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This was a high-water mark year for the Triton distance running program, and at the forefront of these monumental efforts was senior Juan Chantaca.
For his pacesetting and leadership in this banner year, Chantaca has been selected as one of the San Clemente Times’ Athletes of the Year.
The fall season saw Chantaca and the Tritons push the boys cross country program to new heights, with several wins coming in outright dominant fashion.
Chantaca opened the season with a second-place finish at the Iolani Invitational in Hawaii, with San Clemente capturing the team victory. Chantaca led San Clemente again with a fourth-place individual finish at the Dana Hills Invitational, where the Tritons blew away the field by an incredible 65-point margin.
With a personal-record, 3-mile time of 14:26.4, Chantaca captured his first individual Orange County Championship, as the Tritons coasted to back-to-back team championships in the event. Chantaca later finished second at the South Coast League Finals, where all five scoring Triton runners placed in the top seven to lock up the league title.
In the CIF-SS Finals, Chantaca chased down the No. 2 runner to take individual CIF-SS silver by just 0.6 seconds, as San Clemente edged its way to its first CIF-SS championship.
Chantaca then finished 10th at the CIF State Championships, with San Clemente finishing second. At the Nike Cross Nationals, the Tritons finished seventh as a team.
In the spring on the track, Chantaca was San Clemente’s primary runner for the 3,200 meters, with a first-place run at his home Triton Invitational and a second-place league finish. Chantaca went on to finish fourth at the CIF-SS Division 1 Finals, clocked a personal-record time of 9:01.86 at CIF-SS Masters and finish 17th at the CIF State Championships.
Chantaca will continue his academic and athletic career at UC Irvine.