Great Oak sweeps, Chaparral boys impress at Southwestern League cross country finals
By Landon Negri
HEMET — To no one’s surprise, Great Oak’s cross country teams swept the Southwestern League Finals on Thursday afternoon at Diamond Valley Lake.
The fact that Chaparral’s boys are surging was a bit of a revelation.
Ranked No. 1 nationally, Great Oak’s boys won their fifth consecutive league title and the girls won their 10th straight, with Vista Murrieta’s Edgard Villa and the Wolfpack’s Fatima Cortes winning individual titles.
Great Oak ran without several of its top runners, opting to sit five boys starters. For the girls, ace Tori Gaitan was held as the coach Doug Soles paces his team for the postseason. Arianna Griffiths also missed Thursday’s race due to a strained quad.
“We’ve got some real young players stepping in there and holding their own,” Soles said. “I think it’s a real advantage for us to let the young guys step in and run some big meets.”
Great Oak’s boys won with 36 points. Chaparral, led by seniors Antonio Carbajal (third, 15:33.4), Vincent Martinez (fourth, 15:38.9) and Marod Jackson (sixth, 15:42.6), came in a strong second place with 44 points.
“Hats off to Chaparral — they’ve really improved this year,” Soles said. “They’ve got three legitimate (runners) up front and their Nos. 4 and 5 did really well.”
The last two — Josh Hunck (16:21.5) and Nick Srajer (16:26.7) — were, and will be, a key for a Pumas team hoping to get to the CIF-State Championships later this month. They’re ranked No. 11 in the latest Southern Section Division 1 poll.
“It’s been nice to see them at the end of this season and see Josh step it up and Nick do well,” Pumas coach Martin Dinsenbacher said. “If we can get another 10 seconds closer out of those guys, I think we could have a shot.”
Vista Murrieta senior Edgard Villa, third in this meet […]