I had the good fortune to witness first-hand last night’s record shattering performance by the Newbury Park High School Boys Cross Country Team at the 39th Annual Woodbridge Cross Country Classic at the Silverlakes Sports Complex in Corona.
Newbury Park, along with several other local area teams, was invited to participate in the Sweepstakes finale, featuring 32 top teams.
(Truth be told, I wouldn’t miss this event as I have a son that runs on this fantastic team!).
Senior Nico Young obliterated the previous course record time of 13:58 with a time of 13:39.70, a time that MileSplit notes is the nation’s fastest high school 3 mile cross country effort of ALL TIME. Yes, you heard it right. He didn’t just break the record. He stomped all over it by over 15 seconds!
Nico is a certified rock star! I can certify that as I was witness to numerous fans requesting photos with this standout who also won the Woodbridge Invitational last year along with the California Division II cross country and 3200 meter track championships.
The Team’s Performance
The rest of the team last night included senior Jace Aschbrenner (2nd overall in 14:04.8), junior Nick Goldstein (7th in 14:25.6), sophomore Colin Sahlman (10th in 14:26.9), junior Daniel Appleford (24th in 14:36.7), freshman Lex Young (25th in 14:37.4) and junior Thomas McDonnell (33rd in 14:44.9). There were 240 participants in the race.
The top 5 scoring members of the team set a course record of 1:11:10.0, or an average of 14:14 per runner. This was not just the course record. It is the fastest high school 3 mile team time ever run on California soil!
This group of Newbury Park athletes has been training diligently all summer long for this season. And it shows. A second team of outstanding runners competed in the Rated race and finished in 4th place.
And let’s not forget the up and coming girls team, which competed in the 3 Mile Girls Sweepstakes event immediately preceding the boys event Saturday night. A fantastic showing by the girls resulted in 5th place, just 38 points away from the 1st place team. The top 5 scoring members of the girls team included junior Fiona Hawkins (18th overall in 16:53.7), senior Archana Mohandas (31st in 17:08.5), sophomore Sam McDonnell (35th in 17:12.3), freshman Ailish Hawkins (63rd in 17:39.8) and senior Gretchen Slattum (64th in 17:40.6).
Kudos to Coach Sean Brosnan, who is in his 4th year coaching at NPHS. He correctly predicted the strong team showing the day before the race in this runnerspace.com interview.
Other local top 25 showings in the Sweepstakes races included Thousand Oaks High School senior Michael Mireles (4th place overall in 14:17.6) and Moorpark High School senior Keith Murray (23rd in 14:35.9). Junior Jill Walker from Simi Valley High School finished 13th overall in 16:49.6.
On August 23rd, DyeStat/RunnerSpace published pre-season national high school cross country team rankings. Newbury Park was ranked 4th on this list, behind Great Oak, CA (#1), Corner Canyon, UT (#2) and Loudoun Valley, VA (#3).
Well guess what…Newbury Park beat the #1 ranked Great Oak last night by a score of 36 to 69. Great Oak is a fantastic program and last year’s winner at this event as well as reigning 2018 Division 1 state champions.
This could be interesting.
Cross Country Scoring
For those unfamiliar with how cross country scoring works, teams are allowed up to 7 runners in the race, but only the top 5 are included in the scoring. First place receives 1 point, 55th place receives 55 points, and so on. The fastest 5 runners on each team are added together for the score.
So no matter how fast an individual runs, for the team, what counts the most is the placing. The lowest possible point total is 1+2+3+4+5 for 15 points. Newbury Park scored 38 last night.
Aside from setting personal records, Nico and his team are focused on winning the California Division 2 state championship for the 2nd year in a row. Then they want to compete in the Nike Cross Nationals (NXN) and win the national title. Newbury Park finished 6th in last year’s NXN in its first appearance at that invitation-only event.
Congratulations, team! For updates, visit www.newburyparkcrosscountry.com.