The Paso Robles High School boys cross country team turned in an impressive performance at the CIF-Southern Section Prelims, finishing first in its heat Saturday at the Riverside City Cross Country Course to advance to the Division 2 finals next week.
Paso Robles, ranked No. 5 in Division 2 coming into the race, finished in third place overall just behind Claremont and Saugus, respectively, to qualify for the section finals Saturday on the same course. Junior Pablo Cortes again led the Bearcats with a 15th-place finish (15:24) on the 3-mile course. Junior Steven Scruggs (15:35) finished in 29th, and sophomore Damian Gavilan (15:49) finished 49th for a team that averaged a 5:15-per-mile pace.
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A handful of other SLO County schools also made the cut by finishing in the top 24 in their division to qualify for the finals.
With a 10th-place individual finish, Arroyo Grande senior Luis Jazo (15:21) led the Eagles to a 10th-place team finish in Division 2 and a spot in the finals.
With her best 3-mile race of the season, Morro Bay junior Audrey McClish finished in eighth place (18:09) to help the Pirates grab a spot in the Division 4 finals with a ninth-place team finish. Morro Bay junior Anelise Dempsey finished 25th (18:50).
The Atascadero boys and girls teams both qualified for the finals in Division 4. Junior Claire Livengood (19:13, 48th) led the girls team to a 19th-place finish, while a fourth-place finish by Xavier Gonzales (15:33) put the boys team in 11th place.
SLO High also qualified both the boys and girls teams in Division 4. The boys team, ranked No. 3 coming into the race, finished eighth behind a 29th-place finish by sophomore Duncan Speirs. The girls team finished 10th led by sophomore Alexi Steinmaus (19:05, 36th).
Nipomo just missed the cut in Division 4 with a 25th-place team finish despite a sixth-place finish by junior Devin Diaz (15:36), who will race as an individual in the finals.