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Great Oak challenged at state cross country meet, but earns fourth CIF-State Division I sweep in a row

By in Press Enterprise on November 26, 2017

By Landon Negri

FRESNO — They’ve had their share of runaway victories, and yes, the Great Oak cross country runners have been tested.

But they’ve never been tested quite like this, with both teams challenged by such determined foes. And on Saturday in the CIF State Cross Country Championships at Woodward Park, the Wolfpack certainly answered the call.

Great Oak’s boys and girls swept Division I state titles for the fourth consecutive year, with the boys withstanding a phenomenal performance by runner-up Roosevelt, and the girls turning back a Clovis Buchanan team many projected to beat the Wolfpack and Vista Murrieta, which had its strongest showing of the year.

Instead, the boys won their fourth title – all consecutively – and the girls won their sixth straight and seventh in eight years. The school has 11 state cross country titles, all won under coach Doug Soles, and all within this decade.

“If you would’ve told me back in 2009 that we’d have 11 state titles by 2017, I wouldn’t have believed you,” Soles said. “But these kids believed, and they put their heads down and worked hard, and obviously, it’s pretty amazing to come out with four in a row on both sides.”

Yet it did not come easy. Great Oak’s boys tallied 75 points to defeat Roosevelt’s 90. The Wolfpack earned one of two automatic berths to next week Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Ore. – where they won a national title two years ago – and the Mustangs were good enough to earn the other, keeping both automatic NXN berths in the Inland area.

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