Boys’ Cross Country leading the pack as they head to CIF

SCHS BOYS’ and Girls’ Cross Country celebrate their win at league. Triton Athletics

Coco Meyerhofer | Writer

November 5, 2021

San Clemente’s Boys’ Cross Country has officially ended their regular season, and they ended as fast as they came in, so a quick recap:

THE CHAMPS ARE HERE as the Boys’ Cross Country team takes home first place at the OC Champs. Triton Athletics

The season jump-started with the Laguna Hills Invitational, with seniors coming in 4th, juniors finishing 1st, the sophomores following suit, and the freshman following in 7th. Quickly after, finishing 19th out of 30, they ran the Woodbridge Cross Country Classic, only to run the Dana Hills Invitational and finish 1st. They only sped up from there, finishing 5th at the Clovis Invitational and 1st at the Orange County Championships three weeks ago.

The Orange County Championships (OC Champs) is one of the most important races in the Tritons’ season–Boys’ Cross Country is a Division 1 team, ranking 4th in the state, and their first placement at OC Champs has caused San Clemente to be expected to run at CIF State Championships this fall. And to add to the excitement, Boys’ Cross Country hasn’t dominated and won OC Champs since the late 80s.

“It was really awesome to win OC Champs for the first time since 1989,” junior Grant Sestak, who runs for the varsity team said. “Especially to get the trophy and see ‘San Clemente’ engraved on it from that long ago.”

A week later, the team ran at the Mt. SAC Invitational, and their varsity sweepstakes team finished 3rd. Just this past week, the Boys’ Cross Country team ran at South Coast League Finals, a determiner if past the regular season the boys’ will continue to run for CIF, and they finished 1st.

So, to break this down:

Cross Country is a three-mile race and point-based sport, and the amount of points a team gets is compiled through the individual scores of each runner in a race. The order they finish in the race is the amount of points an individual runner gets, and the team with the least amount of points wins.

For example, at South Coast League Finals, junior Juan Chantaca ran at 3rd place, “It was very exciting, knowing that we were going to CIF Prelims–the road we had to take to get where we are now was very hard and challenging, but I’m glad we were able to do that work.” Chantaca took three points for the Tritons, while senior Hayden Beauchemin ran right behind at 4th. “You don’t gotta be hard, you just gotta look hard to be alpha,” getting four points for the San Clemente team and helping compile a total score of 32 points with runners at 3-4-5-9-11-15-20.

The race at South Coast League Finals was the last race of the regular season, meaning the entire team ran each race at this point, while now just varsity continues forward. South Coast is the complete determiner of whether or not teams in San Clemente’s league will move forward to CIF, California Interscholastic Federation, which is the road to the State competition. Boys’ Cross Country, after getting in the top three at South Coast, will move on to CIF Prelims (Preliminary), where if they place in the top 16, they move to CIF Finals. From CIF Finals, if the team places in the top seven, they move on to state.

What does all this mean? While football is a big deal at SCHS, being 4th in the state really give the Triton cross country team the chance of going all the way to State this season. Remember, there might be three more races this season, so if you decide to head up to Mt. SAC on November 27 to cheer on, not only the boys’ team, but the girls’, remember to always bring a hat and water.

I mean, at its heart, you’re just watching high schoolers run around in circles as fast as they can.

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