With an opportunity to compete against some of the best athletes in California, a few area teams did their best to impress at the 33rd annual Woodbridge Cross-Country Classic hosted at Estancia High.
One of the unique quirks about the two-day long invitational is that all races are held in the evening, which was a twist for the runners from Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, Glendale High and St. Francis, who competed Friday evening. Crescenta Valley High’s girls ran Saturday night, just before the boys, who competed in the final sweepstakes of the evening, with results not available at press time.
The cool temperatures of night racing proved a boon for the Falcons, as junior Megan Melnyk won the varsity blue ‘B’ race, in an area-best mark of 17 minutes, 43 seconds.
Melnyk nipped Los Osos’ Alex Burkhard (17:44) at the finish line in helping the Falcons finish sixth with 148 points, not far of the pace of the 105 points from race-winners Great Oak and Quartz Hill.
Sophomore Rebecca Mencia (seventh, 18:28) and junior Haley Witzeman (eighth, 18:31) also posted top-10 efforts for the Falcons.
Glendale High senior Brian Shieh turned in the area’s best boys’ finish, when the Nitros’ No. 1 runner clinched fourth in the white senior race with a time of 16:03.
“I knew he was going to do very [well], but I didn’t know he’d be in the top five,” Nitros Coach Bob Bailey said. “This is the first time, at least that I’m aware of, that Woodbridge had senior races beyond the rated and sweepstakes races on Saturday. Because of that, we were able to run.”
Rather than enter his team into a varsity race, Bailey broke his unit into different age groups, meaning that only Shieh and one other teammate competed in the senior race.
Bailey also received a ninth-place effort from Liam Spires (16:08), who ran in the white juniors race.
Woodbridge was the first complete invitational that Glendale competed in, as only half the Nitros squad ran at the Don Bosco Tech Invitational on Sept. 7, which was halted midway through over concern due to the heat.
While Shieh was only one of two Nitros to compete in the white senior race, he wasn’t alone by local standards.
In that contest, St. Francis earned eighth with 186 points, as Segerstrom won the event (49 points).
Golden Knights senior Max Sinclair took 47th in 17:26, while teammate Ruairi Arrieta-Kenna was 52nd (17:37).
St. Francis’ usual No. 1 runner, Chris Rodriguez, took seventh in the white sophomore race in 16:25.
Flintridge Sacred Heart finished 13th in the white varsity ‘A’ race with 346 points, behind race-winner Oaks Christian (98) and among others, Mission League rival Alemany (ninth, 287 points).
The result was a bit of a reversal for the Tologs, who 10 days earlier finished second at the Mission League’s first meet at Woodley Park with 58 points, which was well ahead of fifth-place Alemany (107).
Junior Kayla Grahn led the charge for the Tologs, taking 24th in 19 minutes, 29 seconds. Senior Riley Gilmartin was Flintridge Sacred Heart’s No. 2 runner in earning 30th (19:43).
While the Glendale girls didn’t enter a team into the white varsity ‘A’ race, the Nitros were represented by two runners, led by junior Kaitlyn McCraw (92nd, 20:54).