Many of the locks to make the CIF Southern Section cross-country finals do just enough to qualify in the preliminaries, but not Corona del Mar High’s Annabelle Boudreau.
The Sea Kings sophomore ran 17 minutes 58.2 seconds, beating the field by a whopping 44 seconds in the Division 3 girls’ races on Friday at the Riverside City Cross-Country Course.
Boudreau has put together back-to-back impressive performances, having threatened the 17-minute barrier in winning the Surf League title in 17:05.6 at Central Park in Huntington Beach.
“She’s a little bit talent and a little bit hedgehog, and when you put the two together, I absolutely love it,” Sea Kings coach Bill Sumner said of Boudreau’s work ethic. “My hardest job with Annabelle is controlling her to do a little bit less than she wants to.”
The preliminaries were split over two days, with Divisions 2 and 3 running on Friday. On Saturday, Divisions 1, 4 and 5 competed.
CdM’s boys posted a beautiful gap of just 13 seconds in taking second in their Division 3 heat. The Sea Kings’ scoring quintet consisted of Ian Turner (13th, 16:10.6), Joseph Cianfrani (16th, 16:13.9), Duncan Taylor (17th, 16:16.2), Nicolas Pence (19th, 16:21.4) and Ethan Bollman (21st, 16:24.4).
Boudreau was not alone in winning her heat among local girls. Costa Mesa’s Diane Molina paced all Division 4 runners with a time of 17:26.1, while Laguna Beach’s Hannah Konkel won her Division 4 race in 18:22.8.
Three local boys’ teams advanced in the same Division 4 race. Laguna Beach, a favorite in the division, coasted to second in a tempo run. The Breakers have now made the CIF finals 22 years in a row.
Ocean View took third, led by Jason St. Pierre’s fifth-place showing in 15:47.7. Costa Mesa took seventh behind a strong second-place finish from Kevin Cortez, who clocked in at 15:41.5.
Cortez has seen Molina make it to the state meet as an individual, and now Mustangs coach Steve Moreno says that Cortez is peaking at the right time with an opportunity to do that himself.
Moreno also believes that having his team qualify for finals will be a boost to Cortez’s potential for next week.
“I think that a lot of his energy comes from his teammates,” Moreno said. “They push him. They champion him. It’s good that they’re going to be together next week because that’s a big plus for him.”
Newport Harbor (Division 2) and Sage Hill (Division 5) also qualified on the boys’ side. Huntington Beach’s Lars Mitchel advanced to the Division 1 final as an individual, placing third in 15:17.7.
The local girls’ teams to make the cut were CdM, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Laguna Beach, Newport Harbor, Ocean View and Sage Hill.
Brethren Christian’s boys surpassed expectations in qualifying for the CIF preliminaries. The Warriors placed fifth in two Academy League cluster meets, but they took third at league finals to make the cut with Jack Patcheak and Cameron Wilhite leading the way.
Garden Grove League individual qualifier German Ramos of Los Amigos ran 17:11.5 (68th) in his Division 3 heat.
Los Amigos’ girls did not advance to the section finals, placing 16th in their race.
In order to advance to the CIF finals on Nov. 17, teams had to place in the top 12 of their race if their division ran two heats, or they had to place in the top eight if their division ran three heats.
Individuals could advance without their teams if they placed in the top 10 of a division with three qualifying heats, or if they finished in the top 15 of a division with two heats.