Another year, another dominating performance by the Great Oak Wolfpack Cross Country program at the CIF-SS Finals, held Saturday, Nov. 18 at the Riverside City Cross Country Course. The Great Oak boys’ and girls’ teams swept the field to claim the Division 1 titles for the fourth consecutive year despite being challenged from Roosevelt High School. Great Oak, ranked No. 1 nationally by milesplit.com, took out the 17th-ranked Roosevelt Mustangs with ease, 86 to 145.
Roosevelt senior Tyler Spencer led all Inland runners, finishing third in 14 minutes, 41.6 seconds. Great Oak senior Carlos Carvajal followed, fourth in 14:43.4. The Wolfpack added scoring runners with junior Tyler Tickner (17th, 14:59.7), senior Jacob Korgan (21st, 15:05.0), sophomore Chris Verdugo (23rd, 15:06.5) and sophomore Gabe Abbes (38th, 15:14.8).
Great Oak and Vista Murrieta finished in the top Division 1 spots with a 1-2 finish for the girls. Lady Wolfpack runner, Fatima Cortes, took out some big names like Chloe Arriaga (Walnut; second; 16:43.8), Lauren Peurifoy (King; third; 16:51.7) and her own teammate, Tori Gaitan, en route to winning the D-1 girls championship.
Gaitan was fourth with a time of 16:56.8 and senior Sandra Pflughoft was 10th with a time of 17:18.9. Great Oak won its 10th and 11th section championships, including a sixth consecutive CIF title on the girls’ side. Led by junior Paige Haynes (13th, 17:25.3) and senior Nadine Dubon (25th, 17:56.1), Vista Murrieta maintained its season-long No. 2 ranking in Division 1. With solid placement, six Inland-area teams and four individuals advanced to next week’s CIF State Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno.