By Ryan Menzie
Signal Sports Writer
The 3-mile Foothill League championship meet was held at Central Park on Saturday with the Hart Indians boys finishing first overall, 15 points ahead of the Valencia Vikings. The Indians, who are currently ranked third in Division 2, won the meet handily despite sitting out two of their runners.
“It was just a business trip for us,” said Indians head coach Darren James. “We just wanted to advance through with the win. We’re really focused on the state meet and since the beginning of the season we wanted to make the podium. Our training has been difficult because we have been focusing on the state meet. It’s been a while since we won the Foothill League championship so we were excited.”
In a race that consisted of 46 runners, the Indians were led by Owen Ahten, who finished with a time of 15:32:68, good enough for second overall. Carson DeSpain finished with a time of 15:42.84, finishing fourth overall, and Zachary Chan finished with a time of 16:13.51 to finish 10th overall. The Indians finished with a time of 16:23.05 from their top five runners, 20 seconds ahead of the Vikings’ final qualified runner.
“It feels good, me and my team have been working a really long time for this moment,” said Despain. “It was a hard year during quarantine without a cross-country scene. It’s been great. We’ve been working so hard and we’re finally showing our results. Prior to Saturday, I had never gone out in front before so towards the last mile I tried to get up to the rest of the group. I got the kick in the end to get placement. I told my coach I would try something new today and that’s what I did.”
The Vikings finished with 56 points and were led by Joseph Pohlot, who finished with a time of 15:42.68, good enough for third overall. Tyler Chang finished sixth overall with a time of 15:45.20 and Ayden Buchanan finished ninth overall with a time of 16:01.68.
“The runners performed amazingly,” said Vikings head coach Joel Estrada. “Our goal was to try to beat Hart. We knew this season was about trying to get to their potential. Seeing their improvement and seeing their results every week was something special to watch. The new goal now is to get as many teams as we can at the state meet.”
The Canyon Cowboys finished third overall as a team with 82 points, two points ahead of the West Ranch Wildcats. The Cowboys were led by Jacob Brown (seventh overall) with a time of 15:50.12 and Mason Williams (eighth overall) with a time of 15:52.50. The Wildcats finished fourth overall and were led by Billie Issa with a time of 15:44.91, good enough for fifth overall.
The Saugus Centurions finished fifth with 89 points but were led by the No. 1 runner in the meet, Jacob Fredericks. Fredericks finished with a time of 15:24.24.
“Jacob did an incredible job,” said Centurions head coach Kevin Berns. “He’s been working hard all season. For a junior to win the league title, it’s a huge accomplishment. He lives the runner’s life.”
The Golden Valley Grizzlies finished in sixth place with 167 points and were led by Jack Eaton with a time of 16:59.75. The Castaic Coyotes finished in seventh place with 194 points and were led by Nicholas C. Raigosa with a time of 16:44.24.
The next meet is the CIF preliminaries scheduled for Friday, Nov. 12, at Mt. San Antonio College. The time is still to be determined.