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Foothill shines at Mt. SAC

Five teams and one individual will keep running after a strong showing at CIF Prelims

Posted: November 14, 2009 11:56 p.m.
Updated: November 15, 2009 4:30 a.m.

WALNUT — The Foothill League has a reputation as one of the best cross country leagues in the state of California.

After Saturday’s CIF-Southern Section Prelims, it’s easy to see why.

Five Foothill League teams and one individual runner qualified for next week’s sectional finals Saturday at Mt. San Antonio College, led by the Saugus girls and Golden Valley boys, each winning their individual heats.

The Saugus boys also qualified by finishing in the top four of their heat, as did the Canyon boys and West Ranch girls.

Hart’s Sam Peckham ran as an individual and advanced as one of the top six runners in his heat.

Saugus junior and defending CIF State Division II individual champion Kaylin Mahoney breezed her way to a first-place finish with a time of 17 minutes, 55 seconds, and fellow junior Danielle Hernando was second in the Division II heat at 18:08.

Several of Saugus’ top runners got a break from competition Saturday, and others stepped up.

Sophomore Emily McCarty posted a time of 18:19 and finished sixth, and senior Amber Murakami was right behind her at 18:30 to give the Centurions four of the top seven runners.

Saugus’ other scorer was sophomore Jenay Jauregui, who finished 17th at 19:25.

While most teams are at prelims to qualify for the finals, Saugus head coach Rene Paragas said there were additional motivations for his team.

“You can use prelims for certain things,” he said. “Murakami needed another race (while still recovering from injury). (Karis) Frankian, (Stephanie) Bulder and (Merissa) Kado needed a break. McCarty ran a huge race. I know I need to get younger girls some experience.”

The Centurions’ team time was 1 hour, 32 minutes, 17 seconds, and McCarty’s performance might have landed her a spot in the lineup at the CIF-SS finals.

The Golden Valley boys demonstrated that kind of depth, too.

Grizzlies senior and Foothill League champion Seth Totten finished second in his team’s heat with a time of 15:16, but Golden Valley also had top-12 finishes from sophomore Kristian Martinez (fourth at 15:51), senior Avery McDougal (sixth at 16:00), sophomore Danny Carrillo (ninth at 16:06) and freshman Nolan DelValle (11th at 16:07).

The result was the best time of any Division III boys team, a mark of 1:19:20 that was a minute better than the next-closest time.

“We could have snuck into the finals, but we’re happy with the way we ran,” said Golden Valley co-head coach Rob Evans.

McDougal said the bunching of Golden Valley runners at the top of the heat was no accident.

“We just really packed it up,” he said. “That’s how we succeeded today.”

Canyon’s boys finished third in their Division II heat, just three points behind Valencia of Placentia with a team time of 1:21:15.

Canyon senior Tommy McGuan was the team’s top finisher with a sixth-place time of 15:52. Junior Timothy Gonzales was 15th at 16:11, senior Michel Norris was 18th at 16:17, senior Chris Low was 22nd at 16:21 and senior Tyler Tockstein was 36th at 16:34.

The Canyon girls were not as fortunate as the boys, finishing fifth in their heat and missing out on qualifying for the CIF-SS finals.

Senior Alyssa Selve had the team’s top time, a seventh-place mark of 18:29. Senior Hayley Parkinson, who had been battling an injury all season, was the team’s last scorer with a time of 20:13.

“She’s had no training except on a bike,” said Canyon head coach Paul Broneer. “To come back like that is pretty courageous.

“I’m pleased with both teams. If you would have told us we would have done this well last summer, we would have laughed out loud.”

The Foothill League champion Saugus boys weathered some adversity of their own to qualify for the Division II finals. The Centurions finished fourth in their heat with a time of 1:21:43, despite having one regular runner out and another well below 100 percent.

“It’s almost like another chapter in this season,” Paragas said. “We’re resilient. Other guys stepped up.”
Junior Robert Pion was ninth with a time of 15:51, and junior Logan Smith was three spots behind him with a time of 16:00.

Junior A.J. Hebert was 21st with a time of 16:23, senior Alec Nelson was 33rd with a time of 16:44 and junior Alan Gately finished 34th at 16:45.

The West Ranch girls finished second in their Division II heat behind state powerhouse Mira Costa with a team time of 1:36:07.

Sophomore Ashley Welker and senior Bailey Miller each finished with a time of 18:18 and went fourth and fifth, respectively. Junior Jennifer Owen wound up 13th with a time of 19:11, while sophomore Samantha Phillips finished 40th at 20:09 despite suffering from illness for most of the week.

West Ranch head coach Randy Smith has said all along that if the Wildcats want to make the CIF State Division II meet, the depth of his team would have to improve.

“Our fifth girl today was Marissa,” Smith said. “She improved a little bit, but we need another 30 seconds out of her or (Kendahl) Waalk. They’ve got to be under 20 minutes.”

Hart sophomore Sam Peckham qualified for the prelims as an individual, and he advanced to the finals with a time of 15:43, good for third in his heat and the fastest overall time for a sophomore in Division II. As an individual, Peckham had to run one of the top six times in his heat to move on.

The CIF-SS Finals will take place next Saturday at Mt. San Antonio College.



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