Orange County Cross Country Championships

Valerie Pham, Photojournalist

On October 17th, 2014 the YLHS cross country team attended the Orange County Cross Country Championships. Both the boys and girls varsity teams took home first place trophies in their respective races. They made YLHS cross country history by taking home our teams first ever recorded first place titles at the Orange County Championships on the same day. The girls varsity beat out eighteen other schools including our rivalry school Esperanza to take home our first place title. The boys team took the lead by placing before nineteen other schools with a score difference of 169 points from rivalry Esperanza. Overall, the girls varsity placed seventh out of the seventy three schools there and the boys varsity placed eighth out of the seventy seven schools that attended the Orange County Championships.


The girls were led by freshmen Sarah Heckel (18:23), who was followed very closely by sophomores Ashley Lee (18:28) and Alyssa Armendariz (18:30), who set their own personal records that same race. The trio was followed by the junior team captain, Rachel Iida (18:36) who just recently came back after recovering from a concussion. The four girls stayed within seconds of each other throughout the whole race letting no other schools get in between them. The top five girls in each team determines the team’s overall score in that race, so sophomore Nirali Patel’s (19:35) time was significant to the teams big win. She held on throughout the whole race finishing with a 1 minute and 12 second spread between herself and Sarah Heckel, securing Yorba Linda’s first place spot in the race. Nirali was followed by senior team captain Sammy Serna (19:59) and junior Taylor Asciak (20:01).  This was the very first time that the girls were able to beat Esperanza, who came in second place with a team time of 1:33:59 while Yorba Linda had a team time of 1:33:32.


The boys were led by junior Henry Silva (15:29) who placed first overall in his race and junior Zack Joseph (15:44) who placed third in the race. The two boys pushed each other all through the race leading the whole pack with just one other runner. Senior team captain Jack Thurston (16:07) and junior team captain Tomás Aragone (16:08) placed ninth and eleventh, keeping hold of the teams place at first. The boys first place spot was won when sophomore Brandon Papin (16:35) finished, securing a 1 minute and 6 second spread between him and Henry Silva. The boys were finished off by sophomore Brian Lee (16:38) and senior Steve Provenzano (16:56). Henry Silva, Zack Joseph, Jack Thurston, and Tomás Aragone all place in the top 100 individual meet results for the men. Henry at nineteenth, Zack at thirty-seventh, Jack at seventy-fourth, and Tomás at seventy-ninth place.The boys finished with a total team time of 1:20:03. The boys kept themselves motivated all through the difficult course and deservedly took home their individual and team titles.


The whole team went home champions after completing the difficult Irvine Regional Park course that was made up of two steep hills, a winding road, gravel, and an endless amount of running. Sophomore Nirali Patel said, “Cross Country is not an easy sport, it takes hard work and dedication, which I believe was shown by my team and I at the OCC’s Friday. In this win we not only defeated Esperanza and eighteen other schools, but this shows me that the season isn’t ending, it has only just begun. With Mt. Sac, league finals and CIFs just around the corner, I am excited to continue this season the same way we started it, strong, determined, and ready.” The varsity teams have both been ranked among the top ten teams for the first time in YLHS history out of the over one hundred and ninety schools in our CIF division. The boys varsity team is currently ranked at number eight in their division. The girls varsity team is not only ranked at number seven in the CIF Southern division, but they are ranked at number ten in the state. Without the tireless and endless efforts of our coaches and runners, our school would not have a recognition that honorable. The YLHS Mustang runners plan on finishing off their season strong.