Tartan Cross Country Teams Outpace Competition at First League Meet
St. Margaret's hosted the Orange Coast League meet on Wednesday.
St. Margaret's hosted the first league cross country meet of the season at Oak Canyon Park in Silverado, with the home course advantage paying dividends for the Tartans.
"We purposely picked this course because it's not easy. Every week, we challenge the team to embrace difficult workouts in the surrounding foothills to have this advantage on specific courses," said head coach Patrick Bendzick. "The team was impressively tough and resilient. It will serve us well heading into the championship portion of the season."
The girls team posted a decisive 19-point victory over second-place Santa Ana, behind the race-winning performance of Sarah Bendzick. Coco Johnson, Cathy Chou, and Lauren Driver finished in 7th, 8th, and 9th, respectively to seal the win.
"This was the first time we have had our full varsity girls roster together in the same race, and they showed why they are one of the top-ranked teams in the CIF division," said coach Bendzick. "Once they connect mid-race, they keep each other highly accountable and are hard to pull apart. I was really impressed with their teamwork today."
The boys finished second out of seven teams behind a very deep Santa Ana squad. Everett Capelle went unchallenged for a wire-to-wire victory by almost a minute. His control of the field was impressive, but Jared Botuchis produced the performance of the day. Botuchis was locked in a heated battle with three Santa Ana runners and took them to the wire. His efforts kept the Tartans in the hunt for a victory heading into the final half mile.
The Tartans also found success at the lower levels of competition. Greta Blau coasted to a first-place finish in the girls JV race, while Zaiden Gurusamy won the boys frosh/soph event for St. Margaret's.
The Tartans will hit the road again next weekend as they travel to the Clovis Invitational in Fresno, the same course used for the state championships and is regarded as an essential mid-season status check for the team.
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