Santa Maria's runners executed their pre-race plan well Wednesday. The result was a huge win.
The Saints won at the Los Padres League Mid-Season Duals at River Park in Lompoc with a dominating performance. Santa Maria's boys, led by Cesar Ayuso's third-place finish, placed four runners in the top 10 and all five of its scoring runners in the top 13, easily going 7-0 in the dual meet scoring.
Individual winner Audrey McClish led the Morro Bay girls to a 7-0 day. McClish won in 18 minutes, 18 seconds over the three-mile course. Santa Ynez senior Emily Donahue was second in a personal best 18:30.
Santa Maria cross country coach and athletic director Brian Wallace said in a text to the Times, "I've been in the LPL since '89 either as a runner, coach or administrator and this is the first time SM has won this race on any level. And I've never seen the JV girls finish this high."
The Saints' junior varsity boys won. The Santa Maria JV girls finished second.
As for the Santa Maria varsity boys, "We knew there were going to be a lot of people in the race, and we wanted to stick together," said Ayuso. "We wanted to win the race, run together toward the front."
The Saints managed to stay in a group well enough to win handily. Ayuso finished in 16:16.
Devin Diaz and Joe Gocke went 1-2 for Nipomo. Diaz won in 16:05 with Gocke two ticks behind, in 16:07.
Diaz, Gocke and Ayuso were almost in lock step together going into the third mile. "I pulled away in the last half mile," said Diaz.
"The last 800 definitely was painful, but it all worked out."
The top four teams in the final league standings earn automatic berths into various league standings, so the top half of the eight-team boys and girls fields Wednesday earned a jump start toward a post-season spot.
Final boys results were not available at press time but it was confirmed by the results posted that Santa Maria was the winner with Cabrillo a solid second with a 6-1 duals mark. It appeared by the results that Santa Ynez and Templeton were third and fourth.
The Santa Ynez girls finished second at 6-1 and the Orcutt Academy girls, who went to the CIF Division 5 State Meet last year, were a solid third at 5-2. Templeton finished fourth at 4-3.
Afterward, Donahue said, "I was really happy with the result, that I got a PR."
McClish is a junior. "I won at the duals during my freshman year and now this year," she said.
"I think this is a pretty good course, actually. It has enough changes in it to keep it interesting." The course goes along dirt paths and is a loop course, but it has multiple turns. It is mostly flat, but there is a slight rise going into the last mile.
Greg Wistcheck of Lompoc finished fourth in the varsity boys race. Braden Milko of Templeton rounded out the top five.
Kiely West of Santa Ynez finished third in the varsity girls race. Orcutt Academy teammates Mackenzie Webb and Talia Mata finished fourth and fifth respectively.
Dennis Tello (sixth place), John Barajas (eighth), Jose Cruz (10th) and Jose Lepe (13th) rounded out the scoring behind Ayuso for Santa Maria's boys.
Jacob Brown led the Cabrillo boys with a seventh-place finish. Shane Silva (ninth place) led Santa Ynez and Lorenzo Papworth (11th) led Orcutt Academy.
Elena Estrada (ninth place) led the Cabrillo girls. Gracie Aviles (13th) was the top Nipomo girls runner. Nicole Cruz, in 22nd, was the first Santa Maria girl to finish. Haley Calderon, in 24th, led Lompoc.
Jedric Callado of Santa Maria won the boys junior varsity race in 16:57.
The league finals will take place Nov. 1 at Morro Bay. Teams will earn two points for every team they beat. The meet will follow an invitational meet scoring format.
Boys water polo
Santa Ynez 18, Nipomo 5
Santa Ynez has got the big pictures things figured out. Now, at 15-4 on the season, the Pirates are focused on fine-tuning things.
It didn’t look like they needed a tune-up Wednesday as they cruised past Nipomo.
Keller Haws led Santa Ynez with six goals and Henry Allen added four.
Hawes also had five assists and two steals. Nolan Morrison added three goals and Jacob Thielst had two goals, three assists and four steals. Clayton Davidson’s two goals and Joe Hemming’s one score rounded out the scoring for Santa Ynez.
Tristan Durbiano and Greg Clark each made two saves for Santa Ynez, which is now 3-0 in the LPL.
“We’re just working on being consistent right now,” Santa Ynez coach Jake Kalkowski said. “We’re doing a lot of good things in there, we’re focused on forming good habits going into the postseason.”
Arroyo Grande 13, Santa Barbara 5
The Eagles (13-0) made it two wins in two days, beating the Dons in a non-league match at Santa Barbara.
Arroyo Grande blanked Mission Prep 18-0 in a PAC 8 League match Tuesday to run its league record to 9-0.
Wednesday, freshman Maddy Ferreros scored a 6-0, 6-2, 6-3 sweep for the Eagles at No. 1 singles. Doubles tandems Peyton Dunkle and Emma Mostajo (6-4, 6-0, 6-1), and Bella Waterman and Lily Bickmore (6-3, 6-3, 7-5) also swept three sets for Arroyo Grande.