Young family tradition continues: Lex Young wins Division II state title

Distant runners Lex (left) and Leo Young of Newbury Park signed with Stanford.
Distant runners Lex Young, left, and Leo Young of Newbury Park went one-two in the Division II state final. (Luca Evans)

The legacy of the running Young brothers at Newbury Park High will be talked about for years.

First there was Nico, a two-time state cross-country champion and Gatorade national runner of the year.

On Saturday at Woodward Park in Fresno, his brothers, twins Lex and Leo, ran one-two in the state Division II final, with Lex prevailing in 14 minutes 27.9 seconds, an all-time best for Division II and third best in course history.

Leo finished in 14:38.4 and Newbury Park teammate Aaron Sahlman took third place in 14:41.1. The Panthers won the Division II team championship, their fourth consecutive state title.

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Coach Tanya Brosnan said the twins' goal was to eclipse the course record but a quick pace during the second mile through some hills took a toll.

"Coming into today, the goal for those two was to try to break the record, the course record that was set by German Fernandez,” Brosnan said of the Young brothers. "They fell a little short — couple seconds there. Lex missed it. But I think what happened is they just ran that second mile so hard. They ran that second mile with all the hills faster than they’ve ever run it. They were a couple seconds off what our goal was coming through one mile.

"They get a little disappointed with themselves for not accomplishing what they set out to do. But it took so much out of them that they didn’t have the finish that they were hoping for … so that was a little bit of a bummer there.”

Brosnan wasn't disappointed with the team finish. She looks forward to competing in the Nike nationals in Portland, Ore., next weekend.

“It does say a lot about the program, about the culture that we’ve developed here,” she said of winning the state state. "Overall, for the team, it was great. No. 1 goal next week is to come away with the national win."

Temecula Great Oak won the boys' Division I team title, edging San Clemente. Matthew Donis of Palmdale ran 14:51.3 to win the individual title.

Fresno Buchanan took the Division I girls' team title, with Rancho Cucamonga finishing second.

In Division II girls, sophomore Sadie Engelhardt of Ventura won the individual title, running the fastest time of the day in 16:57.9

In Division III boys, sophomore Evan Noonan of Dana Hills raced to victory in 15:04.3

In Division IV boys, junior Emmanuel Perez of L.A. Cathedral won the individual title in 15:05.4. La Canada St. Francis took the team title, edging second-place Cathedral.

Payton Godsey of Westlake Village Oaks Christian became the first runner in school history to win an individual title, running 17:00.1 to take the Division IV girls' title by 27 seconds. Her father, Brian, used to be track and cross-country coach at Woodland Hills Taft. San Juan Capistrano JSerra won the team title.

Staff writer Luca Evans contributed to this report.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.