Oakdale boys shine, finish in fourth place at CIF cross country meet

·2 min read

Of the runners competing in the 10 cross country races contested Saturday at the CIF State Meet, the Division III boys were the first to get the call.

That might not seem like the best scenario for some, given for the cold morning conditions at Fresno’s Woodward Park.

But for members of the talented Oakdale High team, the early start might have worked to their advantage.

With all five scoring runners finishing the 5-kilometer course under 17 minutes, the Mustangs finished in fourth place, crushing the goal set by their coach, Guy Fowler.

“It’s one of the highlights of my career,” said Fowler. who has coached cross county the last 32 years, including 15 at Oakdale. “We were hoping for Top 10. We knew if we were Top 10, we ran really well.”

The performance by the Mustangs was among several highlights recorded by the contingent of Stanislaus District competitors:

  • Sonora’s Adin Dibble earned a Top 10 individual medal by finishing fourth in 15 minutes, 24.3 seconds. He was the fastest area competitor, and was in second place after the first mile. He finished 30th overall among the 986 male runners representing five divisions. His teammate, Broen Holman, a freshman, also medaled by finishing eighth in 15:34.2.

  • Pitman’s Damian Garcia finished 24th in 15:57.0.

  • The Beyer boys placed 17th among the 25 Division III teams and were led by Nathanael Olsen, who finished 60th in 16:23.0.

  • Oakdale’s Haleigh Humble led the Mustangs girls team, which placed 20th out of 25 teams, by finishing 26th in 18:48.9.

It was the Oakdale boys who withstood an early 8:30 a.m. start and improved their position with each passing mile.

“I think it was good for us being the first our so they didn’t see all the races,” Fowler said. “If you watch other people run, and they run pretty fast, that can freak them out. (Our team is) pretty astute to running. They ran their own race.”

Oakdale was led by Caleb Cavanaugh (15:37.4), who finished 12th, and Dax Daley (15:57.2), who was 28th.

They also received strong support from Simon Appel (16:25.5), who spent most of the season on a stationary bike after nursing an injured knee, and sophomore twins Jackson and Mason Oliveira, who fittingly had near identical times, finishing in 16:49.2 and 16:49.9, respectively.

Their efforts allowed the Mustangs to close the gap. They were 14th after the first mile, seventh after the second and narrowly missed a third-place finish that would have put them on the team trophy stand.

Fowler lauded both the boys and girls Oakdale teams, who were the first in school history to qualify for the State Meet.

“Having both teams made it really special for us, the school and the community of Oakdale,” he said.

Modesto’s Melissa Barajas, seen in the Girls Division I race at the CIF state cross country championships held at Woodward Park Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021 in Fresno.
Modesto’s Melissa Barajas, seen in the Girls Division I race at the CIF state cross country championships held at Woodward Park Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021 in Fresno.
Oakdale’s Dax Daley, center, after finishing the Boys Division I race at the CIF state cross country championships held at Woodward Park Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021 in Fresno.
Oakdale’s Dax Daley, center, after finishing the Boys Division I race at the CIF state cross country championships held at Woodward Park Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021 in Fresno.
Oakdale’s Caleb Cavanaugh, left, kicks his leg with Dax Daley to the right at the start of the Boys Division III race at the CIF state cross country championships held at Woodward Park Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021 in Fresno.
Oakdale’s Caleb Cavanaugh, left, kicks his leg with Dax Daley to the right at the start of the Boys Division III race at the CIF state cross country championships held at Woodward Park Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021 in Fresno.
Beyer’s Nathanael Olsen warms up before the Boys Division III race at the CIF state cross country championships held at Woodward Park Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021 in Fresno.
Beyer’s Nathanael Olsen warms up before the Boys Division III race at the CIF state cross country championships held at Woodward Park Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021 in Fresno.
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