The Oak Ridge varsity boys and girls cross country teams ran under a sunny sky at the CIF Cross Country State Championships in Fresno Nov. 26.
The girls placed 15th out of 22 teams and the boys placed 18th out of 22 teams in the Division 1 races.
The girls race, with 190 athletes on the starting line, got tough at the 80-meter mark when contact between runners sent five Lady Trojans to the ground. Freshman Ellie Velez took a hard fall but she and the others were not injured.
The race restarted and Oak Ridge’s runners avoided any more mishaps on the 5-kilometer (3.1 mile ) course. The varsity girls’ state meet team was composed of two seniors, one junior, one sophomore and three freshmen.
“The young girls’ team did a marvelous job keeping their minds focused on racing hard especially after having five members of the team fall during the first start,” said coach Rob Fairley.
The varsity boys’ team — composed of one senior, five juniors and one sophomore — put in a good effort against a lot of the top cross country boys in the nation. Dusty Armstrong led the team with his 70th place finish. His time of 16:21 tied his fastest 5 kilometer time for the season. The boys’ team had a 45 second spread between the first and fifth man.
“The varsity boys’ goals for next year are to win league, win sections and improve on this year’s state meet performance,” Fairley said. “The highlights for the varsity boys’ team this year were winning the Delta River League and the section title.”
Varsity girls (15th with 396 points, 22 teams, 190 runners completed the race)
62-Ellie Velez, 19:14; 88-Rachel Peterson, 19:31; 111-Holli Arrieta, 19:53; 139-Sabrina Andrus, 20:26; 142-Maddie DeZordo, 20:28; 144-Maxine Goyette, 20:33; 189-Taylor Ashby, 24:23.
Varsity boys (18th with 453 points, 22 teams, 188 runners completed the race)
70- Dusty Armstrong, 16:21; 96-Sean McHone, 16:37; 122-Evan Baxter, 16:48; 128-Ryan Prestegard, 16:52; 145-Marcos Conde, 17:06; 156-Jake Zeltner, 17:13; 164-Zach Thornton, 17:19.
“All in all, it was a very fun and successful season for the Oak Ridge cross country teams,” Fairley concluded. “There will be a lot of athletes returning to compete on the team next year. The future looks very promising for the Oak Ridge cross country teams.”