As he approached the finish line on the Morro Bay High School track Wednesday, Santa Maria sophomore Yair Torres raised his arms skyward in triumph.

Torres was about to become the inaugural Ocean League boys varsity individual cross country champion, and his team was about to become the inaugural Ocean League boys varsity team champ.

Torres pulled away from runner-up Sergio Jaracuaro of Pioneer Valley to win the three-mile race in 17 minutes, 19.40 seconds to Jaracuaro's 17:44.20. Runners ran mostly on campus, along with a rugged stretch on the sandy beach behind the high school.

"It's my first league championship, and I'm very excited," Torres said afterward.

"It was fun to run with Sergio. He pushed me."

Santa Maria scored 28 points. Pioneer Valley was a solid second with 48. The Saints repeated as league champs, though they were in a different league this year.

Santa Maria won the Los Padres League title in 2017. The Saints, along with most of the other area programs, including Pioneer Valley, moved from the CIF Southern Section to the Central Section earlier this year.

"Did we finish in the top three and make (the CIF Central Section Championship)?" an anxious Templeton runner asked a teammate as he looked at the results.

He needn't have worried. Under Central Section guidelines, any varsity team that wants to compete in the Central Section Championships can run there. (As it was, Templeton finished third in the six-team field with 95 points, a finish that would have gotten the Eagles into the Southern Section prelims. Templeton was another team that moved to the Central Section).

Morro Bay dominated the varsity girls’ race and won the team championship with 21 points. Santa Maria was a strong second at 57, the Saints' girls’ best team finish at a league finals.

Morro Bay sophomore Adrienne Frere passed Ashley Hurdle of Templeton in the last 200 to win the varsity girls race in 22:19.40 to Hurdle's 22:19.60.

"Oh, yeah, my kick has been good this year," said Frere. "I've really been working on it.

"It's very exciting to win the league championship."

Six Morro Bay runners finished in the top 10. Mackenzie Webb of Orcutt Academy finished third in 22:42.20. Arelise Dempsey and Peyton Schemmer of Morro Bay finished fourth and fifth, in 23:02.50 and 23:12.60 respectively.

All of the first eight runners in the boys’ varsity race were from Santa Maria or Pioneer Valley, and all of Santa Maria's five scoring runners were in the top seven.

Santa Maria's Jedric Callado (17:48.40), Luis Diaz (18:05.00) and Efrain Gutierrez (18:22.60) finished third, fourth and fifth respectively.

Avery Francisco of Pioneer Valley finished sixth, Dennis Tello of Santa Maria was seventh, and Noel Santiago of Santa Maria was eighth.

Templeton's girls finished third with 61 points. Pioneer Valley, Orcutt Academy and Mission Prep did not score.

Ariel Heu, in 19th, was the top Pioneer Valley finisher.

The Templeton boys scored 95 points. Orcutt Academy (112), Mission Prep (127) and Morro Bay (132) trailed the third-place Eagles.

Kaiden Bennett, in 18th place, was the top Orcutt Academy finisher.

"Our guys got everything they wanted to out of this meet," said Santa Maria coach Brian Wallace, who is also the school's athletic director.

"Any time you win a league championship, it feels good. I like the position our team is in before the Central Section meet."

Santa Maria's boys are in Division 2. Santa Maria's girls are in Division 3. The Central Section Meet is set for next Thursday at Woodward Park in Fresno.

The state meet is scheduled for Nov. 24 at Woodward Park.

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The Santa Maria junior varsity girls and boys each scored commanding wins. The girls scored a perfect 15 points. The boys scored 17 points.

Santa Maria runners took the junior varsity races. Amy Perez won the girls race in 24:35.10. Chris Cervantes won the boys race in 18:51.90. 

Mountain League Finals

Damien Gavilan led a 1-2-3 finish for Paso Robles at the Fairbanks Course outside San Luis Obispo, and the Bearcats took the inaugural Mountain League Final.

Paso Robles is in its first year in the Central Section.

Gavilan won in 15 minutes, 57 seconds over the 5K course. Devin Diaz of Nipomo finished sixth and Joseph Domingues Jr. of St. Joseph finished seventh.

Cooper Limon led Arroyo Grande with a ninth-place finish. Fabricio De La Cruz, in 23rd, was the first Righetti runner to finish.

Boys water polo

Righetti 11, Fresno Clovis North 10

FRESNO — The No. 3 Warriors (21-11) scored a stunning Central Section Division 1 semifinal win over the No. 2 Broncos (23-8) at Clovis North.

Jaden Green scored the last of his four goals with three seconds left to give the Warriors the win. Green brought Righetti to a 10-all tie with 1:23 left.

Righetti trailed 9-7 when the fourth quarter started and was down 9-6 at one point in the third.

The Warriors will play top seed Clovis Buchanan at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Fresno State for the Division 1 championship.

Wednesday, "Trey Watkins came up big on both ends of the pool, scoring three goals and defending the other team's top player," Righetti co-coach Kyle Shaffer said in a text.

"Layne Porter drew four ejections to help us on the power play. Lastly, Tanner Scott was a wall when we needed him late."

Scott, the Warriors' goalkeeper, made 13 saves.

Kai Karamitsos scored two goals for the Warriors. Porter and Ryan Lucas scored a goal each.

Clovis North beat Righetti 11-9 in the Steve Pal Tournament earlier in the year. 

Girls water polo

Arroyo Grande 10, Clovis North 6

Haley Bartenetti made 11 saves, and five Eagles scored as the top seed moved into the Division 1 final in their first year in the Central Section with a semifinal win at Arroyo Grande.

The Eagles won several sectional championships when they played in the Southern Section.

Sam Hazel and Sam Vitt popped in three goals apiece for the Eagles. Abby Bartenetti scored two. Hannah Bloom and Caitie Sandberg put in a goal apiece.

Arroyo Grande will play for the Division 1 championship at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. The site is tentatively the Eagles' pool.

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Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.