La Cañada's varsity boys' cross country team place ninth in Division III (midsized schools) at last Saturday's CIF State Cross Country Championship Meet at Woodward Park in Fresno.
The Spartans finished with 306 points. Ahead of them were Barstow in first place with 80 points (low score wins), followed by Cabrillo, St. Ignatius, St. Francis (Mountain View), Willow Glen, Campolindo, Corona del Mar and Acalanes.
While finishing ninth overall in the 23-team state meet, La Cañada did place fourth among Southern Section schools competing in the race.
Senior Austin Facer led the Spartans by running the 5K course in 16:31 to finish 41st individually. Teammate Will Zentmyer, a sophomore, was right behind in 46th place with a time of 16:34.
Others were senior Chris Bruegge who came in 69th (16:45) and juniors Jake Matthews and Paul Park who came in next in 80th (17:14) and 107th (17:42) to complete the scoring for La Cañada. The Spartans' last two runners were sophomores Chris Walker in 160th place (17:59) and Zach Wetzel in 167th place (18:07).
Four of the Spartans established personal best times for the Fresno course, including Bruegge, Facer, Walker and Wetzel. Another Spartan, Zentmyer, ran the state championship course for the first time.
The team's success in Fresno culminated a year of consistent effort. Last year, the team, which included four members of this year's squad, fell one point short of making the seventh state-qualifying place at the CIF--SS Championships.
This year's campaign began in June with a summer of training runs. Beginning when school started in September, the Spartans participated in a succession of invitational and Rio Hondo League meets.
The final assault began on Nov. 1when the team won the league final. CIF-SS preliminaries and final followed. At each level of competition, the boys moved higher in their placement among other Division III teams.