girls,” said Canyon head coach George Velarde. “She’s a grinder. That’s one of her greatest qualities and she’s doing everything possible to make this team the best. She’s one of our team captains, a senior and is a very driven girl. She puts the team first and as a coaching staff, we are in awe of her.”
Beginning the season with a seventh-place finish at the two-mile Hoka One-One 2 Mile Postal, the Canyon senior girls runner followed it up with a two-mile personal record a week later at the Fastback Invitational in 12:02.07 for sixth place.
The impressive start to the 2019 cross-country season continued as Berganio set a new personal record, finishing sixth in the three-mile Asics/Cool Breeze Invite in 18:09.3 and in Foothill League Meet No.1 she recorded her third consecutive sixth-place finish ahead of the Kenny Staub/John Barnes Invitational.
Berganio had the best finish out of the Cowboys girls runners while Emily Cruz followed in eighth place (20:57), Melissa Duncan 12th place (21:13) and Bryanna Jackson 20th (22:45).
Although Canyon had four girls place individually amongst the top 20, the team was ineligible to place as a team because their fifth runner dropped out of the race.
The Grizzlies girls team, however, finished as the runner-up behind the host Crescenta Valley and were led by Jennifer Santiago’s seventh-place time in 20:54.
Joellen Bragasin (21:00) and Dominique Rivera (21:13) finished ninth and 11th, respectively. Kennedy Hinson (21:54) and Natalie Santiago (22:34) also finished inside the top 20 girls runners.
“I was really impressed with them being able to come back a couple of days after Foothill League Meet No. 1 and really stepped up,” said Golden Valley head coach Wes Hinson. “I know they weren’t feeling the greatest that day, but they rose to the challenge and put forth a gutsy effort there and raced really well.”
Led by a pair of juniors, the Canyon boys team picked up a third-place finish as a team and similar to the girls team, had four runners finish 20th or better.
Kyle Stevens (16:31:25) and Jayson Velarde (17:13.41) finished fifth and 14th, respectively.
Senior Frank Lofton came in 16th place in 17:25.38 and Fernando Osorio finished 20th in 17:51.15. Nicholas Abrot slotted into 45th place overall.
The Grizzlies boys team, who were without their best runner, Antonio Abrego, ran to sixth place as a team as all five of their runners finished 44th or better with junior Kevin Souza finishing in 24th place (18:13.72).
Sophomore Daniel Ramos came in 26th (18:22.06) and Grant Dougherty in 29th place (18:34.91).
Brennen Callahan, Caleb Horne and Mauricio Deguchi finished 41st, 42nd and 44th, respectively to cap the Foothill League runners finishes.
“They ran about what I thought they were going to run, honestly. They just need to rest up a little bit,” Hinson said. “I think they need to be a little more aggressive going in this coming Saturday because I think the competition will be a little stiffer than at Kenny Staub.”
Both teams have a chance to improve their standings and individual finishes at The Master’s University Cross-Country Invitational, which will be held at The Master’s University on Saturday.
“We have six weeks left, that’s all we have left until league finals,” Velarde said. “Now we start tweaking and focusing on our game plan and executing it. That’s now going to be the theme for the rest of the season.”
Trinity girls cross-country win Heritage League Meet No. 1
The Trinity girls cross-country team began the 2019 Heritage League cross-country season in stride, picking up a team win behind Eva Lintereur’s fourth-place finish in 23:12.
Chase Critser (19:23) and Chapman Wolf (19:26) led the Knights’ boys team to a third-place finish, coming in 10th and 11th overall.