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2013 All-SCV Girls Cross Country

Saugus' Samantha Ortega is runner of the year

Posted: January 6, 2014 9:12 p.m.
Updated: January 6, 2014 9:12 p.m.
Saugus Centurion Samantha Ortega is The Signal's 2013 All-SCV girls runner of the year. Saugus Centurion Samantha Ortega is The Signal's 2013 All-SCV girls runner of the year.
Saugus Centurion Samantha Ortega is The Signal's 2013 All-SCV girls runner of the year.

It’s funny what expectations can do.

Saugus’ Samantha Ortega seemed to come out of nowhere as a sophomore, and she surprised the high school cross country world.

This past fall, nothing Ortega did was much of a surprise despite the fact that she put together one of the more incredible seasons the Santa Clarita Valley has ever seen out of a runner.

And yet Ortega came out of it wanting more and expecting better.

There go those expectations again.

But let’s set the record straight. Ortega is well on her way to finishing her Saugus career as one of the most accomplished runners in the history of the Santa Clarita Valley.

It could be argued she’s already there.

The Saugus junior became the third athlete in SCV history to earn All-American honors at the Foot Locker Cross Country National Championships in San Diego on Dec. 14. She finished 15th at that 5,000-meter race in 17 minutes, 54 seconds.

That race put the cherry on top of a season chock full of milestones and records.

Ortega began the fall slate with seven consecutive race wins, which included course record-breaking performances at the Dos Pueblos Invitational at Shoreline Park (17:44), the SCV Invitational at Castaic Lake (16:42) and the Central Park Hill Course record (17:17) at Foothill League No. 2.

On Oct. 26, she became the first female high school runner in SCV history to break the 17-minute benchmark at the Mt. San Antonio College course. She posted a time of 16:47 at the Mt. SAC Invitational.

By the time she won the Foothill League title on Nov. 7 at Central Park, Ortega had already blown away the local competition.

Her postseason may not have looked as spectacular with back-to-back third-place finishes at the CIF-Southern Section and state finals, but she was still rewriting the record books.

At the state finals, her time of 17:27 broke her own SCV record at Woodward Park, which she set the previous year.

That puts Ortega past former Saugus Centurion Kaylin Mahoney, a former state champion.

Given her relentless hunger for the sport and her desire to get faster and better still, it isn’t inconceivable to imagine Ortega as a state champion some day.

For the fall of 2013, she’s The Signal’s All-Santa Clarita Valley Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.


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