For two years, Olivia Burton and Brieanna Tafoya have been as dominant a duo as Ventura College cross country has even had. They capped off their careers Saturday with another stellar performance finishing second and third, respectively, at the CCCAA State Cross Country Championships in Fresno. Both earned All-American honors as Burton completed the 5k course at Woodward Park in 18:33 and Tafoya crossed the finish line six seconds later. The Pirates finished sixth as a team, the program's third straight Top-10 finish.
Ventura totaled 180 team points to finish sixth among the 20 team competing. Glendale had 66 points to claim the state championship while Saddleback was second with 113. Mt. San Antonio, Hartnell and Riverside posted scores of 142, 145, and 170, respectively, to finish ahead of the Pirates, who jumped over Los Angeles Harbor (7th) and Moorpark (9th), from the SoCal Regional Championships two weeks ago.
Burton, who finished third at the state meet a year ago, ran her best time of the year in improving on her 2018 finish. Tafoya, meanwhile, jumped 32 spots from her 35th place finish in 2018.
Many of the other Pirate runners also turned in season-best times in the final race of the year. Gisele Ortega ran the course in 20:15, finishing in 54th place for 47 team points while Michelle Meugniot was 67th in 20:29 for 57 points. Isabelle Egbert (83rd, 20:52, 71 points), Alisann Tolosa (96th, 21:09, 80 points) and Diana Saldana (127th, 21:45, 96 points) rounded out the Ventura field.
""I am impressed with the way the women handled themselves today," said head coach Melody Axtell.
"Our season had incredible ups and downs, and a lot behind the scenes. Many hard workouts, redirecting of plans and adapting to new circumstances went into the success of this team's finish today. I am proud to be the coach of such a great group of intelligent and resilient student athletes."