The Saddleback women's cross country team finished in second place at the CCCAA Regional Finals on Friday in San Diego. It was the best finish in program history and sets the stage for the best finish ever at the state championships in two weeks.
Saddleback crossed one hurdle last week when they captured its second straight Orange Empire Conference championship and now can add another accomplishment to their expanding treasure chest. The second place finish topped fourth place finishes by the Gauchos at the SoCal Championships in both 2018 and 2016, and makes for an interesting scenario in two weeks at Woodward Park in Fresno.
Dana McGrath finished in 11th place overall to pace Saddleback on Friday, finishing the 5k trek in 20:08.6. She was less than a second from a top-10 finish in a race where Ventura's Olivia Burton blazed to a win in 19:21.6. Following the meet, McGrath was named to the Southern California All-Region Team as a result of finishing in the top 14.
Four other Saddleback harriers finished in the top 30 overall as the Gauchos finished 11-22-23-24-27 in the team competition. Nayelli Hernandez was next to cross the line for Saddleback when she finished 22nd in 20:39.7. Right behind her was Holly Morales (20:47.8) and Cayla Porter (20:48.9), who finished 23rd and 24th, respectively. Alexis Park finished fifth among the Saddleback contingent with a 27th place finish (20:57.4).
Saddleback will head to Fresno for the CCCAA State Championships on November 23. The Gauchos are looking to improve on fifth place finishes at the state finals in both 2018 and 2016.