Huntington Beach girls notch perfect score in first school district dual meet
Huntington Beach High School cross-country coach Kareen Shackelford spent some time as an educator on Saturday in sharing the significance of the number 15 in the sport.
At the end of the girls’ cross-country race in the Oilers’ season-opening meet at Edison, it was a conversation that she happily had as she explained its meaning to a student capturing the moment for the yearbook.
Huntington Beach posted the minimum team point total, defeating Edison 15-43 in a race that kicked off a series of Huntington Beach Union High School District dual meets, a new wrinkle in a season shaped by the coronavirus pandemic.
Junior Quinn Roldan paced the Oilers in 19 minutes 41.4 seconds. She was followed in by Andrea Linggi-Perez (19:44.5), Lindsay Rule (19:54.4), Luna Centeno (19:55.7) and Lily Fosmire (21:02.5) as Huntington Beach pushed the first five runners across the finish line.
“It was just so exciting to talk about how that was always a goal when I was in high school,” Shackelford said. “I don’t think we ever achieved it, and I’m really proud of these girls that they did.”
The Edison course consisted of three loops around the school, including a long stretch through the parking lot and three appearances on the track that provided visibility for spectators to view the race from their cars.
Campus courses have meant flatter courses this season, something that Roldan said she does not mind.
“Flatter courses mean faster times, which is always good for college, right,” Roldan said. “I’m always down for no hills.”
As for the departure from the traditional league schedule, Roldan said she is glad to have a chance to race. The Huntington Beach and Edison girls both competed in the Wave League last year, but fellow district schools Ocean View and Westminster are not part of the Sunset Conference.
“We get a little taste of everything, and honestly, any team we get to go against, I’m happy for,” Roldan added.
Juniors Hallie Chen (sixth, 21:06.5) and Kiwi Stevens (seventh, 21:07.7) led the Chargers on the girls’ side.
Edison topped Huntington Beach 23-32 in a boys’ race that flipped in the Chargers’ favor late. Huntington Beach had four runners in the top six for much of the first two laps, but Edison rallied to claim three of the top four positions.
Edison’s Wylie Cleugh (second, 15:59.6), Jeff Ritter (third, 16:27.6) and Luke Fowler (fourth, 16:27.8) came in behind the race winner in Huntington Beach junior Nolan Walt, who looked strong throughout the competition.
Christopher Chan (sixth, 16:31.2) and Samson Rakhshani (eighth, 16:46.3) completed the group of scoring runners for the Chargers.
Edison coach Brian Brierly said that the third mile is a point of emphasis in the program’s training, and he said the team had come a long way from the time trials it ran a month ago.
“It was hard to get into that race mentality, so we tried to mix it up and have some fun on the track the last two weeks,” Brierly said. “Just doing team relays and little things just to kind of make it exciting. Today, in the moment, they definitely stepped up and had it.”
Walt was impressed with the work of his newest teammates, as three of Huntington Beach’s five scoring runners were freshmen — Jacob McQuirk (fifth, 16:30.3), Gavin Bellmore (ninth, 16:46.5) and Corey Sand (10th, 17:04.8).
“Just keep putting in the work, and the racing will get easier and faster,” Walt said when asked what advice he would give them. “It’s amazing to have so many talented freshmen out here that have so much potential. They’ve only been running seriously for six months, and they’re already placing on a varsity team.”
At Edison High School
Edison 23, Huntington Beach 32
1. Walt (HB) 15:52.4; 2. Cleugh (E) 15:59.6; 3. Ritter (E) 16:27.6; 4. Fowler (E) 16:27.8; 5. McQuirk (HB) 16:30.3; 6. Chan (E) 16:31.2; 7. Hebert (HB) 16:34.6; 8. Rakhshani (E) 16:46.3; 9. Bellmore (HB) 16:46.5; 10. Sand (HB) 17:04.8
At Edison High School
Huntington Beach 15, Edison 43
1. Roldan (HB) 19:41.4; 2. Linggi-Perez (HB) 19:44.5; 3. Rule (HB) 19:54.4; 4. Centeno (HB) 19:55.7; 5. Fosmire (HB) 21:02.5; 6. Chen (E) 21:06.5; 7. Stevens (E) 21:07.7; 8. Kelly (HB) 21:32.4; 9. Aguirre (E) 21:41.1; 10. Chan (E) 21:49.6
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