County teams get big test
COSTA MESA – Not many high school sports give their student-athletes the opportunity cross country does.
A limited regular season, followed by an even shorter postseason, prevents those teams from accurately measuring their skill and talent against other champions from across the country.
For two consecutive days, more than 10,000 runners, representing schools from all over the United States, competed in the 32nd annual Woodbridge Cross Country Classic at Estancia High for the right to be called a national champion.
On Saturday night, the Capistrano Valley girls team (with an accumulative time of 1:28:49) and the Trabuco Hills boys team (1:15:32) claimed Orange County supremacy with fourth-place finishes, respectively, in the competition's banner event, the Sweepstakes race.
Meanwhile, Newport Harbor senior Paige Tennison (16 minutes, 33 seconds; third place) and Trabuco Hills senior Max Moncur (14 minutes, 50 seconds; 13th) led all county runners in the individual Sweepstakes.
In all, four other Orange County girls teams — Marina, Trabuco Hills, Foothill and Edison — finished in the top 10 in the team Sweepstakes.
On the boys side, San Juan Hills came in 21st.
In the first marquee race of the evening — the girls team and individual Rated race — No. 1 San Clemente finished third overall with 156 points and an accumulative time of 1:30:40.
The host school, Woodbridge, finished fourth with 161 points and a team time of 1:31:17, and second-ranked Tesoro finished seventh.
With an second-place time of 17 minutes flat, the Titans' Amanda Gehrich (a freshman) led all county runners in the individual rated race.
Melissa Eisele (17:22) and Kelsey Carroll (17:29), both of San Clemente, finished fifth and seventh, respectively.
In the boys rated team race, eighth-ranked Santa Ana Valley led nine county teams with 293 points and an accumulative time of 1:18:33, good for seventh place.
No. 3 El Toro and No. 5 Tesoro also finished in the top 10.
El Toro senior Juan Gonzalez won the boys individual rated race going away with a time of 14:31 — eight seconds better than Jeff Thies of Edison.