Justin Briscoe topped his first place finish at the Riverside Showcase Cross Country meet earlier this month by setting a new Yucaipa High School record two weeks later at the Woodbridge High School Invitational.
Briscoe eclipsed his own record set last year as a sophomore. His new record of 14.33 was run over three miles on Sept. 15, good for 20th place among 230 competitors from across the nation. Briscoe propelled the YHS boys to the team championship at Riverside and to an 18th place team finish out of 46 teams at Woodbridge.
Briscoe leads a talented group of Yuciapa High School boys distance runners attempting to defend its Citrus Belt League championship for a seventh time. Danielle Gee, the Thunderbirds No. 1 girls runner and defending CBL individual champion will try to help her teammates to an eighth consecutive league title.
Briscoe and Gee put YHS in position to defend its titles after both took first place in the CBL opener last weekend at Citrus Valley High School. Briscoe posted a 14.45 and Gee 17.50 in the three mile run. In the process, both the YHS girls and boys teams captured first place over five rival five CBL schools that included over 40 individual competitors in each gender.
YHS coach Javier Madrid said Briscoe, a junior will face challenges to break his newest record. “But it’s always a goal to exceed your best time. He's got the ability to keep improving.”
Curtis Durham was Yucaipa’s previous record holder. Madrid took over the head coaching duties for both the girls and boys this season. The 2008 YHS grad remains among the top distance runners in school history. He said YHS hall of fame coach Jason Carney remains as his assistant.
Along with Briscoe, Madrid likes the recent effort from Joshua Weghorst, a senior who now is able to post times under the magic 15 minute mark. Weghorst finished third at the CBL opener. Teammate Isaac Ganly finished among the top-5 in all three meets this season. Alfredo Toole was a top-5 finisher for YHS in Riverside and Woodbridge. Blake Rodriguez rounded out the top-5 at Woodbridge and Parker Bloomfield was a top-5 at Riverside and placed seventh at Citrus Valley. Madrid said Bloomfield and Brady Woods are exceeding what was expected of them. Woods has been able to shave off three minutes from his previous best.
Despite holding back Gee from the first two meets of the season, the YHS girls finished fifth at Riverside with a top-5 consisting of Sydney Sandoval, Cassidy Jarish, Isabella Powers, Samantha Garcia, and Marisa Cole. Madrid said Cole and fellow freshman Kaitlyn Townsend are also exceeding expectations.
In the Yucaipa girls convincing win at Citrus Valley, its runners finished in the top 16 among 42 competitors. Following Gee to the finish line was Sandoval in fourth, Cole and Townsend in seventh and eighth. Jarish came in 12th, Garcia at 15, and Powers, 16th.
Madrid told of a busy cross country season that will include another CBL mini-meet on Oct. 10 at Cajon and the CBL finals on Oct. 27 at Yucaipa Community Park. In between, the Thunderbirds will compete at the Inland Empire Challenge on Oct. 13 at the Riverside City Course.