Gauchos soar to new heights at state finals

Gauchos soar to new heights at state finals

The Saddleback women's cross country finished in second place at the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) State Championships on Saturday at Woodward Park in Fresno.  It was the best finish in the history of the program. 

Saddleback entered the meet knowing they had a chance to do something special.  If they finished fourth or higher, they would have the top finish in program history.  The Gauchos seized the moment, finishing in second place and setting a new program standard.

Saddleback knew it would be a tall task to out-duel either Glendale College or Hartnell College, who entered as the favorites to win the state title after winning their respective regional finals.  The Gauchos grabbed hold of the moment, finishing second and outdueling both Mt. San Antonio College and Hartnell to finish second in the state.

Dana McGrath was her normal self, leading the pack of Gaucho harriers with a sixth place finish at the state finals.  She covered the 5k course in 18:48.7, finishing 21.2 seconds off the pace set by Moorpark's Sophia Cortina.  She was followed by teammates Nayelli Hernandez (18), Holly Morales (19), Cayla Porter (28) and Alexis Park (38), who all finished in the top-40 in the team competition.

McGrath earned All-America honors as a result of finishing in the top 14 at the state finals.

"It's a special group of kids we had this season," head coach Matt Sherman said.  "They continued to improve every week and peaked at the right time.  It's a great moment for the program!"

Saddleback's second place finish eclipsed a fifth place finish at the state finals in both 2018 and 2016.