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Cross country teams compete in CIF championships; Jones runs all the way to the State meet

Logan Jones ran his heart out this season for the Cross Country team, ending up at the State Championships. Photo contributed

From postseason to league finals, the AHS boys’ and girls’ varsity cross country teams made it their mission to perform at their highest this season, and they did just that. Both teams made some remarkable achievements, including making it to the CIF Central Section Championships.

Atascadero star runner and senior Logan Jones individually qualified for the CIF State Cross Country Championships and placed 79th in his division out of 197 runners on Nov. 30 at Woodward Park in Fresno.

Both the girls’ and boys’ teams qualified for the CIF Central Section Championships and competed at Woodward Park in Fresno on Nov. 21 against schools from all over California. The AHS teams had a total of 14 entries into CIF. The AHS boys’ team placed 6th and the girls’ team placed 13th overall at the championships. With a total of over 1,200 entries, AHS competed against many different schools, including San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, Arroyo Grande, and Santa Maria. Each race featured a 5,000 meter division course with the option of 1-4 man runs.

At the end of the regular season, Atascadero had placed 4th overall at the Mountain League cross country championships on Nov. 7 at the Cuesta Fairbanks Cross Country Course.

One of the highlights of the season was at at the very challenging Mt. San Antonio College Cross Country Invitational on Oct. 25. The AHS boys’ team boys’ team finished in second place overall in the boys’ varsity race. This was the highest team placement for Atascadero boys ever. The boys’ varsity team was led in that race by Jones, who finished 9th overall. Robyn Schmidt, the girls’ cross country coach said, “A feat never before achieved for our boys’ or girls’ team at Mt. Sac. It was a very rough day, with lots of tough hills and heat, but it was very exciting and motivating for the boys as they prepared for the Section and State meets. At each race all season it was so awesome to see Logan near the front followed by Johnathan Dolan then the Atascadero Orange Pack of Alex Orozco, Ryan Bianco, Calvin Hennessy and Kyle Pericic.” Jones also got first place in his race with a time of 16:20 for a three mile course. Nick Riesz, the boys’ cross country assistant coach said, “The boys’ team is the best we’ve had in my 20 years of coaching. To my knowledge no Atascadero boy has ever won a race outright at Mt. Sac.”

Throughout the season, the girls’ team has been strong and steady, despite the many obstacles and injuries during the season. One varsity runner, junior Anna Archibald, who lead the girls’ team, suffered a great deal with injuries this season. Coach Schmidt said, “She was a tough competitor, but did not make it to State this year. We have so much confidence in her making it to State next year and likely pulling Grace Ramsey, Sydney Culp and others along with her. Logan Jones, senior and ASB president, has had a great season of his own. But he has also used his experience and energetic personality to motivate and bring together the varsity boys team.” Both the boys’ and girls’ teams were very cohesive and were able to have other schools watching what they would accomplish next.

Some other highlights of the season include some of the teams’ early victories. The boys’ team managed to place 8th overall at the Asics Clovis Invitational race on Oct. 12. On Oct. 2 AHS the girls’ team competed at CCAA Mid Season Invite and placed 5th overall. At the Richard C. Brugs XC Invitational on Sep. 28 in the 5,000 meters, Varsity-small school category Atascadero placed 3rd overall in team scores. The boys’ placed 6th and the girls’ placed 13th overall at the 2019 Morro Bay Invitational on Sep. 14.

Both AHS varsity teams had a winning season that led them all the way to the CIF Central Section and State Championships. With the loss of many great seniors from both the girls’ and boys’ cross country teams this year, underclassmen will have to continue the competitiveness of the team in order to make it to CIF again next season, but this one was for the record books.

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