When it comes to the CIF Southern Section Cross Country preliminaries it's all about achieving personal-best times and the Corona del Mar High girls did just that Saturday at Mt. San Antonio College.
The Sea Kings' top six girls achieved personal records, Coach Bill Sumner said, as they qualified for next week's finals, also at Mt. SAC, one step closer to the CIF State Championships.
The Newport Harbor girls also qualified for the finals, as did CdM senior Spencer Keith and Costa Mesa senior Brett Bermudez and junior Anuare Magana. Keith tied a school record, finishing second in his Division 3 heat, in 15 minutes, 24 seconds, set in 1994 by Brian Slingsby, Sumner said.
The CdM girls (88 points) finished second in their Division 3 heat that La Puente Bishop Amat (80) won.
Freshman Raquel Powers led the way, finishing eighth in 18:33. Sophomore Lilly Schmidt (12th in 18:51), junior Kirsten Hansen (21st in 19:19), junior Elin Wolker (25th in 19:29), senior Ellen Naruse (28th in 19:33) and junior Tess St. Geme (33rd in 19:40) also finished with personal-best times.
Sophomore Jacqueline Choe usually finishes as CdM's No. 2 or 3 runner, Sumner said, but she nearly fell down and struggled to recover. She'll want to bounce back next week, Sumner said, to help the Sea Kings finish among the top seven in Division 3 to advance to Fresno's Woodward Park, site of the CIF State Championships.
With such a young team – just one senior – Sumner knows that if the girls make it to the state meet that will only set expectations even higher for next year.
"The girls have their eyes on state," Sumner said.
The Newport Harbor girls have the strength to join them. The Sailors (90 points) finished third in their Division 2 heat that Santa Clarita Saugus (44) won.
Erin Barth led Newport Harbor with a fifth-place finish in 18:21. Emily Bacon (10th in 18:42), Ashley Ima (22nd in 19:17), Katelyn Mead (28th in 19:34), Leah Van Dyke (33rd in 19:45), Grace Clemence (36th in 19:49) and Lauren Loucks (59th in 20:58) also contributed for the Sailors.
Bermudez finished eighth in his Division 4 heat in 16:05, and Magana followed in ninth in 16:15 to move on to next week.
Freshman Francisco Ruiz (58th in 17:45), junior Andres Avelar (68th in 18:04) and junior Jayson Baker (79th in 18:31) also competed for Costa Mesa, which finished ninth in the heat that Crean Lutheran won.
Senior Daysi Vazquez led the Costa Mesa girls, who finished sixth in the Division 4 heat that Harvard-Westlake won. Freshman Emily Olvera (16th in 19:56), sophomore Gabriela Perez (33rd in 21:07), junior Lesley Diaz (43rd in 21:58) and freshman Bianca Duarte (45th in 22:00) also competed for the Mustangs.
In Keith's Division 3 heat, freshman Leif Hellgren (39th in 16:32), senior Ethan Hold (44th in 16:43), sophomore Matt Paragas (45th in 16:46) and junior Luke McReynolds (55th in 17:00) also competed for the Sea Kings. Keith will try to finish in the top five to advance to the state meet.
The Sage Hill boys finished fifth in their Division 5 heat that Ojai Thacher won. Junior Brian Slaughter (20th in 17:27), junior Patrick Hynes (24th in 17:30), sophomore Jacob Diaz (36th in 17:55), sophomore Calvin Shimano (41st in 18:07) and junior Cameron Knollenberg (46th in 18:23) competed for the Lightning.
The Sage Hill girls finished sixth in their Division 5 heat that Riverside Woodcrest Christian won. Junior Brittany Andressoo (21st in 20:48), freshman Julia Lowe (22nd in 20:49), freshman Julia Dupuis (36th in 21:42), junior Rebecca Fudge (42nd in 22:07) and junior Brittany Murphy (55th in 22:42) competed for the Lightning.
— From staff reports