Joseph Pearlman qualified for the CIF State Cross Championships for the second straight year, (Courtesy photo)

Dos Pueblos senior Joseph Pearlman earned a spot in the CIF State Cross Country Championships by finishing ninth in the Southern Section Division 3 Finals at the Riverside Cross Country Course on Saturday.

Pearlman ran the 3-mile course in 15:22, and is headed to the State Championships for the second straight year.

In Division 3 team competition, the San Marcos boys just missed qualifying for State, finishing in eighth place; Dos Pueblos came in 10th.

The Dos Pueblos girls finished in 13th place and San Marcos came in 20th.

Dos Pueblos coach Nash Jimenez knew it would be a difficult task for his boys to qualify for State.

“Going into prelims, we knew we had a good chance to go to finals, but getting to State would be tough,” he said. “We expected Joseph Pearlman, our number one runner, to go to State.”

Phoebe Wolfe Lyons finished a stellar freshman year for DP by finishing 27th (19:03) in the Division 3 final.

“Phoebe had a tough start, competing with juniors and seniors, but she learned today how to compete against the kind of competition we will come up against at State next year,” said Jimenez.

The San Marcos boys got personal bests from four of their top five runners. Senior Will Snyder led the way in 17th place in a PR of 15:31. Sophomore Jacob Snodgress ran a course-best of 15:47 and finished in 27th place.

The San Marcos girls finished according to their seed (20th).

Freshman Shaina King ran a PR of 19:37 for 59th place and freshman teammate Celina Zambrano came in 75th in a PR of 19:54.

In a blistering Division 2 boys race, Santa Barbara senior Jake Ballantine ran 15:43 and placed 63rd.

The race was won by national leader Nico Young of Newbury Park in a course record of 13:54. His teammate Jace Ashbrenner was second in 14:23.

“It’s Jake’s first time running in the finals, which in itself is a huge accomplishment,” said coach Olivia Perdices. “He did what he had to do today, going out fast to give himself a chance at qualifying (for State).

“Division 2 was by far the fastest race of the day,” she added. “There were two guys under the existing course record and 15 under 15 minutes. Jake put it all out there and it just didn’t go our way. He’s accomplished a lot in four years of high school cross country and truly left his mark on our program.”

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Barry Punzal, Sports Editor

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at bpunzal@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.