Increasing momentum for the Gaucho cross country teams

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Vallier (left) and Gagarin (right) in the Southern California Preview. (Photo courtesy of Bradley Hoiseth.)

The Gauchos competed at the Golden West Invitational in Central Park, Huntington Beach on Sept. 23. The women placed fifth out of 17 led by their top runners from last year, sophomores Angel Vallier, Caroline Dagarin and Rachel Oberschelp.

Meanwhile, the men’s team took a bit of a hit for this season losing their top two runners, Ulysses Orozco and Miles Brubacher, to four year colleges.

The men placed ninth out of 19, led by sophomore Ronen Skarsten.

The beginning of the season proved rocky for the men, losing to Hartnell at Santa Ynez on Aug. 27, whereas the women proved their dominance and won.

It was a record breaking day for the Lady Gauchos at the Palomar Invitational in Oceanside on Sept. 9. Their top three runners, Vallier, Dagarin and Oberschelp all broke the previous program record for the course. The previous record was set in 2012 at 20:14. Vallier, Dagarin and Oberschelp placed in the top ten and six of the seven runners placed in the top 20, securing the win.

“I feel that we have a very strong team,” Obershelp said. “We have high hopes for the season but we’re just taking it one race at a time.”

The men, however, fell in placement compared to their results from last year. From second to fifth, led by freshmen Nicholas O’Briensky and Jacob King.

On Sept. 16, the men and women competed at the Southern California Preview in Irvine. The women competed without one of their top runners, Oberschelp, who fell to injury, but still managed a strong race with leaders Vallier and Dagarin. The women placed fourth out of 31, not having placed at all last year. The men, led by Skartsen, placed tenth, placing better than last year.

The Gauchos are halfway through their season and show lots of promise with the women starting off strong and maintaining that momentum while the men have been steadily increasing their results.

“I’m proud of the team we have here,” head coach Matt Sherman said. “But we’re always working to reach the next level.”

With only have two races left until the Orange Empire Conference Championships, the next race is not until Oct. 7, where they will compete at Cuesta College.

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