Area teams ready for state championships » Ventura County Star

Published by chadscott
Nov 23rd 2012, 5:21am | 18307 views

Baxter to make run at third straight title

Area teams ready for state championships

As dominant as Sarah Baxter has been in cross country her first two years at Simi Valley High, winning two state titles, it could well be that we haven't seen anything yet.

At Saturday's CIF State Cross Country Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno, Baxter will seek to become the sixth runner in California history to earn three or more individual crowns.

Baxter made national cross country news last month when she won the Mount SAC Invitational in a record time of 16 minutes. No girl had ever run a three-mile course that fast, much less on the venerable Mount San Antonio College layout. At last week's CIF-Southern Section Championships, she returned to Mount SAC, but weather forced the race to be run on the slightly shorter rain course. Baxter set a record for that course as well at 15:53, and became Ventura County's fifth three-time individual champion.

Probably more satisfying for Baxter is that her Simi Valley teammates will also be making the trip to Fresno. The Pioneers of coach Roger Evans finished second by 25 points to Temecula-Great Oak in the Division 1 race, which fell in line with the division's state rankings heading into Saturday's meet.

Oak Park qualified both its boys and girls teams in Division 3. The Eagles boys squad, led by senior Patrick Thedinga and junior Sahm Bazargan, took the seventh and final qualifying spot in the CIF-SS Championships. But while the boys team had been expected to qualify after being ranked all season in the section, the girls were more of a surprise. Unranked and running with three freshmen and a sophomore, Oak Park's girls were sixth at the CIF-SS meet, led by freshman Brittney Blackwell, who was 14th.

Westlake's boys, two-time defending Marmonte League champs, won the CIF-SS Division 2 title, led by Mikey Giguere, who was seventh. Coach Joe Snyder's Warriors are ranked first in the state.

Fillmore was third in the Division 4 sectional meet after being ranked No. 1 all season. The Flashes of coach Kim Tafoya are still ranked first statewide and are led by Hugo Valdovinos, who took eighth last weekend.

La Reina qualified fifth in CIF-SS Division 4 girls. The Regents, ranked fourth in the state, are led by Ariana Brajkovich and Alyssa Frank, who finished 16th and 17th respectively in the sectional.

The Thacher girls are ranked first in the state in Division 5 and are coming off a CIF-SS championship last Saturday. Senior Melanie Reimer closes out her career in Fresno after placing 15th in the CIF-SS meet.

Thacher's boys team was third in the CIF-SS meet and is ranked fifth statewide. The Toads' top runner is freshman Spencer McCune, who was 21st.

Two Ventura County girls will be running at Woodward Park, qualifying as individuals at the section meet. Ventura's Hannah Kirkegaard took fourth in Division 1 in 16:29 and Moorpark's Monika Gyalay was 10th in Division 2 in 16:43.

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