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The Santa Ynez boys and Cabrillo girls cross country teams kept their respective spots atop the Los Padres League standings Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Nancy Juarez and David Tyler Jr. of Santa Maria made their season-long goals of advancing to the CIF Southern Section Preliminaries happen. Since their teams did not advance, they needed a top-six finish to move on, and they got it.

Juarez finished third in the girls race, in 19 minutes, 44.83 seconds over the mostly flat three-mile course at Cabrillo High School. Tyler finished fourth in 15:39 in the boys race. The top four teams in the final standings, along with individuals from non-qualifying teams who finished in the top six, advanced.

Individual boys race winner Johnny Jimenez led the Pirates, who were in first place after the LPL Mid-Season Duals, to the team title on a cool, windy afternoon. Jimenez won in 15:13.

Morro Bay freshman Audrey McClish, the winner at the mid-season duals, won the girls race in 18:20.92. Nipomo sophomore Mackenzie Wisneski was the runner-up in 18:25.36. 

"Not at all," Jimenez said when he was asked if he had run the kind of race he wanted to. Jimenez pulled away from Andrew Stafford of Morro Bay in the last mile to win. Stafford was the runner-up in 15:19.

"I thought this was going to be more of a tactical race," the senior said. "The pace was faster than I thought it would be, and I had to make my move sooner than I wanted to. Otherwise, I would have finished second or third."

The Santa Ynez boys out-scored second-place Nipomo 39-56. Templeton, in third place with 111 points, and Orcutt Academy, in fourth with 111, also moved on. Nipomo's boys qualified for the post-season for the first time in school history. 

Cabrillo's girls scored 62 points Wednesday to runner-up Templeton's 78. Thanks to their showing Wednesday, the Eagles vaulted from fourth place to second place in the league standings. Teams earned double points for their respective placings at the LPL finals.

Nipomo finished third Wednesday with 81 points. Morro Bay was fourth with 87. Those were the respective places both girls squads finished in the final league standings.

Wisneski repeated her second-place finish at a league finals.

"The wind was really bad," she said. "I was actually able to push harder. I was able to draft off people."

Dana Hjelm was the first Cabrillo girls runner home. She finished 10th. The Conquistadores were atop the standings after the league mid-season duals.

"After the mid-season duals we felt like we had an obligation to stay in first place, and we kept it," said Hjelm.

"Running here, we had a huge home course advantage. I'm not a big fan of running on grass, like we had to do when we ran on the soccer field (during the last half mile), but you could make up a lot of time on the asphalt and concrete." The runners ran on those surfaces most of the race.

Three runners in the boys race advanced as individuals, including Stafford, third-place finisher Isaac Acosta of Lompoc (16:32) and Tyler. Joseph Gocke of Nipomo rounded out the boys top five with a fifth-place finish in 15:44.

Templeton teammates Olivia Mariucci (18:57.95) and Hannah Zennella (19:03.17) rounded out the girls top five.

"Making CIF was my goal all year," said Tyler. "I'm very happy."

Juarez said, "I broke my personal record, and I made it to CIF. I'm very happy, and what I'm most happy about is making it into CIF."

The Santa Ynez boys and Cabrillo girls showed superior grouping. Jimenez, Eric Moniot, Grehson Smith, Tommy Hill and Brian Illes were the Santa Ynez boys' scoring runners, and they finished 1-8-9-10-11.

Cabrillo girls scoring runners Hjelm, Haley Lym, Haley Yowler, Veronica Nolasco and Elena Estrada finished 10-11-12-13-16.

The top 14 finishers medaled and comprised the All-Los Padres League First and Second Teams. 

The divisional preliminaries will take place Nov. 13 at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut.

"I like where our team is at right now," said Jimenez. "Our goal is to win CIF and to win state."

The Pirates are ranked second in the CIF Southern Section's Divison 4.


Sports Reporter