Ulysses Orozco (center) runs his way to second place at the Golden West Invitational. (Saddleback Cross-Country Facebook)
In an almost mythical manner, both Saddleback Gaucho’s men and women’s cross-country teams have displayed their perseverance in reaching the high ranks of the Nov. 6 Southern California Regional Finals at Mission Bay.
Placing in fifth, the six-man team had its harriers run times the four mile course in a remarkable manner – a 20:37.38 in third place for notable runner Ulysses Orozco, a 21:31.79 for Ronen Skarsten at 23rd, a 21:37.48 for Wyndal Skarsten at 27th, a 21:37.48 for Brian Aguirre at 45th and a 22:08.23 for Mark Delgado at 57th.
Placing in eighth, the five-woman team’s finish was the third best finish at the Southern California Finals among the 37-year existence of the program, and their best finish at the Southern California Finals since 2008. Runners Angel Vallier finished 44th overall at a time of 20:25.38, Caroline Dagarin followed closely at 47th at a time of 20:31.08, with Rachel Obershelp, Kimberly Jovanus and Andrea Loyola placing in 63d, 67th and 78th, respectively.
Notable Southern California teams and Orange Empire Conference programs present at the Mission Bay Finals were that of Riverside which claimed second place, Orange Coast which claimed seventh and Santa Ana which claimed eighth of the teams.
The Gauchos’ team’s rankings have not gone unnoticed, as men’s Ulysses Orozco has recently claimed the title of the first Gaucho to win the Mt. SAC race, a second place finish at the OEC Finals and running with men’s team to reach third at the Brubaker Invitational.
Saddleback Gauchos’ fifth-place and eighth-place ranking for the men and women’s teams, respectively, has qualified both for the state finals on November 20, located in Fresno, California.