By Ryan Menzie
Signal Sports Writer
The West Ranch Wildcats girls’ cross-country team was one of the few teams in the Foothill League to be missing key players due to injury during Thursday’s meet, according to Saugus Centurions head coach Kevin Berns. The Centurions took advantage and took the top spot ahead of the Wildcats.
“West Ranch is a very good team,” said Berns. “That was the difference in the race but it also comes down to the girls understanding we all have a job to do. If we do our jobs good things will happen. From Bella (Duarte) all the way to our seventh runner, it’s an awesome group to be with. They understand what cross country means to Saugus high School.”
The Centurions were led by their top runner Duarte, who finished first among all girls with a time of 17:48.00. Not too far behind for the Centurions was Brooklyn Bendrat, who finished in third place with a time of 18:56.44.
“I don’t really know what to say,” said Duarte when asked about what it means to finish in first place. “It was a great experience but it’s not the end-all, be-all. I saw that our team worked very hard and it was a big eye opener for us. I’m really excited for the rest of the season to come.”
Bendrat also was humbled from the meet and did not expect to finish in the top three with Duarte
“I’m hoping to keep improving my fitness and move up in the races,” said Bendrat. “In order to get there, I just need to keep doing what I’ve been doing such as eating and sleeping right. The meet showed us that we definitely put ourselves in a good position to do great things. There is still a lot of room to improve and I’m looking forward to working hard and outwork our competition.”
Rounding out the top five for the girls were Wildcat Hayden Washington finishing in second place with a time of 18:21.44, Viking Kamryn Grossman finishing fourth with a time of 19:03.69 and Castaic Coyotes’ Kassidy B. Vargas finishing fifth with a time of 19:33.75.
The next Foothill League matchup is scheduled to be at the Palos Verdes Invitational on Friday at Palos Verdes. The time is still waiting to be determined.