Hart boys’ cross-country qualifies for CIF finals; Saugus falls short

The Hart boys cross-country takeoff at the CIF preliminaries at MT SAC. Courtesy of John Ahart

By Ryan Menzie 

Signal Sports Writer  

The Hart Indians boys’ cross-country team continued its dominance throughout the season, finishing ranked third overall in Division 2 and now looking to the CIF finals as their true test of the season.  

“Now we have to race,” said Indians head coach Darren James. “It’s an important race. We are ranked third so we have a fair amount of confidence, but other teams at this point of the season are getting really good. We don’t want to take it for granted, but we don’t have to do anything extraordinary. We have to keep running the way we’ve been running all season long and we can’t back off this weekend.” 

Despite resting three of their runners, the Indians qualified with a team time of 1:23:47 in the boys Division 2 No. 3 heat, which was good enough for third overall. The Indians now will have to finish in the top seven out of the 16 teams in the CIF finals in order to compete at the state finals.  

“We were trying to rest our guys that had been running all season long,” said James. “We probably could have ran about three minutes faster but we knew the finals were more important for us.”  

The Indians were led by Carson DeSpain, who finished 10th overall with a time of 16:24.3. Owen Ahten finished 16th overall with a time of 16:39.0 and Paul Mangione finished 18th overall with a time of 16:46.2.  

The Saugus Centurions competed in the boys Division 1 No. 4 heat, but were unable to qualify for a team time and only had one runner, Jacob Fredericks, finish with a qualifying time. Fredericks finished seventh overall with a time of 15:57.4. The Centurions will not compete in the CIF finals. 

The CIF finals will take place on Saturday at Mt. San Antonio College with times determined based on which heat the teams will be competing in.  

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