By Ryan Menzie
Signal Sports Writer
the Hart Indians and Saugus Centurions boys’ cross-country teams competed Saturday in the Clovis Invitational at Woodward Park in Clovis, which featured 142 teams from across the state.
The course is also home to the state meet at the end of the season, so the teams were able to use the meet as extra practice before their final meet.
“We had some really strong individual performances out there,” said Indians head coach Darren James. “For the most part it was good experience for us. The experience on this course before the state meet was what the whole meet was about for us. This was really just trying to learn how to run well on a fixed stage no matter what’s going on around us. We just need to continue to have good individual development moving forward.”
The Indians competed in the championship boys’ varsity run, which is the group for the very best teams based on races they have run earlier this year, and finished in 12th place out of 24 qualified teams and were led by Owen Ahten, who finished 31st overall with a time of 15:39.9. Paul Mangione came in 51st overall with a time of 15:53.3 and Carson DeSpain came in 76th overall with a time of 16:05.4.
The Indians ran some of the fastest times in school history for cross-country in one of the most competitive races in California this year.
“It was very fun, especially in a meet where we got to travel to Northern California,” said Ahten. “I told myself mentally the work was all there. I knew I could run a fast time and I knew I had to step up because we were missing Jaden (Wiley). Mental preparation for the next meet is the most important thing for us and knowing that I can pull my team along. When we push together, we can really hit it hard.”
The Centurions competed in the boys’ varsity x-large race, which is a group based on the size of the schools, and finished in 12th place out of the 28 qualified teams. The Centurions were led by Jake Fredericks, who finished in 12th place overall with a time of 15:59.9. Gavin Dion finished 39th overall with a time of 16:43.8 and Lleyton Chan finished 40th overall with a time of 16:44.4.
The next cross-country meet is scheduled Saturday, Oct. 23, at the Mt. SAC Invitational at Mt. SAC. The starting race time is yet to be determined as of the publication of this story.