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Cross Country Takes Home Hardware from State Championships

By Lennie Nelson

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Addi Zerrenner kicks to a Runner-Up Finish
(Photo/ Leonard Coutin/ DyestatCal.com)

Lennie Nelson | Staff Writer

The boys cross country team won a 3rd place trophy on the podium at the State Championships in Fresno on Saturday, behind Cole Smith’s outstanding 5th place finish. Girls captain Addi Zerrenner raced to 2nd place in Division 2 behind 3 time defending champ Sarah Baxter of Simi Valley. Her performance earned her an individual berth to the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Oregon next week.

Following a second place finish in the Southern Section last week, the boys team finished the season with a 3rd place in the State. The Chargers scored 154 points and had a cumulative team time of 1:20:02. In first place was Saugus High School with 110 Points, and second was last year’s champ; Westlake with 139 points. In 4th place was Canyon of Anaheim High School with 155 points. The boys finished on the podium by one point, whereas last year they finished only 4 points away from 3rd place. Senior Cole Smith led the way as he has all year, with a surprising 5th place finish in 15:20 on the 5 Kilometer course. He beat 3 runners who had his number last week at the Southern Section Finals. Smith’s performance now ranks 2nd in DP’s record book at the State Meet, behind only Dos Pueblos’ State Champ from last year; Bryan Fernandez. The boys’ second runner was Senior Andrew McGuan in 15:53. With a blistering kick, he moved into 31st at the finish line. In 54th and 55th were Chris Wasjutin and John Greening as DP’s 3rd and 4th runners. They clocked in at 16:10 and 16:11. 14 seconds later, the other Wasjutin twin; Ian closed his season as the 5th man on the team. Dos Pueblos’ 6th and 7th runners were seniors Tyler Bradford (16:53) and Sam Seibel (17:10).

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Cole Smith racing to 5th place
(Photo & Featured Image/ Phil Downey)

2012 ended with a disappointing 4th place finish at State, but this year the boys left Fresno with a much better feeling. Defined by the graduation of 2 “irreplaceable” seniors in June, this was labeled a rebuilding year by the pundits. Instead, the Chargers replaced the firepower and then some. PrepCalTrack.com ranked the boys 9th in the Southern Section before the season, and they climbed to a Runner-Up position at Section Finals last weekend. For all divisions and the whole state, they were ranked 39th before the season and ended with the 11th best team time at the State Meet. Of the top 5 scorers; Smith, McGuan and Greening will be graduating in the fall. What could be seen as a rebuilding season next year may in fact end up a pleasant surprise. With plenty of upside and now experience, the Wasjutin twins could lead the Cross Country program to even greater heights in 2014.

Following the theme of redemption, Zerrenner also topped her 2012 State race. After a fantastic 10th place finish as a sophomore, Zerrenner crashed and burned last year as she fell to 35th. Until a month ago, she hadn’t been able to regain the form she had before that race. A slow start to her summer training this year ended up working in her favor. Solid progress throughout the season had her in perfect shape going into the postseason. A 2nd place finish last week at Southern Section Finals primed her for a big time performance in Fresno.

With the 2 time National Champion pulling away from the field, Zerrenner slotted herself into the back of the lead pack through the first half of the race. The tactics worked perfectly as everyone ended up racing for 2nd place anyways. With 2 miles already gone, and the rest of the leaders fading, Zerrenner moved into second place. She didn’t relinquish it all the way to the line and proceeded to open up a 9 second gap on 3rd place. Her time of 17:18 was a personal best on the course and the all time best by a girl for Dos Pueblos. Her time was the 8th best overall for Girls in the Championships, which automatically qualified her for Nike Cross Nationals this weekend in Oregon.

Meanwhile, Cole Smith will continue his season at the Foot Locker West Regional at Mt. San Antonio College this weekend. He will attempt to qualify for the Foot Locker National Championships on December 14th with a top 10 finish.

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Cross Country Takes Home Hardware from State Championships