The Saddleback cross country team finished off a historic season on Saturday with a ninth place finish at the state meet in Fresno. Ulysses Orozco broke all the program records, finishing second overall in the state.
Orozco lined up against 207 others on Saturday and only one was able to beat him as he shattered the program record with a time of 20:16.2. He covered the 4-mile trek at an average of 5:04.1-per-mile, and just 6.4 seconds behind eventual winner Ethan Walker of Canyons.
"Uly is one of a kind," head coach Matt Sherman said of Orozco. "He's the greatest runner we have ever had in the program. He is one of those guys that is going to be successful at whatever he does in life."
Saddleback finished ninth out of 28 teams in the race, finishing seventh among programs from Southern California. Despite 11 of the top 13 teams being from Southern California, it was Northern California power American River that captured the state title.
Orozco was one of six Gaucho harriers that finished in the top-75 in the race. He was followed by Wyndal Skarsten (21:40.6) and Miles Brubacher (21:40.7), who finished side-by-side in 55th and 56th place. Just 13 seconds later two more Gauchos crossed the finish line in succession when Ronen Skarsten (21:53.6) and Brian Aguirre (21:54.4) finished in 70th and 71st place. On their heels was Mark Delgado (21:55.2) in 73rd.
The ninth place finish was the second best finish in program history behind a 1997 squad that finished sixth overall.
"I'm really proud of these guys," Sherman said. "After starting the season with a van accident, things could have gone one-of-two ways. They rallied together and had a heck of a season."