The final tallies did not reveal the result that the Ocean View High cross-country program had been hoping for, but the Seahawks’ boys’ and girls’ teams came away encouraged nonetheless.
Unable to come away with the crown this year, the Golden West League finals will serve as a stepping stone to a larger goal for the Seahawks this season.
Godinez put four runners in the top seven, and the Grizzlies defeated the Seahawks 27-40 in the boys’ race on Thursday at Central Park in Huntington Beach.
The Seahawks, ranked fifth in CIF Southern Section Division 4, had been making a bid to win their third consecutive league title on the boys’ side.
Grizzlies senior Anthony Gonzalez won the race in 15 minutes 57 seconds. He held off a fierce challenge from Seahawks senior Jason St. Pierre (second, 15:57.8), who tried to take on Gonzalez and Reymond Pineda on the final straightaway.
“Yesterday, we were doing a workout, and we were actually practicing on the course,” St. Pierre said. “We were mentally picking a spot where we were just going to go, like our kick spot.
“I knew once I got to the box, no matter how I felt, that’s when I was going to start picking it up. As soon as I got to the box, I started going for it.”
When St. Pierre made his move, he managed to pick off Pineda. In passing Gonzalez, however, he met his match.
“That guy had something in the tank, and even though I was giving it my all, he had a little bit more and he was able to take me,” St. Pierre said.
Edwin Montes (fourth, 16:05.9), Adrian Ramirez (ninth, 16:27.2), Michael Hernandez (12th, 16:34.8) and Miguel Flores (13th, 16:36.6) completed the scoring quintet for the Seahawks.
Montes, a senior, was expected to lead the Ocean View boys’ team this season. He has been trending in the right direction. He ran 15:25.1 for his best time of the fall at the Apache Invitational last Friday.
After making their first trip to the state meet last season, the Seahawks had holes to fill in their lineup. Ramirez, a freshman, felt the pressure of joining the vastly improved program, but he has slotted in nicely.
“Coming into this cross-country season, I wasn’t really sure how I was going to do as an athlete,” Ramirez said. “Coach [Daniel Hurtado] just told me, ‘Go out there and do your best. Keep trying hard in practice and it will pay off.’”
A top-10 showing at league finals proves that Ramirez has staying power in the Seahawks’ lineup.
Ocean View’s girls nearly upset Segerstrom, but the Jaguars escaped 37-38 to win their 12th straight league title.
Segerstrom junior Julissa Silvar won the race in 19:11.2, and freshman Ariane De Guzman was the runner-up in 19:23.9, as the Jaguars claimed the top two spots.
Senior Adriana Gil paced the Seahawks, claiming fourth in 19:31.8. Natalie Miller (fifth, 19:36.0), Elizabeth King (seventh, 20:00.4), Isabella Brannon (eighth, 20:03.8) and Isabella Kolstad-Khan (14th, 20:29.5) rounded out Ocean View’s scoring five.
“I believe that this is the closest margin, as far as us and [Segerstrom],” Seahawks girls’ cross-country coach Enrique Najera said. “That feels good because for many years, they’ve been kicking our butts right and left.
“To lose by one, it stings, but at the same time, I’m really proud of our girls.”
The more consistent presence of Brannon, a sophomore, in the lineup has helped the Seahawks’ girls’ program. Ocean View is currently ranked 14th in Division 4.
“We’re extremely proud of Bella Brannon because she’s been battling with the ups and downs of Type 1 diabetes,” Najera said. “That’s something that a lot of people might not know about her.
“She’s one of the most resilient kids that I’ve ever coached. We’re extremely proud that we have her for not only league finals, but also for the CIF run. We’re hoping to make it all the way to state.”