Hunter Clark of Dos Pueblos won the county cross country boys individual title. (Noozhawk File Photo)

Immediately after winning their respective boys and girls cross country races, Dos Pueblos senior Hunter Clark and San Marcos senior Erica Schroeder turned to congratulate the other finishers. No water break; no sitting down. 

It was an excellent show of sportsmanship from the Channel League’s fastest runners. 

The five Channel League teams, Buena, Dos Pueblos, San Marcos, Santa Barbara High, and Ventura,  met Wednesday afternoon in the first league cross country meet of the season on Dos Pueblos’ on-campus 3-mile course. 

Showing its depth, Ventura High won both the boys and girls varsity team titles and didn’t have any runners finish among the top 3 in either race. 

In the girls meet, Schroeder posted a time of 17:33.8, nearly 20 seconds faster than Dos Pueblos runner Christina Rice’s second-place time of 17:53.4. 

San Marcos senior Erica Schroeder finished nearly 20 seconds ahead of second place.

San Marcos senior Erica Schroeder finished nearly 20 seconds ahead of second place. (Christian Eckert/ Noozhawk Photo)

“I was pretty happy with my time and how our team did overall,” said Schroeder. “For our team, it was all about places more than time. Time will come when you’re pushing yourself.”

Natalie McClure, another San Marcos senior, posted a solid time of 18:08.6, earning third place. 

San Marcos finished 4 points behind Ventura on the day. Ventura’s fastest runner in the girls meet was junior Sofia Ramos, with a time of 18:22.4. All of Ventura’s runners finished in the top 18 out of 35.

Santa Barbara High sophomore Ally Garza finished with a team best time of 20:48.9.

In the boys meet, Clark proved to be a dominant force, finishing his home course with a time of 15:22.7, well ahead of second place Buena runner Brett Beattie’s time of 15:39.3.

“Previous years I’d gone out and kind of raced,” Clark said. “This year I wanted to focus on just going out and running hard. I’ve been putting in work and I’ve never won on this course before, so it feels pretty good.” 

San Marcos senior Logan Briner rounded out the top 3 with a time of 15:43.3. 

Freshman Jake Ballentine was a bright spot on the Santa Barbara team, with a time of 16:35.8.

Ventura won the boys meet by one point over San Marcos. Ventura senior Nicholas Randazzo led the Cougars, finishing fourth with a time of 15:47.9. San Marcos and Ventura runners made up 8 out of the top 10 finishers. 

Dos Pueblos,  San Marcos, and Santa Barbara High meet at the Dos Pueblos Invitational on September 23 at Shoreline Park. Buena and Ventura travel to Oxnard for the Gold Coast Invitational on the same day. 

Girls Team Scores

Ventura: 39

San Marcos: 43

Dos Pueblos: 66

Buena: 84

Santa Barbara High: 146

Boys Team Scores

Ventura: 37

San Marcos: 38

Buena: 82

Dos Pueblos: 83

Santa Barbara High: 136

— Noozhawk sports reporter Christian Eckert can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports and @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.