Nico Sizzles; Great Oak Leads Repeat CIF-SS Champs

Coach Sean Brosnan said Nico Young wasn't at 100 percent effort in his stunning record-romp over the Riverside Championship Course on Saturday at the CIF-Southern Section Finals. (Credit: Jeffrey Parenti)


RIVERSIDE -- "He may be the best distance kid I've ever seen."  Those were the words of longtime and nationally acclaimed announcer, Tim O'Rourke, when reflecting back at what ended up being one of the greatest performances ever witnessed in Southern Section history.

Going into Saturday's Southern Section Finals, Newbury Park's Nico Young indicated that he wanted to break his own record on the 3-mile Riverside Championship Course, set when he captured the Division 2 individual title a year ago.

With one move, and that one move coming with his first stride off the startling line, Young never took his foot off the accelerator.  Hitting the first 800 meters at a blazing 2:13 clip, he came through the mile mark at 4:32 and seemingly, only continued to get more comfortable.  

Young not only shattered his previous record but his 13:54.10 further expounded on the fact that Young is the greatest prep distance runner in California state history!   With senior teammate Jace Aschbrenner running 14:23.20 to also break the previous course record (14:24.20), Newbury Park added another team time course record on its resume in averaging a head turning 14:40 per boy!  

Young and the Newbury Park boys were two of eight either team or individual champions to defend 2018 titles, including the continued Division 1 dominance of the Great Oak program, which extended boys and girls streaks despite not being at full strength with either team. 

Others to defend during Saturday morning's fast-moving event on a rapidly warming day in Riverside, were St. Margaret's Jackson Adelman (Division 5 Boys), Palos Verdes (Division 3 Girls), St. Margaret's (Division 5 Girls) and Villiage Christian junior Mia Barnett who won her THIRD CONSECUTIVE Division 5 Girls title. 

Two other individual champions with history to note: JSerra Senior Anthony Grover and Pasadena Mayfield junior Audrey Suarez were both State Meet champions last fall who did not win Southern Section titles last year but did so on Saturday. For Grover, it was his second title and first since 2017. He also has two fourth-place finishes, including last year when health issues contributed to late-season inconsistency last fall. Suarez won her first CIF-SS titles after back-to-back second place finishes. 

The top seven teams in all divisions, boys and girls, qualified for the CIF-State Championships scheduled for Nov. 30 at Woodward Park in Fresno. The top five individuals not on a qualifying team who placed among the top 20 in their division races also advanced to the meet in Fresno. 


Here's a division-by-division look at the rest of Saturday's Southern Section Championships: