By LOU PONSI     12/5/2023

It’s been a season of “threepeats” for the JSerra girls cross country team.

At the CIF State Cross Country Championships held on Nov. 25 at Woodward Park in Fresno, JSerra won its third consecutive Division 4 state championship. Summer Wilson and Sophie Polay were second and third, respectively, and were among four Lions to finish among the top 10 along with KaylahTasser (eighth) and Brynn Garcia (10th).

The Lions set Woodward Park records in both score (40 points) and team time (89:41).

On Nov. 18, the Lions captured their third consecutive Division 4 Southern Section title at the CIF SS Championships at Mt. San Antonio College with the same four runners finishing among the top 10.

This season has honestly been crazy,” Garcia said. “I think we’ve been reaching all of our goals and surpassing it in so many of our races. Every practice I’m just amazed at what we can do on the track, the times that we’re hitting.”

The Lions have been winning or placing high in prestigious events all season.

JSerra captured first place at the ASICS Cool Breeze Evening Invitational on Sept. 2 at the Pomona Fairplex. And at the Woodbridge Classic on Sept. 16, one of the premier cross country meets in the nation, the Lions finished second to Air Academy of Colorado Springs, but were the highest placing California team.

On Oct. 13, the Lions won the talent laden sweepstakes race at the Orange County Championships at Oak Canyon Park in Silverado.

JSerra easily won the ASICS Clovis Invitational on Oct. 7 at Woodward Park.

Garcia credits much of the team’s success over the long haul to the leadership of coach Chase Frazier, who she said, “is one of the best running coaches ever.”

Frazier fosters an atmosphere of mutual support and camaraderie, Garcia said, and encourages the runners to derive strength from each other.

“He’s always telling us, pressure’s a privilege,” Garcia said. “He’s always just giving us little words of wisdom throughout the season so that we’re confident.”

Faith has also played a huge role in shaping the team’s identity, said Frazier, who took over at JSerra in  2019 as head cross country coach and head track & field coach for boys and girls.

“This group knows how important faith is and how, not everything is in their control,” said Frazier, a two-time Orange County Coach of the Year. “A lot of it is in God’s control. They pray before every meet. They make sure they check all the boxes.”

The JSerra boys cross country team also returned from Fresno with some hardware.

The Lions took second place in the Division 4 race, the team’s best performance at the state meet in school history. Bradley Arrey and Saul Orozco finished 10th and 11th respectively to lead the Lions to the podium.