Cross Country Team Makes History, Wins City Title


XC runners Levi Premer (center) and Juan Hernandez (right) were part of the first Venice team to qualify for State Finals. Photo provided by Levi Premer.

Mariana Salinas , Sports Editor

The cross country team had a great ending to their season. Previously, they were in Division I and in their second season in Division II, for the first time in school history, the boys varsity cross country team won a city title and advanced to state finals. Last year the team placed fifth in the city, this year they won the Division II title.

On Nov. 24, the Venice cross country team traveled to Fresno to compete in the state finals. The boys varsity team placed 23rd in Division II in the state out of approximately 500 cross country school teams.

On Nov. 17, the varsity cross country team competed at city finals, winning by 18 points out of 16 teams.

Photo provided by Levi Premer.

“When I came to Venice and I was a runner here, I was very very proud of being a Venice runner and now that we made history, I am super proud to be a Venice coach, I’ve always been proud but now it’s special,” said coach Vidal Sandoval. “We’re the first ones to make history and no matter what happens in the future, this will be the first team to ever make it to State Division II.”

Sophomore Juan Hernandez, who had a breakout year, led the team all season and placed third overall in the city. Followed by Levi Premer (second place), Kaleb Macias (11th place), Henry Friedman (13th place), Israel Lopez (15th place), Emanuel Cadena (16th place), and Ivan Mendez (36th place).

“We all dreamed of going to state and of course you need to work hard,¨ said Hernandez, ¨you got to give everything you got, and like Coach said you gotta believe that you can do this, and we believe in each other. It took time and we did it.”

The girls varsity team placed third in the city this year, led by Andrea Gallardo. She came in third overall in the city and also qualified for state. Estefania Flores and Adali Fuentes came shy of qualifying for state, placing ninth and 10th, but needing to place eighth or lower.

Next year the boys varsity team looks forward to defend their title while the girls varsity team seeks to make a run for the city title.

“It’s, like, probably the best way to finish my cross country season at State,”  said senior Israel Lopez, who will run in college. “It was the best way to go out, it’s an accomplishment just making it there. Hopefully the boys make it back next year.”

“Thank you to Mr. Daniel Santos, Mr.Gabriel Griego, and Mr. Richard Valerio for their hard work and assistance of putting together the logistics to make this trip possible,” said Sandoval.