On Saturday, Nov. 12, the Oakdale Mustang varsity boys cross country team, like cream, rose to the top of the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Division III for the second consecutive year by winning the section championship meet in Folsom. This year’s championship, however, was done in a dominant style. Cross country scoring is similar to scoring in golf, with the team having the least number of points winning. The simple fact that the Mustang total was 36 points compared to 86 points by second place Ponderosa High School—a 50-point differential—is indicative of out-and-out dominance by the Mustangs, currently ranked number one among the state of California’s Division III teams.
Indeed, the Mustangs boasted the second, third and fifth place finishers out of the 78 elite runners in the field, and five out of the top 18 finishers. Leading the way for the Mustangs was junior Omar Alsaidi who ran the 5,000-meter course in 15 minutes, 37.9 seconds, good for second place overall, just 1.6 seconds off of the time recorded by the individual champion, Josh Chu of Ponderosa High School. Senior Dax Daley finished third overall in 15:43.6, while junior Jackson Oliveira recorded a fifth-place finish in 16:04.2. Senior Caleb Cavanaugh finished eighth in 16:30.1 while his younger brother, Jacob, a sophomore, earned 18th place in 17:07.9. Rounding out the amazing Mustang effort were senior Gabe Archuleta, who finished 28th in 17:47.0, and junior Abner Gonzalez, who finished 31st with a time of 17:49.7.
In all, the Mustangs recorded an average time of 16 minutes,12.8 seconds, an incredible 47.6 seconds better than second place Ponderosa (17:00.4)—incredible given the outstanding level of competition in a section championship race. Even more incredible is that the combined and average times for the Mustangs were the fastest of all teams, Divisions I-V, in the meet—an amazing achievement. The boys next stop will be in Fresno’s Woodward Park on Saturday, Nov. 26, in the 2022 California State Meet.
“The boys’ team’s goal this year was to win league, sections and state,” said head cross country coach, Guy Fowler. “Two down and hopefully they will accomplish their goal on November 26 at the State Meet.”
The Lady Mustangs boasted the second overall finisher in senior Kassidy Fmura who ran the 5,000-meter course in 19 minutes, 25.7 seconds in qualifying for the state meet as an individual runner, and, as a team, finished seventh out of the 10 teams entered in the championships. Sophomore Audrey Scott (22:03.1) finished 30th, senior Karina Verduzco (22:48.4) netted 37th place, sophomore Ava Calandro (23:11.3) finished 42nd, and senior Anna Nalder (23:27.8) came in 45th out of the 64 young women entered in the event. Also running for Oakdale were juniors Shelby Colner (23:46.6) and Brooklyn Baba (31:13.2).
“We are excited for both teams,” said Fowler. “They performed very well.”