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CIF cross country: Foothill shows off at prelims

Six league teams, one individual advance to next week’s CIF-SS finals at Mt. SAC

Posted: November 11, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 11, 2012 2:00 a.m.
 

The Foothill League passed with flying colors at Saturday’s CIF-Southern Section Cross Country Prelims.

Six out of seven Foothill teams qualified for CIF-SS Finals and one individual also moved on thanks to performances at Mt. San Antonio College, which hosted Saturday’s prelims and will also host the finals the following Saturday.

In boys Division II, Saugus, Golden Valley and Hart all advanced, while Saugus, Golden Valley and Canyon moved on in girls Division II.

“Our girls were sure surprised,” said Canyon head coach Paul Broneer, whose team qualified as an at-large after finishing fourth in the Foothill. “They went from not thinking they would ever be able to go to prelims to qualifying for finals, so they were ecstatic when they heard.”

There were also two Foothill runners racing as individuals on Saturday. Valencia senior Olivia Pear moved on to the Division I finals with a third-place time of 18 minutes, 18 seconds in her heat, while Canyon’s Zach Wims came up short after an 18th place finish in his Division II heat.

The only Foothill team to fail to qualify on Saturday was an ailing West Ranch girls squad, which finished sixth in its Division I heat with a team time of 98:14.

Only the top four teams in each heat qualified for the finals.

“A couple of our girls were significantly off,” said West Ranch head coach Rick Larimore. “If we had just had a normal day, we probably would have moved on pretty easily.”

West Ranch was the third-place finisher in league on the girls side.

The two teams that finished above them, Saugus and Golden Valley, easily moved on by finishing as the top two teams in the same heat.

Foothill champion Saugus easily won the heat with four of its runners finishing in the top seven. Samantha Ortega led the way with a second-place time of 17:50.

“We’re trying to learn what it’s all about and how to win races,” said Saugus head coach Rene Paragas. “That’s another thing that we spent today doing was trying to use this race to prepare for the finals.”

Last year, Saugus’ streak of five straight CIF championships was ended when Simi Valley won the Division II title.

Now ranked No. 1 in the Division II poll, the Centurions can try to return to the top next week.

Racing alongside Saugus, the Grizzlies finished second in the heat as a team, though freshman Bianca Tinoco was the heat’s individual winner in 17:48.

In a separate heat, Canyon finished fourth to become one of the 16 team finalists.

The Centurions were also the best Foothill finisher on the boys side, as they won their heat comfortably and, like their female counterparts, did so while holding out two of their best runners to rest for finals.

The Hart boys took third while racing in the same heat as Saugus, and defending CIF-SS Division II and state champion Golden Valley qualified with a fourth-place finish in a separate heat.

Grizzlies senior Nolan Del Valle ran a personal best on the course with a time of 15:16 for fifth in the heat.

“It’s going to be a struggle, no question about it,” said Golden Valley head coach Marc Minasian of his team’s prospects at the finals. “When you get to the prelims and the finals in this specific race, it’s all about position.”

When the finalists return to Mt. SAC next week, the top seven teams out of 16 in each gender will advance to the state championships on Nov. 24 in Fresno.

The Saugus girls, along with the Golden Valley and Hart boys teams are all trying to return to the state meet.

“It’s going to have to be our best race of the year, no doubt about it,” said Hart head coach Larry David. “I think everybody is going to have to drop their time from this week.”

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