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Cross Country: Apache Men Win at Woodbridge Invitational

The Arcadia High School men's cross country team won the Sweepstakes race at the prestigious Woodbridge Invitational.

For the second year in a row, the men's cross country team won the Sweepstakes race at the Woodbridge Invitational in Costa Mesa, scoring 72 points with a team time of 73:25.

Also for the second year in a row, the Apache men set the course record.

In the world of High School Cross Country, few meets have the prestige of the Woodbridge Invitational.

Drawing runners from 290 high schools as far away as Nevada, Arizona and even Texas, Woodbridge remains one of the premiere meets of the Cross Country season. The teams ranked highest are invited to compete in the Sweepstakes race.

Arcadia placed all its top five finishers under 16 minutes.

Senior Ryan Vargas led the Apaches, placing seventh with a time of 14:27. Senior Sergio Gonzalez followed Vargas, placing 12th. Sophomores Esteban de la Rosa and Josue Gonzalez, and junior Charlie Shen finished the team scoring coming in 17th, 19th and 29th, respectively.

Not all the good news was restricted to the Apache men. The women, led by Coach Jenny Landis, placed eighth in the women's Sweepstakes Race against some of the best teams in the state. Sophomore Roni Yamane led the Apache women.

Coming into tonight's race, the Apache men, currently ranked #1 in California, faced stiff competition from Great Oak High School in Temecula, and Bakersfield's Stockdale High. Finishing as expected, Great Oak came in second with 100 points, followed by Stockdale with 143.

The Arcadia men's Coach Jim O'Brien wants his team to perform up to expectations. Since they're defending National Champions, they have a target on their backs and the pressure to perform that goes along with it.

"Well, it didn't go perfectly, but it went as well as could be expected," O'Brien said of his team's performance at Woodbridge. "What I'm more happy about ... more than the team time, or their place, was the way they were able to run as a team."

"They were watching each other. They were aware of where each other was during the race, and ultimately they ran over a minute faster than last year's national championship team."

Acardia's next race is this coming Thursday, as they travel to Griffith Park to defend their Pacific League title.

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