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Coach Daniel Hurtado and members of the Ocean View boys cross country team celebrate after winning their heat at the CIF-SS Prelims last week. The Seahawks will compete Saturday in the CIF-SS Finals for the second year in a row. ( COURTESY OCEAN VIEW CROSS COUNTRY)

Dream season continues for Ocean View cross country

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

If there is a sports team looking to end a title drought, now seems to be a good time to do it.

The Ocean View boys cross country team joined the list of breakthrough teams on Nov. 2 by winning its first league title since 1983 at the Golden West League Finals.

“It’s incredible,” Seahawks coach Daniel Hurtado said. “At the beginning of the season, that’s something we dreamt of. If we planned a perfect season, this is what we’ve dreamed of.”

The school’s program has been ascending since last season when it reached the CIF-SS Finals for the first time.

The Seahawks added another highlight last week when they won their Division 3 heat at the CIF-SS Prelims, earning a return trip to the CIF-SS Finals.

Now the boys are looking to earn a spot in the CIF State meet for the first time.

They can do so Saturday with a strong performance on the flat Riverside City Cross Country course that will be used for the CIF-SS Finals. This will be the first time since 1980 that the finals have been held somewhere other than Mt. San Antonio College and its iconic hills course.

“We’ve done well running both types of courses,” Hurtado said. “Flat like at Dana Hills (where Ocean View placed eighth) and hilly like Mt. SAC. I know a lot of coaches aren’t excited with the move (away from Mt. SAC), but the competition is going to be the same.

“If you have the team, you have the team.”

The buildup of the Ocean View program has been a long time in the making.

That 1983 league title came six years before Hurtado was born and 25 years before he graduated from Ocean View in 2008.

“We didn’t really have a culture of cross country then,” Hurtado said. “We have 28 varsity athletes now, and we only had 28 athletes total then. This team would have completely destroyed that one. The league was not as strong as it is right now.”

The leader for Seahawks has been senior Ryan St. Pierre.

“I feel like every team and every coach needs a Ryan,” Hurtado said. “He recruited the team. He was running practices while I was on vacation. He’s like everyone’s older brother. Ryan is a real student of the sport.”

St. Pierre finished third in the Golden West League Finals, where all five of Ocean View’s scoring runners, which included Edwin Montes, David Brito, Jesus Fuentes and Alejandro Tepayotl, finished in the top 10.

Hurtado is confident Ocean View will continue to have success after this season, having seen the victories being earned in the program's lower levels. The Seahawks girls also qualified for CIF-SS Finals.

“I think the culture of our sport at Ocean View is so great,” Hurtado said. “They’re all talking about each other.”

The school’s first trip to the state meet would really get them talking.


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