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Canyon cross country ends Saugus' run

Posted: September 26, 2013 9:31 p.m.
Updated: September 26, 2013 9:31 p.m.

Canyon's Natalie Rodriguez, center, and her teammates begin the girls varsity cross country race at Central park on Thursday.

The Canyon High girls cross country team continued its impressive season with an upset over seven-time defending Foothill League and state champion Saugus team.

Meanwhile, the Saugus High boys program continued where it left off last fall with a dominating win over the rest of the field.

The Cowboys shocked everyone in attendance at Central Park on Thursday at the season's first Foothill League meet with a narrow 35-37 victory over Saugus, led by Natalie Rodriguez’s stellar second-place finish in 19 minutes, 49 seconds.

Rodriguez missed last season due to injuries, but now looks to be on the rise in her senior year.

“(Rodriguez) has stayed healthy.” said Canyon head coach Paul Broneer. “Before, she would be stubborn and when she got a little dinged up she would just train through it. And now I think she’s figured out that that doesn’t work.”

Concepcion Flores finished fifth (20:09), Kyla Danforth crossed sixth (20:10), Shalyn Mabritto was eighth (20:17), and Rachel Rush came home in 14th (20:32) for Canyon.

“It’s a confidence builder,” Broneer said. “We’ve been telling them all along how good they are and they didn’t really believe us. But now they will.”

Saugus’ Samantha Ortega of Saugus won the race in 19:35, teammate Abigail Frankian was third in 19:58, and West Ranch’s Marisa Magsarili finished fourth in 20:04.

It is Saugus’ first league loss since the Foothill League Finals in 2005.

In the boys race, junior Brian Zabilski and senior Alex Pearson led Saugus to a convincing 26-73 triumph over West Ranch, an essential step toward a seventh league championship in eight years.

“This win is the first domino in what will hopefully become a chain of victories leading all the way up to the state meet,” said Zabilski, who finished first in 16:29.

Pearson finished second in 16:39, sophomore Ryan Tate was fourth in 16:48, junior Jordan Serrano placed eighth in 16:59, and senior Anthony Rosales rounded out Saugus’ scoring with an 11th-place finish in 17:00.

“We all did our jobs today, which was great, but we’re still missing key people like Billy Anthony and Ethan Walker,” said Zabilski. “I think once we get everyone healthy, our team will be unstoppable at any level.”

West Ranch and Valencia both have shots at their first CIF appearances in school history after finishing second and third, respectively, in the boys team competition.

Sophomore standout Tucker Welker led the Wildcats with a third-place finish (16:41), while senior Alex Allevato was the Vikings' top finisher in ninth (16:59).




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