Mira Costa, PV boys and girls teams advance to State Cross Country championships
By Randy Angel
Competing in the highly competitive CIF Division 1, Mira Costa’s boys and girls team will lead a large group of South Bay runners who qualified for the CIF State Championships to be held Saturday at Woodward Park in Fresno.
Mira Costa’s girls team placed 3rd in the CIF-Southern Section Finals at Riverside City Cross Country Course behind champion Great Oak and Vista Murrieta.
“I think experience played a big part in the girls’ 3rd place finish as everyone on the team with the exception of freshman standout Dalia Frias had run this course last year,” Coach Renee Williams-Smith said. “They ran a team time that was two minutes faster than their 2017 CIF finals race. Each of the girls improved their time at the prelims by an average of 23 seconds.”
The Mustangs were led by Frias who placed 12th in the 3-mile race with a time of 17 minutes, 16.6 seconds.
She was joined by teammates Lucy Atkinson (28th, 17:50.2), Brooke Inouye (35th, 18:04.8), Mel Carmen Mel (58th, 18:26.9), Cara Chittenden (64th, 18:31.4), Pnina Tofler (69th, 18:33.4) and Olivia Hacohen (71st, 18:34.9) in the field of 178 runners.
“We were fortunate to have senior four-year varsity runner Brooke Inouye’s experience along with senior Lucy Atkinson running the race of her life by breaking 18 minutes to lead the team,” Williams-Smith said. “A true highlight was seeing our number 4-7 runners working together the entire race. In this sport they say that you are only as good as your number 4 and 5 runners. Carmen Mel and Cara Chittenden towed the line for the team as our 4th and 5th on Saturday. But pushing them was Olivia Hacohen and Pnina Tofler. The spread between these four was only 8 seconds. Hacohen continues to get stronger with each race improving her time by over a minute from league finals.”
Williams-Smith believes the team’ hard work is paying off as the girls enjoyed their highest finish since moving up to Division 1 which has strengthened their confidence going into the State championships
With all their pace work paying off, this team really started to click around league finals. This has been our highest finish since moving up to D1 last year and I think this race has strengthened their confidence heading into the State championships this weekend.”
With only the top seven teams advancing, Redondo saw its season end with a 9th-place finish. The Sea Hawks were led by Isabella Landry (49th, 8:19.2), Montgomery Allison (50th, 18:21.8), Molly Ann Hastings (55th, 18:23.2), Peyton Heiden (66th, 18:32.0) and Kasey Bohney (81st, 18:40.8).
In Division 3, South Bay teams had strong performances led by winner Palos Verdes, West Torrance (4th) and South Torrance (6th).
Palos Verdes’ girls won their sixth CIF championship in the last nine years. The Sea Kings were led by Savannah Scriven (4th, 17:55.8), Samantha Steman (6th, 18:010), McKenna Paulson (11th, 18:23.5), Isabella Martinez (29th, 18:59.2) and Natalia Gagliano (38th, 19:13.0)
West Torrance was led by Megan Gonzalez (10th, 18:18.7), Kaily Park (34th, 19:10.9), Lindsey Park (35th, 19:11.7) and Sarah Mason (37th, 19:12.4).
South Torrance qualified behind the running of Mia Trodden (24th, 18:48.7), Lily Albert (30th, 19:00.1), Rania Gomaa (45th, 19:22.3) and Clara Chan (50th, 19:26.2).
El Segundo girls finished third in Division 4 and was led by Nicolette Fulcomer (23rd, 18:38.1), James Matlosz (30th, 18:47.6), Sophia Zago (35th, 18:52.5) and Gabriella Lee (36th, 18:53.3).
The Chadwick girls team finished 4th in Division 5, led by Ella Parsley (21st, 19:30.2), Gabriela Valle (30th, 19:53.0) and Mia Elliott (32nd, 19:54.5).
Individually, Torrance’s Angela Arellano qualified in Division 3, finishing 15th overall (18:33.8).
Mira Costa’s boys team finished sixth in the Division 1 race, led by Cy Chittenden’s (8th, 14:47.4), Cole Gamble (23rd, 15:08.2) and Cormac Carew (47th, 15:21.7).
Redondo finished a distant 19th with Jackson Chambers (50th, 15:22.9), Benjamin Tait (64th, 15:32.2) and Ariel Rodriguez (99th, 15:46.9) running for the Sea Hawks.
In Division 3, Palos Verdes captured the boys title by one point, edging West Torrance 82-83. It marked the fourth CIF title for the Sea Kings since 2009.
Palos Verdes runners included Nathan Lantz (2nd, 14:58.3), William Teets (9th, 15:15.8), Frankie Reid (24th, 15:29.9), Brandon Farnsworth (35th, 15:43.8), Wade Nygren (36th, 15:44.3) and Ryan Shikiya (45th, 15:5.4).
West was led by Jake Parker (5th, 15:11.6), Niccolo Esquivelzeta (10th, 15:16.5), Joshua Murray (22nd, 15:29.2) and Nehme Awad (29th, 15:34.2).
Qualifying as individuals were Peninsula’s Ewan Macfarlane (Division 2, 13th, 15:01.02) and in Division 5, Chadwick’s Frank Glantz (3rd, 15:34.6).
For more information, visit cifstate.org.