FRESNO -- During the final mile of the California Interscholastic Federation Division V boys state cross country championship race on Nov. 30, it was announced that St. Joseph Notre Dame High was well out in front in the team race with one mile to go.
It wouldn't be a nail-biter like last year, when the Pilots won the Division V boys state team title by a single point. St. Joseph Notre Dame won its second straight CIF Division V boys state team title in dominating fashion with 64 points, a huge 55 points ahead of second-place Marin Academy. The Pilots also produced the third-fastest team time in CIF state Division V boys history (1 hour, 21 minutes, 47 seconds)
"They did exactly what they needed to do. Nobody needed to run a 4:35 first mile," St. Joseph Notre Dame coach Tony Fong said. "Our most important runner was our fifth runner (Chris Melendez)."
Melendez placed 32nd with a time of 16:56 for the 3.1 mile Woodward Park course. The Pilots were paced by a fourth-place finish from Gabe Arias-Sheridan (15:42). Other Pilots scorers included Michael Murphy (ninth, 16:10), Matthew Murphy (16th, 16:29), Cooper Teare (17th, 16:30) and Chris Melendez (32nd, 16:56).
Arias-Sheridan passed the one-mile mark in third (5:00) and the two-mile mark in fourth (10:05).
"I followed my strategy and I has something to kick in," said Arias-Sheridan, who kicked to pass Marin Academy's James Kinney in the final meters of the race. "I just tried to run a smart race."
Michael Murphy passed the one-mile mark in 5:03 and was eighth at the two-mile mark (10:22).
"I was just sort of trying to get into the top 10 early and stay there," he said.
Alameda's Cameron Tu continued his outstanding senior postseason with a 10th-place finish in the Division II boys championship race. His time of 15:29 was the second-fastest North Coast Section time in that race by one second and was the fourth-fastest of any East Bay competitor at this year's state championships.
The Hornets girls team placed 18th in the Division II girls race with a score of 481. Its five scorers were Sonia Xu (80th, 19:18), Lara Vetter (85th, 19:22), Mariko Stenstedt (122nd, 20:01), Christine Minor (152nd, 20:46) and Polly Fong (153rd, 20:46)
St. Joseph Notre Dame's Veronica Aguila was 34th in the Division V girls championship race with a time of 20:13.