By Ryan Menzie
Signal Sports Writer
The Hart Indians came into the season as the top-ranked boys’ cross-country team in Division 2. The Indians lived up to the hype in dominating fashion, finishing first overall in the Foothill League despite being down their top runner, Jaden Wiley, for a majority of the season.
The Indians set out with the goal from the beginning of the season to make the podium at the state finals. The Indians would finish fifth overall in the CIF finals, good enough for them to qualify as the only team from the Foothill League, before ultimately finishing 11th overall with a team time of 1:22:14.
The Indians were led by their Foothill League All-League runners junior Owen Ahten and senior Carson DeSpain. Despite Wiley being out for the year, the Indians had 41 points, 15 points ahead of second place, with an average team time of 16:02:52. Ahten averaged a time of 15:32.58 throughout the season with DeSpain averaging 15:42.87.
Coming in second place in the Foothill League were the Valencia Vikings, who finished with a team average of 16:10:63. The second-place finish would be enough for the Vikings to qualify for the CIF finals, but they were unable to advance to the state finals after finishing 11th overall with a team time of 1:20:49.
“The main goal for the season was to get out of league,” said Vikings head coach Joel Estrada. “Once we got into the CIF finals, we felt the fatigue. I was happy with their performance for each race. We are focusing on track now but we are hoping to get some good incoming freshmen. Hopefully we will be on top for returners for cross-country next season as well.”
The Vikings were led by their All-League runners senior Joseph Pohlot and junior Tyler Chang. Pohlot averaged a time of 15:32:58 throughout the season with Chang averaging 15:45:20.
“It was a great time in a great season,” said Pohlot. “In the beginning of the season we didn’t think we’d make it as far as we did. We all surprised ourselves with how far we’ve come and we’re very happy with the results. We worked hard to make the All-League team so I’m happy that we were able to be recognized. My goal now is to try to break the school record in the mile for track.”
The Canyon Cowboys came in third place, scoring 82 points with a team time of 16:27:57. Jacob Brown led the way for the Cowboys, finishing with All-League honors and an average time of 15:50:12.
Fourth place in the Foothill League standings belongs to the West Ranch Wildcats, finishing just two points behind the Cowboys with 84 points and a team time of 16:32:64. The Wildcats were led by their All-League junior Billie Issa, with a time of 15:44:91.
The Saugus Centurions finished in sixth place with a time of 16:34.60 and scored 89 points. The Centurions were led by Jacob Fredericks, who finished first overall in the All-League standings with an average time of 15:24:24.
Finishing out the Foothill League in seventh place were the Golden Valley Grizzlies, who finished with an average time of 17:38:32, and the eighth-place Castaic Coyotes with a time of 19:23:74. The Grizzlies and Coyotes did not have any runners make the All-League team.