SLO Tigers sweep Mountain League
SAN LUIS OBISPO — All of the high schools in the Mountain League descended upon the Cuesta-Fairbanks cross country course on Thursday with a chance at the championship on the line but there was only one school that went home happy as the San Luis Obispo Tigers swept the board winning both the boys and the girls title on not only varsity but junior varsity as well.
The Tigers swept the team awards but it was Paso Robles’ Damian Gavilan who finished first in the boys race and Arroyo Grande’s Taylor Jones for girls.
“My legs have been really tired from all the workouts we have been doing recently,” Gavilan said after the race. “But I felt like I was fit enough to win the race. Throughout the race, all I kept hearing were the names behind me and they sounded really close and that pushed me.”
The Bearcat boys and girls teams each finished in third place overall while the Hounds teams finished in fifth. While the league title was on the line Wednesday it was not the top thing on either of the North County teams’ minds because they have their sights set on CIF and making it to state.
“I think the boys overall did well. I think we have a little more work to put in, but I think we are ranked 6th in the Central Section right now,” Atascadero head coach Roger Warnes said. “So we have to finish as one of the top 2 teams to advance to state, so that is going to be a little bit of work, but I think [Logan] Jones has a legitimate shot and our other young lady Anna Archibald, who I didn’t really run today, has a chance to do that too, so that’s our plan.”
Both the Hounds and the Bearcats ramped up their training in the last few weeks as they prepare for the postseason and defending their respective titles.
The Paso Robles boys team enters as the reigning CIF Central Section Division 1 champions after defeating Clovis North a year ago which also punched the Crimson ‘Cats ticket to the state meet. The Greyhounds finished seventh overall in Division 2 but Xavier Gonzales did bring home the individual title.
Gavilan (15:44.6) was followed by teammates Jason Scruggs (16:05.9) who finished fourth, Michael Hernandez (17:01.4) who finished 15th, Caelan Casa (17:39.6) who placed 25th and Jordan Mendez (17:43.4) rounded out the boys scoring finishing 27th.
Logan Jones led the Greyhounds team fresh off a victory at the Mt. Sac Invitational but entered the race a little under the weather as he battled an illness the night before.
“Today went pretty well,” Jones said. “I think I could have done a little better. I wasn’t feeling too good last night but going into it I was feeling alright. I think I had food poisoning or something.”
Jones (16:19) finished seventh overall, Ryan Bianco (17:14.7) placed 19th, Alex Orozco (17:35.4) and Kyle Pericic (17:36.1) came in one after another in 23rd and 24th and Jonathan Dolan (18:07.6), who normally finishes second for Atascadero but was held back Thursday because of a triathlon he is competing in over the weekend, was the fifth scorer for the Hounds finishing 32nd.
AG’s freshman ran away with the girls race finishing nearly a minute before the Bearcats Charlotte Castelli (18:40.2) who finished second overall. Castelli was in third place when she hit the home stretch with about 150 meters to go and hit the accelerator flying past AG’s Jenny LeNay with just a few meters left.
“I was super duper hungry,” Castelli said. “But other than that I saw Huff motioning like, ‘get her, get her,’ and I was like OK I can do it and I’ll feel bad if I don’t. So then I did and I’m so happy.”
The top five Bearcat girls all finished inside the top 20 but it wasn’t enough as the Tigers placed their top five all inside the top 10. Madeline Loff (19:34.9) finished sixth, Sydney Moore (20:21.4) placed 12th followed by Grace Chamberlain (20:27) in 13th and Clara Lundy (20:36.9) in 16th.
The Greyhound girls were led by senior Kacey Journey (21:49.3) who finished 24th followed by Claire Ramsey (22:03.3), Jessica Schroeder (22:14.4), Julianne Carnes (22:30.8), and Mackenzie Bryson (23:07.7).
On Thursday, Nov. 21 both the Greyhounds and the Bearcats will make the trip to Woodward Park for CIF-CS Championships.