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Oakdale Boys Finish Fourth In State Division 3 Championships
Cross Country Finale
Senior Simon Appel, center, closed out his high school cross country career with a solid effort at the State Championship, finishing third for the Oakdale varsity boys in 16:25 for the 5k course in Fresno. Photo Contributed

It was a stellar day – a record-setting one, in fact – for the Oakdale cross country program at the CIF State Championship at Woodward Park in Fresno on Saturday, Nov. 27.

The varsity boys were fourth overall in the 5k, while the Oakdale girls finished in 20th place in Division 3.

Top finishers for the varsity boys were junior Caleb Cavanaugh, 12th overall in 15:37 and junior Dax Daley taking 28th overall in 15:57.

Senior Simon Appel was next across the line for Oakdale in 16:25 while sophomores Jackson Oliveira and Mason Oliveira posted the same time, 16:49. Rounding out the Mustang effort were Abner Gonzalez, sophomore, 18:29 and Nathan Luca, junior, 19:14.

“What an amazing day for the boys. In our wildest dreams we did not think the boys would place that high,” said head coach Guy Fowler. “Caleb and Dax crushed it; five of the boys ran season best times. It was incredible to watch.”

After the first mile the team was in 15th place, said Fowler, and, after the second mile the team had moved up to seventh.

“And after all was said and done … we finished fourth. We are sad to see Simon go (graduating) but what a great four years he had with us,” noted Fowler.

Notching their top 20 finish to close out the campaign, the varsity girls ran the 5k course as well, paced by senior Haleigh Humble with a 26th place overall finish in 18:48. Junior Kassidy Fmura ran the course in 19:48, good for 73rd place on the day. Senior Hannah Beth Norman closed out her career with a time of 21:27.

“The girls performed very well with five of the girls running season best times. What a great season for these young ladies,” Fowler said. “We are sad to see Haleigh and Hannah Beth go. Both of them have helped build a great program and they are going down as two of the best distance runners this school has ever had.”

Also finishing in Oakdale’s top seven were freshman Audry Scott, 22:14; junior Karina Verduzco, 22:16; freshman Ava Calandro, 22:31; junior Angelica Elizondo, 22:36.

“What can Coach Vic Moreno and I say?” summarized Fowler. “This is the best season, by far, any cross country program has had at Oakdale High School. We have a bunch of amazing kids throughout the whole program. We have the majority of our team coming back next year so we are excited for the future.”