Let's hear it for McFarland boys cross country

Before last Saturday's CIF state cross-country championships in Fresno, you could ask the question what the McFarland boys team had in common with Los Angeles Crenshaw in boys basketball, Brea-Olinda in girls basketball, Los Angeles Jefferson in boys track and Pasadena Muir in boys track.

But after the Div. IV race on the rain-splattered Woodward Park course, McFarland's boys no longer share the state record for most state titles in one sport. The Cougars became the first in state history to win nine state titles in their sport after easily winning their race with 40 points. Oak Park of Agoura Hills was the only other team in shouting distance with 67.

McFarland's ninth boys cross country state title featured a sixth-place finish by Raudel Sanchez and a 10th-place showing by Giovani Perezchica. In all, four of the Cougars' five scoring runners placed among the top nine team scorers. Jim White has been the coach for all nine McFarland state titles. The first one came in 1987. A five-year streak began in 1992 and the current streak is three years.

Crenshaw, Brea-Olinda, L.A. Jefferson and Pasadena Muir are now all tied for second on the all-time state list with eight state titles in their sports.

A Wet Course is Grand For Canyon: Motivated by a three-point loss in last year's state Div. I cross-country championship, fueled by a grueling training regimen that covered more than 100 miles a week and mindful of a likely national title that loomed if they won, the Canyon of Canyon Country boys swamped the field Saturday to take the state title, beating runner-up Royal of Simi Valley by 47 points.

Luke Llamas led the Cowboys with a second-place finish individually despite falling in the muddy conditions just before the two-mile mark. Two other Canyon runners, senior Jameson Mora and junior Ryan Morgan finished among the top 11. The Cowboys combined time for their top five runners was faster than any team in any division.

Oak Park won the girls' Div. IV championship, but not without some anxious moments. The Eagles were originally placed third, behind Orange Coast and Piedmont. But a video review determined that Blossom Maripietri, Oak Park's 5-foot-1 junior, had been omitted as the No. 2 finisher for Oak Park. Lauren Morales was Oak Park's top finisher, sloshing over the 5,000-meter course in 19:29, good for a 19th place finish.

Top Finishers: Amber Trotter of Ukiah had the fastest girls time of the day with her 17:01 clocking in the Div. I race. For the boys, the fastest time was posted by Yong-Sung Leal from Arroyo of San Leandro. Leal ran to a 15:17 mark in the Div. II race.


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