David Olds has had scores of talented athletes go through the Crossroads boys cross-country program, but he’s confident this year’s bunch is the best he’s seen in three decades at the helm.

He felt even more convinced after the CIF state championships Nov. 28 at Woodward Park in Fresno, where the Roadrunners took ninth place in the Division 5 race.

Previous editions of the squad have secured better finishes at the state meet, but Olds acknowledged that the division is much deeper now than it was then.

“It was pretty much everything we could’ve hoped for,” he said of the state finals. “It was a very competitive division, but I thought it was probably our best team race, top to bottom, of the whole season.

“I’ve had some very good teams in the past. I’ve had teams place fourth overall. But this team’s time was 40-plus seconds faster than those teams. … This is definitely the best team I’ve ever had.”

Leading the way for Crossroads was Daniel Allen, who took 32nd place out of close to 200 runners with a time of 16 minutes 35 seconds. The senior, who was 13th overall at the section finals Nov. 21, helped the Roadrunners return to the state meet for the second time in three years.

“He’s just been solid every single race,” Olds said. “We had some ups and downs as the season went on with illnesses and injuries, and we never seemed to be able to get five or six guys really hitting on all cylinders at the same time. But he was the one who was the most consistent throughout. When other people were up and down, he was sort of a rock for us the whole time. And he was again at the state meet.”

Also scoring for Crossroads were junior Ethan Finkel (39th, 16:38) and seniors Alex Groenendaal-Jones (55th, 16:58.2), Andrew Wedeking (111th, 17:42.3) and Ben Fried (113th, 17:43.1). The squad also included senior Jonah Dylan and sophomore Ayden Georgi.

“They were serious. They wanted this one,” Olds said of his graduating runners. “The seniors really wanted to go out with a bang.”

The Roadrunners enjoyed being accompanied by league rival Brentwood at the state finals, Olds said. Brentwood came in 10th place in a division won by Flintridge Prep.

“To have two teams from the same league finish in the top 10 in the state is pretty remarkable,” he said. “It’s been that kind of season for our two teams. That good-natured, intense battling the whole season helped both teams raise the bar.”

On the girls side, junior Christie Caruana placed 13th overall in the Division 5 race to lead Pacifica Christian in its first-ever appearance at the state meet. Coached by Brandon Shaw, the Seawolves came in 10th place in a competition won by Flintridge Prep.

Caruana (19:16.8) was joined by sophomores Lily Reasner (57th, 20:40.8) and Rodonna Flowers (71st, 20:54.3) and seniors Joanie Howe (83rd, 21:15.1) and Karli Jo List (119th, 21:58.3). Senior Shayna Simmer and junior Caty Kazor also represented Pacifica.

Girls volleyball: Vikings fall in state quarterfinals

The Santa Monica High girls volleyball team finished a stellar season with a trip to the state quarterfinals.

Despite falling to Valley View in the Southern Section Division 3AA title game, the Vikings earned a spot in the state tournament and clipped Templeton 3-2 (25-22, 25-17, 22-25, 22-25, 15-9) in the opening round at home Nov. 24.

The victory set up Samohi’s quarterfinal matchup against Chula Vista-Olympian, which powered its way to a 3-0 (25-21, 25-16, 25-16) sweep. Olympian will meet Valley View in the state semifinals Tuesday.

The Vikings, who went undefeated in Ocean League play, wrapped up their campaign with a 17-7 record under coach Liane Sato.

jeff@www.smdp.com