Gilroy High junior Joshua Guzman placed third in the Division II race at the Central Coast Section Cross Country Championships on Nov. 11. (Jonathan Natividad/Dispatch file photo)
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Gilroy High’s Joshua Guzman ran a spectacular race at the Central Coast Section Cross Country Championships on Nov. 11.

The Mustangs’ junior placed third in the Division II finals, crossing the finish line in 15 minutes, 29.6 seconds at the 2.95-mile Crystal Springs course in Belmont.

Guzman qualified for a return trip to the CIF State Championships on Nov. 25 at Woodward Park in Fresno.

Palo Alto’s Grant Morgenfeld won the race in 15:05.2 in a D-II field that included 126 runners. 

Los Gatos’ Aydon Stefanopoulos (15:16.8) took second, followed by Guzman in third. Fellow teammate Ricardo Chavarria (17:50.2) took 93rd for Gilroy.

“Josh ran a pretty reserved first mile and by the second mile he solidified his position at third and ran a very smart race,” Gilroy coach Matthew Castillo said. “Division II is a really tough division to qualify due to many strong individuals and strong teams.”
The top three teams qualified for the CIF State meet and the top five individuals not on a state-qualifying team also punched their ticket to Fresno. The top five individuals placed in the top-7 of the race.

According to Castillo, that meant Guzman needed a fantastic race and he gave it his all, accomplishing the big goal of returning to Fresno where he placed 20th in 2022.

The total number of boys’ runners, covering all divisions, was 514. Guzman was seventh fastest, an amazing accomplishment. 

The overall winner was Santa Cruz High’s Eli Fitchen-Young who finished with a blazing time of 14:55.1.

“Josh [Guzman] is putting together a great season leading into track,” Castillo said. “I’m excited to see him run at the state meet to cap his season off.”

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