For the second time in the past three years the Saddleback women's cross country team finished in the top-5 at the state finals after finishing fifth on Saturday in Fresno. Freshman Dana McGrath led the Gaucho charge, finishing 10th overall.
Saddleback finished fourth at the SoCal Finals two weeks earlier and knew it would be a tough battle in order to crack the top-5. Saddleback did as expected, finishing fifth and just an eyelash out of third place.
McGrath set a new program record at Woodward Park for Saddleback, finishing in 18:49.8. She was nearly five seconds clear of former Gaucho Angel Vallier, who ran the same course in 18:54.2 while finishing 13th back in 2016. As a result, McGrath earned All-America honors for her finish at the finals on Saturday.
Saddleback finished 10-16-32-34-36 in the team competition. Just behind McGrath in 16th place was Holly Morales, who ran the course in 18:58.2. Alexis Park was third on the team and 32nd overall in team competition with a time of 19:41.1. Right on her heels was Cayla Porter, who finished the course in 19:46.0 for 34th in the team competition. Megan Good was fifth for the Gauchos and 36th in the team competition with a time of 19:51.0.
Despite a fifth place finish, Saddleback was much closer to third than sixth. The Gauchos finished a full 41 points ahead of sixth place Glendale College but was just 10 points back of Mt. San Antonio College and 12 points back of third place Moorpark College. Los Angeles Harbor College collected the team championship followed by Hartnell College.
Saddleback's fifth place finish ties a program best as the Gauchos were also fifth in 2016.