Postseason continues at CIF-SS finals for SCV cross-country runners

By Diego Marquez

Signal Staff Writer

The cross-country postseason continues today as numerous Foothill League girls and boys runners, as well as a few individual runners, take to Riverside Cross-Country Course for the CIF-Southern Section cross-country finals at 7:45 a.m. today.

The West Ranch boys cross-country team, led by the boys Foothill League runner of the Year, Hunter Romine, makes an appearance in the Division 1 finals.

Dylan Gatua, Brandon Arana, Felix Breitbach, Johnathan Mendoza, Sean Gatua and Barton Pida also make the trip to the finals.

The Hart boys team makes the first appearance in the CIF-SS Division 2 finals since 2011 and have a strong pack of young, but tested runners. 

Junior runner Joseph Ahart pairs up with sophomore Jaden Wiley to lead the No. 15th ranked boys Indians team in the Division 2 race after a 16th-place finish overall in the prelims a week ago.

“We were ranked 15th going in and I think we ran an 8 out of 10, which is exciting for us because we haven’t been to CIF finals since 2011, I think,” said Hart head coach Darren James. “That means that going into finals we have some upside and have some room to improve between No. 2 and No. 3 and No. 4 and No. 5. 

“If we can fill those gaps, we can make up almost a minute off our team time. I think we are probably a year out from getting to state, but we don’t graduate anyone from this group so it’s a great experience.” 

Jason Lucero, Carson DeSpain, Zach Chan, Austin Rueff and Davis Bos roundup the Hart boys team selections.

Canyon’s Kyle Stevens is the only Cowboys boys runner to advance to the finals with a 26th-place finish in Division 2 prelims.

West Ranch’s Abigail Welch and Valencia’s Hailey Kirsch also advance as the only individual girls runners for their schools in the Division 1 finals.

The Canyon girls team pushed through to the finals as Kayla Young, Angelee Berganio and Milca Osorio all finished inside the top 50 in their respective heat and inside the top 105 girls runners in Division 2 at the CIF-SS prelims.

Cowboys Reagan Evans, Chandler Bietsch, Emily Cruz and Melissa Duncan join their teammates after an 18th-place finish in prelims.

The Trinity Classical Academy girls team, comprised of Eva Lintereur, Emma Cunningham, Karis Richardson, Kate Stimson, Catie Robertson, Elianne Wang and Megan Perry, qualified for the Division 5 finals after finishing 27th overall at prelims.

Both the Saugus boys and girls teams automatically advanced to the CIF-SS Division 1 finals after the events that occurred at Saugus High School a little over a week ago.

Blake Gallardo, Ryan Watkins, Kade Bulandi, Aidan Soto, Tyler Lentz, Nicholas Sciole and Lucas Bautista make up the Centurions’ boys team.

Hannah Fredericks, Isabella Duarte, Hailey Rutter, Danielle Salcedo, Ronnie Jones, Kaela Berretta and Sophia Gannon comprise the 14th consecutive Foothill League girls championship team.

“I think we are going to go out there and try our best and I know our best will be really great,” Fredericks said.

“Obviously, the recent events kind of did take a toll on us, but we have been shown so much support from the community and the teams around that we just want to go out there, try our best and do really well.” 

Finals begin at 7:45 a.m. at Riverside Cross-Country Course today.

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