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Payton Godsey, the CIF-State Division IV cross country individual champion and Division III boys team champion Oakdale (SJ) are heading to Huntsville, Alabama later this week to compete in the Garmin RunningLane Cross Country Championships 2022.
RunningLane is one of three national-level high school cross country championships scheduled for Saturday, as is also the Champs West Regionals at Mt. San Antonio College.
Eight teams from CA and another 10 individuals are scheduled to travel to Portland for Team Nationals, also on Saturday.
That contingent from the Golden State also includes CIF Division I boys champion Great Oak (SS), Division II boys champion Newbury Park (SS), as well as girls team champions from the top four CIF divisions: Buchanan (CS), Los Altos (CC), Campolindo (NC), and JSerra (SS). D-I boys runner-up San Clemente and D-II boys runner-up Granada (NC) also received a bid to travel to PDX.
Individuals invited to compete at Team Nationals include five CIF-State champions: Sophomore Hanne Thomsen (Montgomery/NC-pictured), who won a second-consecutive girls Division III title; junior Tessa Buswell (Poway/SD), who charged late to win the girls D-I crown; senior Matthew Donis (Highland/SS), who won the boys D-I title; sophomore Evan Noonan (Dana Hills/SS), the boys D-III champion, and junior Emmanuel Perez (Cathedral/SS), the CIF-State boys D-IV winner.
The other individuals invited to compete in Portland are boys D-I runner-up senior Christopher Caudillo (Clovis/CS) and junior Anthony Fasthorse (Ventura/SS), who was fourth in the D-II race and eighth overall in the merge. Other girls headed north are Mira Costa (SS) senior Anna Chittenden, Santiago-Corona (SS) sophomore Rylee Blade, and Eastlake (SD) freshman Jaelyn Williams. Chittenden, runner-up in the Division II race, ranked seventh in the State Meet merge. Blade, third in D-I, was eighth in the merge, and Williams, fourth in D-I, was ninth in the merge.
This is the second year for the RunningLane meet, which served as the nation's only national team championship event last December, where Newbury Park's boys, led by individual champion Colin Sahlman, won the title. Buchanan, led by then-juniors Sydney Sundgren and Grace Hutchison, placed third in the girls race last year on the fast course at the John Hunt Running Park.
Godsey, who has emerged into one of the nation's elites during a stellar junior year, ran the No. 4 time ever by a junior girl at the CIF-State Championships with her runaway 17:00.1 victory on the 5K course at Woodward Park in Fresno. That's a PR for her on 5,000-meter courses. She also ran her 3-mile PR this season in placing second at Woodbridge (15:51.90). Godsey ranks No. 2 in CA for 3-miles and No. 3 for 5K.
Oaks Christian, competing as club Westlake Village Lions, is scheduled to put two girls teams and one boys team on the line in Huntsville. Senior Ethan Smith, seventh at State in D-IV, leads the Lions' boys.
Other top CA girls among the entries scheduled to compete in Alabama on Saturday include the duo from Castilleja (CC) of junior Perry McElhinney and senior Daniella Henderson, and junior Karissa Chamberlain. Chamberlain is the sister of two-time CIF-State champion Riley Chamberlain (now at BYU), who competed for club Distance Resistance Athletics rather than for her high school this fall.
Oakdale was a 53-point winner of the CIF-State Division III boys championship on Saturday at Woodward Park. Senior Dax Daley (pictured), junior Omar Alsaidi, and senior Caleb Cavanaugh went 2-5-7 to lead the charge for the Mustangs. They are competing in Alabama as the Oakdale Mustangs XC Club.
Among other boys scheduled to compete in Alabama are Sacramento Country Day sophomore Andrew Burr, Moreau Catholic (NC) senior Jacob Hupke, Aptos (CC) senior Trent Nosky, St. Francis (SS) senior Hayden Owen, and El Segundo senior Luca Romero.
Burr is a two-time Sac-Joaquin Section champion who placed ninth in the D-V race at State. Romero, Hupke and Owen placed 9-12-14, respectively, in the Division IV race at State. Owen also led St. Francis to both the CIF-Southern Section and State D-IV team titles. Hupke is the North Coast Section runner-up. Nosky, the Central Coast Section champion, placed 17th in the D-III final
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The Champs West Regional (formerly title-sponsored by EastBay, Foot Locker and Kinney) will be held on the 5,000-meter course at Mt. SAC with grade-specific races in the morning leading up to girls and boys championship races. The top 10 boys and top 10 girls in each of the championship races will qualify to compete for the West Region team at the Champs Cross Country National Championships on Saturday, Dec. 10 at Balboa Park's Morley Field in San Diego.
The region draws high school athletes from 12 states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming) plus U.S. citizens in Overseas Military Installations. California had nine athletes (five girls, four boys) who made the national championship race last December, including expected returning national finals qualifiers Sadie Engelhardt of Ventura (SS) and Lauren Ping of Phoenix. Both CIF-State Division V champions are scheduled: Kaiya Brooks (Crystal Springs Uplands/CC), and Micah Sanchez (Liberty Charter/SD).
We will have more on the Champs West Regional in a separate article.
Photo by DeAnna Turner and Daniel Hernandez
Jeffrey Parenti is the California State Editor for MileSplit