WALNUT--The conditions weren't ripe for blazing times, but they were just right for the Temecula Great Oak and Saugus girls' cross-country teams.
Great Oak captured the Division I title with its top five runners bunched just 36 seconds apart. The Wolfpack totaled 73 points and a team time of 1 hour 34 minutes 33 seconds on the 5,000-meter course at Mt. San Antonio College.
Due to the rains, the course moved from the dusty hillsides and laid out on flat, hard ground that took runners through portions of the parking lot and onto the athletic track inside the football stadium.
"It was definitely different," said Great Oak senior Jessica Hilton, who was her team's top finisher, placing fifth overall in 18:35.
"Our league finals were in the 90-degree weather, so it was a big change," said senior Shannon Emery, who was 15th overall in 18:50.
Even more impressive, the Wolfpack won the title without one of its top runners Anna Johnson, who is out for the rest of the season with a quadriceps injury.
Saugus, the four-time defending state champion, captured the Division II title with 29 points and a team time of 1:32.25. All five of its runners finished in the top 10 and were separated by just 34 seconds.
Stephanie Bulder was second overall in 18:09, followed by teammate Kaylin Mahoney in third (18:11).
Simi Valley freshman Sarah Baxter had the fastest girls' time of the meet, winning the Division I race in 17:40. Earlier this season, Baxter broke the freshman course record on the regular course.
Great Oak, Saugus and Baxter will compete next Saturday at the state championships in Fresno.
For a complete list of today's results, check here.