RESULTS AT BOTTOM OF PAGE
Boys' Shocker Completes 1st-Ever State Championship Sweep for Cougars; Girls' Roll to Commanding Victory over D3 Field
With a stunning upset over #1 ranked Maria Carrillo at Saturday's CIF Championships, the varsity boys' squad helped Campolindo join just a handful of schools that have won both girls' and boys' state titles in the same year. The 2019 state crown is also a 1st for the Cougar boys' program, and the 1st for a North Coast Section team in Division 3.
Campolindo's historic day began with overcast skies and cold temperatures as the varsity girls arrived in the early morning at Fresno's Woodward Park, which has been the site of the cross country state championship since its inception in 1987. After a resounding win at the NCS meet the previous weekend, where they outdistanced their nearest rivals by a whopping 85 points, the Cougars were heavy favorites to hoist a 5th girls' state-championship trophy.
The prognosticators had it right. In the 2nd race of the day, the girls dominated, posting an 80-point margin of victory over runner-up Cathedral Catholic of the San Diego Section.
Paloma Hancock (20) improved her course best by 47 seconds to finish 5th, earning a spot on the individuals' podium. She was followed across the line by freshman Ellie Buckley (23), who completed her sensational rookie season with an 11th-place effort. Her time of 18:19 is also 11th on the school-record list for the 5k course.
While the Cougars showed capable firepower up front, it was their 3 through 6 positions that raised them head and shoulders above the rest of the field. Zoe Theulier (23) was the final scorer for the squad, overtaking nearly 30 positions through the 2nd and 3rd mile of the race. 34th overall, she finished ahead of every other team's #3 runner. In 36th place, Sophie Webster (21) also displaced all 3rd, 4th and 5th scorers.
With Alicia Hober (20) and Emma Smith (20), who both dipped under the 19-minute barrier to post career-best 5k times, already safely in the finish corral, the Cougars were simply unbeatable.
An hour later, with a heroic team effort, the Cougar boys dropped the 4th-lowest point total in division history to steal the show.
Just as they had done at the section meet, the squad pushed the pace early. However, this time the Cougars were able to build on their early efforts. Leading the charge through the middle of the race was Owen Lekki (21), who picked up 12 places between the 1st and 2nd-mile marks.
Also gaining ground in the middle mile was Dylan Cronin (20). En route to the best race of his high school career, the senior passed 6 competitors on the back loop. As the field crossed the 2.1-mile sensor, Campolindo had all 5 of its scorers in the top 20 and held a 30-point advantage over their NCS rivals.
However, Maria Carrillo was not done. The experienced squad was led by a sensational push from its senior tandem, Colton Swinth and Rory Small, over the final mile. The duo would go on to claim the top 2 individual places, giving their team a considerable scoring advantage.
Dylan Gunn (21) was once again the top gun for the Cougars, holding on for 5th place after mixing it up with the leaders through 2 miles. Cronin, continuing to roll through the final stages of the race, grabbed his own podium position as the 9th finisher.
Meanwhile, Maria Carrillo's #4 man, Omar Alvarez-Hernandez, was moving up. As he hit the final stretch coming off the pavement and onto the grass he pulled even with Lekki.
At that same moment, just a few meters ahead, freshman Alex Lodewick (23) came alive, pulling teammate Cayden Hein (20) along for the ride.
While the Puma's Pierce Kapustka held off Lodewick to finish 15th, Lekki moved clear of Alvarez-Hernadez and the Campolindo final scorers crossed the line in 16th, 17th and 18th place, respectively.
The clustering of 5 scorers in the top 20 with an astounding 29-second pack margin would prove to be the winning counter to Maria Carrillo's 1-2 punch.
After several minutes of congratulations exchanged under a shadow of uncertainty, the official results and confirmation of the upset were delivered by an enthusiastic Kevin Selby, former De La Salle coach and FloTrack commentator.
CIF cross country: Campolindo sweeps Division III team titles
By PHIL JENSEN | Bay Area News Group
In his illustrious coaching career, Campolindo’s Chuck Woolridge had never coached two teams that won California Interscholastic Federation state cross country championship titles in the same season.
Campolindo’s girls’ squad competed in the second race of the day at Woodward Park in Fresno. One of the team favorites entering the Division III girls championship race, Campolindo placed four runners in the top 26 and won the team title by 80 points with a score of 74. It was the Campo girls’ second state title in three years and fourth in nine years.
Two races later, Campolindo’s boys’ team stunned the Division III boys field with a title win. Maria Carrillo runners finished one-two, but Campo placed all five of its scorers in the top 18 for an outstanding winning score of 47.
“We had a lot of confidence going into the girls race, given their performance at the NCS meet,” Woolridge said. “My philosophy as a coach is that nobody has to be a hero, as long as you execute. I wanted the boys to know I was proud of their effort. But the boys today, I think, shocked us. If we had a great performance, we would have a podium team.”
Woolridge said the boys’ squad didn’t know they had won the state title until they arrived at the awards ceremony. It was the first Camplindo boys team in school history to win a state cross country team title, and also the first boys teams championship of Woolridge’s career. In addition to the girls’ titles at Campolindo, Woolridge’s girls’ teams at College Park won state titles in 2003 and 2004. His first year as a head coach was at College Park in 1996.
In Saturday’s Division III boys race, Campo’s Dylan Gunn placed fifth in the race with a time of 15:33.8 for the legendary 3.1-mile course. Teammate Dylan Cronin added a ninth-place finish in 15:39.1
But the key to Campo’s win was the 16-18 finish by its third through fifth runners. Freshman Alexander Lodewick was 16th in 15:48.2, followed by Cayden Hein (15:52.2) and Owen Lekki (15:52.6).
“When I saw that cluster of three boys in the top 25, I said ‘Oh my gosh, we’re really in this,'” Woolridge said.
In the Division III girls’ race, Paloma Hancock led Campolindo with a fifth-place finish in 18:04.7. Other Campolindo scorers were Ellie Buckley (11th, 18:19.1), Alicia Hober (21st, 18:40.2), Emma Smith (26th, 18:57.9) and Zoe Theulier (34th, 19:15.1).
“Our strength was definitely that we had a small pack margin and not only five girls, but six girls at or near 19 minutes,” Woolridge said.
Campolindo girls and boys win state Division III Cross Country Championships
By Jon Kingdon
For the fifth time, the Campolindo girls have won the state cross country championship while the boys team made it a clean sweep with their first state title. In the Division III state meet, the girls came in as one of the favorites to take the title while the boy's team was seen in more of an underdog role. Still, it was a goal that the Cougars had been pointing toward all year, said head coach Chuck Woolridge: "This is the first year where we started with the understanding that both teams had the opportunity to win the section and state titles and that is very rare. I can't think of the last time that I had a squad that started in July and already thought about the state championship as a realistic goal."
Despite coming in second to Maria Carillo (28-53) in the North Coast Section, which qualified Campolindo for the state meet, the boys team had their best performance of the year at the state meet, competing against 25 teams, said Woolridge: "The boys team really performed beyond our expectations. We knew that we would have to have a magical performance to win and that's what they did."
As much of an individual sport as cross country is, a team can only be as strong as its lowest qualifying runner. Each of the Cougar runners set personal records in this 5K meet, which was held at Woodward Park in Fresno. In the team competition, Dylan Gunn finished in fourth, Dylan Cronin finished in seventh and Alexander Lodewick, Cayden Hein and Owen Lekki finished in 11th, 12th and 13th respectively. Despite having the first two finishers in the race, the final three runners for Maria Carillo placed 10th, 15th and 36th, landing them in second place.
It was a team concept that led to the victory, said Woolridge: "We used a pack strategy to counter Maria Carillo's top runners. Our boys fed off the momentum of the group and worked as a team. All five of our runners were in the top 20 for the entire race with only a 29 second margin between our No. 1 runner and our No. 5 runner, which at this level is pretty incredible."
The teams were running under ideal conditions, according to Woolridge: "It was cool with overcast skies with the course being dry but packed which made for fast times. Our boys understood what each of their roles was going to be and we really got great performances out of our No. 4 and No. 5 runners, Hein and Lekki. Cayden showed great improvement from his NCS time as he was more conservative in the first mile and was able to hold up in the last mile."
"The state meet was more like a dual meet between us and Maria Carillo," said Hein. We were not the favorites because we had lost to them at the NCS but we ran hard with passion and peaked at the right time. As a team we positioned and executed well and I really pushed harder because it was the last meet of my last season. Coach Woolridge and (assistant) coach Andy (Lintquist) did a great job in training and motivating us through the season and kept reminding us that we had never won the boys state title."
The qualities of each of the victories for the boys and girls were different, said Woolridge, who has been the head coach for four of the girl's state titles: "The girls went in as the favorite to win the meet and they performed like the favorite having their best race of the season with the margin of victory being one of the largest the state meet has ever seen (74 to second place Cathedral Catholic's 154) and that was a thrilling and gratifying thing to watch because I know how hard they worked, and the pieces that had to come together took the entire season."
Like the boy's team, all of the Campolindo girls set personal records led by senior Paloma Hancock who finished in fifth place and set a personal record of 18:04.7, bettering her previous best time by 41 seconds (ninth fastest in Campolindo history). Freshman Ellie Buckley 18:19.1 (11th fastest in Campolindo history) placed ninth, senior Alicia Hober 16th, senior Emma Smith 19th and Zoe Theulier 25th.
It was the first year running cross country for Smith and her performances all season were crucial to the team, said Woolridge: "Emma was a catalyst for the team. Knowing that we had another legitimate point scorer coming into the season as the fifth athlete that we could count on, really made a difference for the girls." Not to be overlooked was the leadership by the team's seniors, Hancock, Hober and Ellie Guthrie.
Acalanes head coach Jeff Hutson saw his boys team finish in 13th place in Division IV in the state tournament after having finished in second place at the NCS tournament. Still it was cause for celebration, said Hutson: "I believe it's been about five years since a whole squad of boys or girls from Acalanes went to state and it was a big accomplishment for us. We had pointed to the NCS meet and going to state was the icing on the cake. We just missed putting the candle on top of the cake."
Sam Roth led the team finishing 23rd, followed by Andrew Owens 48th, Loic Windfuhr Durand 72nd, Nick Hutson 89th and Dominic Balsaldua 89th.
With five of the seven Dons runners being underclassmen, Hutson is very optimistic for next season. Junior Sam Ross who finished in 37th will be a key on the team next season, said Hutson: "Sam's becoming one of the leaders on our team and I'm very proud of how he's stepping up. Loic finished at 16:55.1 and that was a good accomplishment, going under 17 minutes. Andrew, who will be graduating this year, ran very consistently and had a good run."
Junior Nicole Frigon was the only qualifier for the state tournament from the Acalanes girls and finished in 66th place, competing against 211 other runners. Frignon qualified for the state tournament by finishing in 11th place at the NCS tournament, just beating out sophomore teammate Lauren Yee by 1.6 seconds. "Nicole did well running a personal best time of 19:41.9," said Hutson. "She got consistently faster during the season and we're pleased with that."
The Miramonte girls team finished in 12th place in Division IV at the state meet. The team was led by junior Audrey Allen who was first team all NCS finished in seventh followed by sophomore Kate Riley in 41st place, sophomore Clare Nolet in 72nd place, senior Jamie Say in 84th place and sophomore Nathalie Green in 130th place.
Campolindo 47, Maria Carrillo 64, Agoura 101, Cathedral Catholic 193, St. Jon Bosco 221, East Union 243, Royal 252, Chico 278, Central 280, Moorpark 282, Palos Verdes 297, Brea Olinda 307, Arroyo 310, Tamalpais 369, Casa Grande 399, Atwater 413, Placer 426, West Hills 469, El Capitan 470, Sacred Heart Cathedral 486, St. Ignatius 491, Skyline 555, Frontier 561, Verdugo Hills 638, Foothill 662
Campolindo 74, Cathedral Catholic 154, Brea Olinda 166, Palos Verdes 166, Del Oro 217, El Capitan 239, South Torrance 272, Alameda 273, Torrance 290, Nevada Union 309, Tamalpais 311, Yorba Linda 313, Maria Carrillo 313, Chico 328, St. Ignatius 344, Mission Vista 350, Portola 354, Ramona 365, Corcoran 396, Arroyo 425, Sacred Heart Cathedral 467, Edison 580, Atwater 589, Verdugo Hills 670