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Saugus wins boys, girls XC titles

Valencia boys earn first CIF berth in school history

Posted: November 7, 2013 11:10 p.m.
Updated: November 7, 2013 11:10 p.m.

Saugus junior Brian Zabilski, left, holds off Canyon's Caleb McClain during Thursday's race at Central Park.

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The Saugus boys cross country team is starting to sound like its girls counterparts.

Both the boys and girls teams won individual and team Foothill League championships at the final league meet on Thursday at Central Park.

Afterward, both teams were talking about this simply serving as one step on the way to a potential state title run.

“It felt great and all, but the real target is the state meet at the end,” said Saugus junior Brian Zabilski, the boys varsity individual champion.

He won all three Foothill meets, and he won Thursday in a course-record time of 15 minutes, 13.72 seconds after distancing himself from second-place finisher and Canyon junior Caleb McClain (15:27.35).

Zabilski was one of three Saugus Centurions who finished in the top four and four in the top 10 to help the Centurions beat second-place West Ranch 33-61.

The Saugus girls won by an even bigger margin, 26-57 over Canyon, placing all five scoring runners in the top 10.

Saugus junior Samantha Ortega won the race in 17:22.25.

That makes eight straight league championships for Saugus, which is also trying for an eighth state title in a row. The boys team is still looking for its first state crown after finishing second last year in CIF Division II.

For Ortega, it was her fifth consecutive victory at a league meet dating back to last year, and it was her second straight individual Foothill title.

She pushed the pace early and led by a big margin from start to finish, much like she’s done all season.

Coming into the day, the Saugus and Canyon girls were tied for first place in league after Canyon edged Saugus in the first Foothill meet.

“(Our goal was) to come and prove to ourselves and everyone that we were still that team we’ve been before,” Ortega said.

Canyon settled for second place in the team standings, helped by a second place individual finish by senior Natalie Rodriguez in 17:54.82.

The Valencia girls were the third place finisher on Thursday, which put it into a tie with West Ranch in the overall standings.

Because it won at the league finals, Valencia won the tiebreaker for third place. Both teams qualify for the CIF-Southern Section prelims on Nov. 16.

Valencia’s top finisher was freshman Kaylee Thompson with a sixth-place time of 18:27.78 and West Ranch was led by Marisa Magsarili’s eight-place mark of 18:42.75.

Golden Valley finished fifth and Hart was sixth to round out the girls final standings.

Individually, Saugus sophomore Ashley Heys was third in 18:12.03, Canyon’s Kyla Danforth was fourth in 18:22.61 and Sabrina Janes, who missed the first league meet with an injury, was fifth in 18:24.39.

One of the bigger surprises of the year has been the performance of the Valencia boys team, which finished third in league to earn its first postseason berth in the 20-year history of the program.

This was coming off a last-place finish in league a year ago.

“As frustrating as last year was, this year was that much more rewarding,” said Valencia head coach Jeff Gilkey.

Ian Hurst paced Valencia’s runners by taking ninth place in 16:15.58 as Valencia edged West Ranch by just two points in the race.

As a result, Saugus, West Ranch and Valencia are the automatic CIF qualifying teams.

Runners who finish top six individually can qualify for CIF prelims regardless of team results.

That puts McClain and Golden Valley’s Arnold Bautista (sixth, 15:53.02) into the postseason. No girls qualified as individuals.

Hart's Ryan Ortiz (seventh, 15:59.12) just missed the CIF qualifying mark.

McClain enjoyed his best finish of the three league meets on Thursday after coming in at sixth and third, respectively in the league meets one and two.

The junior led the race early and kept pace with Zabilski until the last mile.

“This was a pretty good race,” McClain said. “I’ve improved since league one and two in time and in place. And I just wanted to get better for CIF.”

After Zabilski and McClain, Saugus seniors Alex Pearson (15:42.08) and Ethan Walker (15:45.06) took third and fourth and West Ranch sophomore Tucker Welker was fifth in 15:47.90.

“We just wanted to stay second,” Welker said of the race. “There’s definitely room for improvement.”

In the final boys team standings, Hart is fourth, Golden Valley fifth and Canyon sixth.




1. Saugus*

2. West Ranch*

3. Valencia*

4. Hart

5. Golden Valley

6. Canyon



1. Saugus*

2. Canyon*

T3. Valencia*#

T3. West Ranch*

5. Golden Valley

6. Hart

*qualified for CIF-SS prelims

#won the tiebreaker for third place in league standings



1 Brian Zabilski, Saugus, 15:13.72

2 Caleb McClain, Canyon, 15:27.35

3 Alex Pearson, Saugus, 15:42.08

4 Ethan Walker, Saugus, 15:45.06

5 Tucker Welker, West Ranch, 15:47.90

6 Arnold Bautista, Golden Valley, 15:53.02

7 Ryan Ortiz, Hart, 15:59.12

8 Ashton Garcia, West Ranch, 16:05.23

9 Ian Hurst, Valencia, 16:15.58

10 Jordan Serrano, Saugus, 16:19.94


1 Samantha Ortega, Saugus, 17:22.25

2 Natalie Rodriguez, Canyon, 17:54.82

3 Ashley Heys, Saugus, 18:12.03

4 Kyla Danforth, Canyon, 18:22.61

5 Sabrina Janes, Saugus, 18:24.39

6 Kaylee Thompson, Valencia, 18:27.78

7 Jessica Ruiz, Saugus, 18:37.51

8 Marisa Magsarili, West Ranch, 18:42.75

9 Taylor Welker, West Ranch, 18:49.15

10 Mackinzie Moncibais-Kasa, Saugus, 18:51.43


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