In his illustrious coaching career, Campolindo’s Chuck Woolridge had never coached two teams that won California Interscholastic Federation state cross country championship titles in the same season.
Campolindo’s girls squad competed in the second race of the day at Woodward Park in Fresno. One of the team favorites entering the Division III girls championship race, Campolindo placed four runners in the top 26 and won the team title by 80 points with a score of 74. It was the Campo girls’ second state title in three years and fourth in nine years.
Two races later, Campolindo’s boys team stunned the Division III boys field with a title win. Maria Carrillo runners finished one-two, but Campo placed all five of its scorers in the top 18 for an outstanding winning score of 47.
“We had a lot of confidence going into the girls race, given their performance at the NCS meet,” Woolridge said. “My philosophy as a coach is that nobody has to be a hero, as long as you execute. I wanted the boys to know I was proud of their effort. But the boys today, I think, shocked us. If we had a great performance we would have a podium team.”
Woolridge said the boys squad didn’t know they had won the state title until they arrived at the awards ceremony. It was the first Camplindo boys team in school history to win a state cross country team title, and also the first boys teams championship of Woolridge’s career. In addition to the girls titles at Campolindo, Woolridge’s girls teams at College Park won state titles in 2003 and 2004.
In Saturday’s Division III boys race, Campo’s Dylan Gunn placed fifth in the race with a time of 15:33.8 for the legendary 3.1-mile course. Teammate Dylan Cronin added a ninth-place finish ni 15:39.1
But the key to Campo’s win was the 16-18 finish by its third through fifth runners. Freshman Alexander Lodewick was 16th in 15:48.2, followed by Cayden Hein (15:52.2) and Owen Lekki (15:52.6).
“When I saw that cluster of three boys in the top 25, I said ‘Oh my gosh, we’re really in this,’” Woolridge said.
In the Division III girls race, Paloma Hancock led Campolindo with a fifth-place finish in 18:04.7. Other Campolindo scorers were Ellie Buckley (11th, 18:19.1), Alicia Hober (21st, 18:40.2), Emma Smith (26th, 18:57.9) and Zoe Theulier (34th, 19:15.1).
“Our strength was definitely that we had a small pack margin and not only five girls, but six girls at or near 19 minutes,” Woolridge said.
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Source:: The Mercury News – Sports