Rarely does a cross country team’s sixth runner decide a team title.
Only the top five finishers count toward a team score, but in the event of a tie between teams, the sixth finisher for each squad breaks it.
Coronado’s girls can thank Sierra Jovanovic for a solid showing Saturday.
Jovanovic’s 21st-place finish helped the Cougars nip Arbor View for the team crown in the girls junior-senior race of the Falcon Invitational at Foothill.
The senior posted her second-best time in a 3.1-mile race this season, finishing in 21 minutes, 42.9 seconds.
“She has been quite a surprise for us this year,” said Coronado coach Mark Tondryk. “Considering we lost our top four runners from last year, we needed some people to step up, and she has run well for us.”
The Cougars and Arbor View each scored 52 points. Jovanovic finished just ahead of the Aggies’ fourth scoring runner and four places in front of Arbor View’s No. 6 runner, Aubrianna Larson, to give Coronado the edge.
Sarah Marvin of Australia won the race in 19:49.3, and Arbor View took the next two spots when Madison Fletcher (19:55.3) and Nicole Snow (20:27.7) crossed the finish line.
But the Aggies had only one more finisher in the top 20.
Samantha Conway led the Cougars, placing sixth in 20:48.6. Coronado took five of the top 20 spots — Danielle Greene (eighth), Megan Denter (12th), Jessica Attebury (18th) and Tristin Sanders (20th).
“We do have a good pack,” Tondryk said. “We don’t really have that front-runner that a lot of top teams have, but they do a pretty good job of packing up. We just need to work on getting that pack about 30 seconds faster.”
Centennial was third in the team standings with 83 points, nine better than Shadow Ridge.
In the boys junior-senior race, Green Valley had three of the top 10 finishers and ran away with the team title.
The Gators had a team score of 67. Centennial was second with 120, followed by Coronado with 140 and Shadow Ridge with 143.
Centennial’s Dajour Braxton won the race in 16:01.6, just ahead of the Gators’ Austin Rogers (16:04.3).
Shadow Ridge’s Johnathon Blaine took third in 16:39.5.
Basic had three of the top eight scoring runners to win the boys freshmen-sophomore race.
The Wolves had 41 points. Australia was second with 62, and Coronado was third with 134.
Valley’s Josh Nyberg won the race in 16:38.0.
Green Valley’s Lenny Rubi took second in 16:47.2, followed by Arbor View’s Tim Myers in 16:52.1 and Basic’s Steven Birch in 17:07.3.
Alexis Gourrier and Kayla Roberts claimed the top two spots to help Centennial win the girls freshmen-sophomore race.
Gourrier won in 19:00.3, and Roberts was second in 19:18.8 as the duo pulled away from the rest of the field.
Australia’s Ciera Stafford was a distant third in 20:32.5.
Centennial had 38 points. Arbor View and Australia each finished with 69, but the Aggies placed second on a sixth-runner tiebreaker.