Young brothers lead Newbury Park to fourth straight state cross country title

After a blistering first mile and heavy push in the second, Lex Young could feel it in his legs.

“With a mile to go,” Young said, “I was feeling lactic.”

But it was the strange sensation as he crossed the finish line that the Newbury Park High senior will remember most from Saturday’s state championship performance.

“That was the first time I’ve finished a race alone,” Young said. “It was surreal.”

Young pulled away from twin brother Leo Young to win the CIF-State Division 2 boys cross country title in a record-breaking 14 minutes, 27.9 seconds.

Newbury Park senior Lex Young won the Division 2 state title at the CIF-State cross country championships Saturday at Woodward Park in Fresno.
Newbury Park senior Lex Young won the Division 2 state title at the CIF-State cross country championships Saturday at Woodward Park in Fresno.

“It just happened to be my day,” Lex Young said. “We both were capable of it for sure. It was who was feeling a little bit better in the moment. Next week, it’s anyone’s game.”

With the Young brothers providing a 1-2 punch, Newbury Park won its fourth straight state championship Saturday morning at Woodward Park in Fresno.

Leo Young was second in 14:38.4, Aaron Sahlman was third (14:41.1), Dev Doshi was seventh (15:17.2) and Brayden Seymour was 13th (15:29.1) as Newbury Park won Division II with a division-record 24 points to become the fifth boys cross country team to win four straight state titles.

“Everybody did their job,” Newbury Park coach Tanya Brosnan said. “That’s what stood out the most. They all had their own part to play on getting the win.”

Lex Young broke older brother Nico Young’s division record by 1.2 seconds.

“We nailed that second mile, but it proved to be pretty tolling,” he said. “When I saw the time, I was actually a little bit disappointed. That last mile was so difficult. The effort was there.”

Newbury Park senior Leo Young finished second in Division 2 at the CIF-State cross-country championships Saturday at Woodward Park in Fresno.
Newbury Park senior Leo Young finished second in Division 2 at the CIF-State cross-country championships Saturday at Woodward Park in Fresno.

Newbury Park’s 74:34 was the second fastest team time in CIF-State boys cross country history, only trailing last year’s record of 73:23.

The Panthers, who now own the three fastest times in state meet history and the six fastest times run at Woodward Park, officially advanced to this week’s Nike Cross Nationals in Oregon.

“It feels great,” Young said. “Teamwise, I think we’re in a good spot. As long as everyone executes, we should be good to go. … I’m stoked for nationals.”

Ventura sophomore Sadie Engelhardt and Oaks Christian junior Payton Godsey joined Young and Newbury Park as locals earning state titles, earning their program’s first individual state champions with the two fastest times in the girls meet.

Engelhardt hasn’t felt 100% for much of her season, but the Ventura star didn’t let a season slowed by a sinus infection and bronchitis end without climbing the podium in Fresno.

Ventura sophomore Sadie Engelhardt won the Division 2 state title at the CIF-State cross country championships Saturday at Woodward Park in Fresno.
Ventura sophomore Sadie Engelhardt won the Division 2 state title at the CIF-State cross country championships Saturday at Woodward Park in Fresno.

“I knew that I wouldn’t be 100% for state,” said Engelhardt, who estimated she was at 85%. “It was just another race I had to run to get fit.”

Engelhardt won the Division 2 girls title by a margin of 34 seconds. Her time of 16:57.9 was the fastest of the day and third-fastest in division history, eclipsing her freshman time by a second.

“We talked about segmenting the course up and attacking each part,” Ventura coach Tyree Cruz said. “It comes down to her racing herself. It’s a little tough to do when you’re not feeling your best out there. She wanted to be the fastest time of the day. She’s a competitor.”

Englehardt saw her performance as “a badge of honor.”

“It’s just a confidence booster,” Engelhardt said. “This season hasn’t gone my way. It’s hard to stay mentally tough when that happens. But I feel like I showed my resilience and I have overcome some obstacles that I haven’t overcome in the past.”

Engelhardt and freshman Aelo Curtis, who finished third in 17:42.1, helped the Cougars to a fifth-place finish with 189 points. Freshman Melanie True was 46th (19:12.7), sophomore Bailey Burnham was 90th (19:48.6) and freshman Sofia Hernandez was 101th (19:57.7).

“It was huge getting Melanie back,” Cruz said. “She was out for three weeks with a hip injury. She did spectacular with being out of it like she was.”

Engelhardt and Curtis, who is also an accomplished soccer player, plan to run in the Champs Sports regionals this weekend at Mt. San Antonio College, with an eye on qualifying for nationals at Balboa Park in San Diego.

“I chose Champs because of that extra two weeks that I get of recovery and training,” Engelhart said. “So I can possibility get up to 100%.”

Ventura sophomore Sadie Engelhardt won the Division 2 state title at the CIF-State cross country championships Saturday at Woodward Park in Fresno.
Ventura sophomore Sadie Engelhardt won the Division 2 state title at the CIF-State cross country championships Saturday at Woodward Park in Fresno.

Newbury Park finished second to Los Altos in the Division 2 girls race, 80-93.

Senior Ailish Hawkins was fourth (17:48.1), sophomore Tiffany Sax was ninth (18:01), freshman Sophia Grant was 15th (18:18.7), junior Maya Natarajan was 29th (18:50.7) and junior Giselle Gonzalez was 56th (19:22.7).

“We just didn’t quite get that win,” Brosnan said. “It’s a bummer that we couldn’t get the win, but I’m proud of the way the girls performed.”

Newbury Park did not qualify for NXN and will not race in any of the other national competitions.

“It was going to be NXN or nothing,” Brosnan said. “They’ll take a short break here and then start building up for track season.”

In the first race of the morning, Godsey won the Division 4 girls title in 17:00.1, a margin of 27 seconds over the field.

“It was pretty nice being first on the course,” Godsey said. “We got to warm it up for everyone else.”

Godsey was second to Chiara Dailey of La Jolla at the mile mark.

Oaks Christian junior Payton Godsey won the Division 4 state title at the CIF-State cross country championships Saturday at Woodward Park in Fresno.
Oaks Christian junior Payton Godsey won the Division 4 state title at the CIF-State cross country championships Saturday at Woodward Park in Fresno.

“We were pushing together through about a mile and a half,” Godsey said. “I got up the hill and I felt an opportunity open. There was no looking back in that last mile.”

Godsey ran the fourth-fastest Division 4 time in history and seventh best among locals at the state meet.

“I was really happy with it, although it hurt a little bit to not quite get under 17 (minutes),” Godsey said. “The clocked looked like it was under when I crossed. It gives me something to look forward to next year.”

Godsey led Oaks Christian to a runner-up finish as a team, 71-82, behind JSerra.

Sarah Colebrooke was 11th (18:09.0), Grace Geyer was 21st (18:41.3), Gianna Sanchez was 22nd (18:41.5) and Alexandra Reierson was 43rd (19:20.7) for the Lions.

“It was a pretty darn good day,” Oaks Christian coach Wes Smith said. “We wished our 5-6-7 girls could have been a few seconds closer, but they ran a great team performance. We couldn’t control what else was going on.

“I’m very pleased with what the girls did.”

Although Godsey qualified for NXN, she will instead join her team next week at the Garmin Running Lane nationals in Huntsville, Alabama.

“I wanted to stay with my team at a national meet,” Godsey said.

Seven of the top 13 finishers and nine of the 19 in the Division 2 boys race were from Ventura County.

Ventura junior Anthony Fasthorse followed the Newbury Park triumvirate to finish fourth in 15:08.5, which earned him a berth to NXN.

“Fasthorse was focused all week,” Cruz said.

Ventura junior Anthony Fasthorse finished fourth in Division 2 at the CIF-State cross country championships Saturday at Woodward Park in Fresno.
Ventura junior Anthony Fasthorse finished fourth in Division 2 at the CIF-State cross country championships Saturday at Woodward Park in Fresno.

Junior Micah Grossman was 12th (15:26.1), junior Nick DeGeorge was 16th (15:35.1), junior Hollis Costa was 50th (16:08.1) and junior Grant Baysinger was 84th (16:35.9) as the Cougars finished third with 129 points.

“They did pretty well considering so much sickness was going around the team,” Cruz said.

Westlake senior KC Barber finished 20th (15:38.8) in Division 2.

The Thousand Oaks boys placed sixth in Division 3 as Baptiste Garderes was 36th (16:16.8), Liam Papavasiliou was 45th (16:20.9), Oliver Clippinger-Zimmerman was 64th (16:36.6), Cooper Bumbarger was 84th (16:49.5), and Ryan Morreale was 104th (17:06.8).

Tyler Smith was 19th (15:58.6), Thomas White was 56th (16:29.0), Hunter Lee was 61st (16:34.2), David Raigoza was 71st (16:41.6), and Christian Brady Breton was 120th (17:15.0) as the Moorpark boys placed seventh in Division 3.

The Moorpark girls were 18th in Division 3 as Samantha Maggiora was 55th (19:32.8), Kristen Gibbel was 107th (20:22.8), Jane Layton was 111th (20:25.5), Addison Pereira was 126th (20:51.3), and Olivia De La Cruz was 127th (20:52.4).

Jonah Billings was 10th (15:32.4), Braeden Elliott was 28th (16:00.7), Chance Leandro was 59th (16:33.9), Baker Carlisle was 96th (17:09.6), and Kai Bensen was 108th (17:22.8) as the Foothill Tech boys were eighth in Division 4.

Oaks Christian senior Ethan Smith finished seventh in Division 4 in 15:28.5, setting the school record for a state meet.

The Oaks Christian boys were 10th in Division 4 as Cooper McNee was 61st (16:36.4), Christian Yoder was 71st (16:48.6), Joshua Mitchell was 80th (16:55.2), and Morgan Malloy was 104th (17:18.1).

“Not running with two of our top runners changed the trajectory of what we could accomplish but they got out of there and ran boldly,” Smith said. “It was a fantastic day.”

The Lions will continue their season at RunningLane this week.

Joe Curley is a staff writer for The Star. He can be reached at joe.curley@vcstar.com. For more coverage, follow @vcspreps on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

This article originally appeared on Ventura County Star: Young twins lead Newbury Park to 4th straight state cross country title