Randy Angel

Mira Costa girls place 3rd in Division 1 State cross country championships

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With an 8th-place finish, Mira Costa freshman Dalia Frias helped the Mustangs take 3rd place at the CIF State Cross Country Championships. Photo by Ray Vidal

by Randy Angel

Competing in the highly competitive CIF-Southern Section Division 1, Mira Costa’s girls cross country team finished the season with a 3rd-place finish at the State Championships held at Woodward Park in Fresno.

The team was ranked fourth entering the State Championship so a 3rd-place finish was quite an accomplishment according to Mira Costa coach Renee Williams-Smith.

“We were all very emotional and it felt like all the hard work had finally paid off for these girls,” Coach Renee Williams-Smith said. “They were fired up and ready to race. The girls had a plan to go out controlled, work through the middle mile and really start racing in the last mile. They implemented the plan perfectly.”

The strength of the Southern Section was evident as Great Oak and Vista Murrieta finished ahead of Mira Costa in both the CIF Southern Section and State competitions.

The Mustangs were in 5th place after one mile, moving up to 4th place after mile 2 and then into 3rd place by 29 points at the end of the race. Combined, the five scorers  passed 32 runners in the last mile using their strength to outkick several in the last 100 meters.

Freshman Dalia Frias had already raced against most of the top girls in CIF finals the previous week so she knew what she could do. She moved up seven spots in the last mile to place 8th overall with a time of 17 minutes, 53.3 seconds as a freshman.

“Junior Cara Chittenden (64th, 19:06.7) passed 12 girls in the last mile improving her time on the course by almost a minute over last year,” Williams-Smith explained. “Seniors Lucy Atkinson  (36th, 18:41.0) and Brooke Inouye (48th, 18:55.5) both had outstanding races and improved their times from 2017. Pnina Tofler (76th, 19:16.5) was key as our 5th runner, moving up a lot and pulling her teammates through the second mile. Even though they have been training together for over a year as they were all returners with the exception of Dalia, they really started to gel and learn how to race with each other in the later part of the season with the help of Olivia Hacohen’ s leadership and energy. She rebounded from an injury suffered during the season to finish 122nd (19:49.6). They are a good group together and feed off of each other’s strengths.”

Williams-Smith is already looking forward to next season as the Mustangs not only have some depth (they lose three seniors), but experienced runners in Carmen Mel, Tia Pappas, Piper Newton and Jasmin Peterman.

The South Bay was well represented in the girls State Division 3 field with Palos Verdes placing 2nd behind Vista Del Lago of the San Joaquin Section. South Torrance finished 10th and West Torrance 15th.

Palos Verdes was led by two juniors, Savannah Scriven and Samantha Steman, who finished 5th and 6th, respectively. Scriven posted a time of 18:31.6 followed Steman’s mark of 18:34.8.

Also running for the Sea Kings were senior Mckenna Paulson (22nd, 19:02.4), sophomore Isabella Martinez (56th, 19:39.6), junior Jade Readyhoff (102nd, 20:10.5), sophomore Claire Hardesty (120th, 20:34.1) and junior Natalia Gagliano (126th, 20:38.2).

South runners included junior Mia Trodoba (61st, 19:43.2), sophomore Rania Gomaa (62nd, 19:43.6), senior Clara Chan (79th, 19:53.5), sophomore Lily Albert (84th, 19:57.0), senior Kanon Mori (116th, 20:31.1), senior Emily Columbine (122nd, 20:36.1) and junior Rivka Ben-Avides (172nd, 2:40.6).

West sophomore Megan Gonzalez placed 11th with a time of 18:42.2 to lead the Warriors. Her teammates included junior Kaily Park (86th, 19:57.7), freshman Lindsey Park (87th, 19:58.8), senior Sarah Mason (91st, 20:00.1), junior Jai Rodriguez (163rd, 21:30.6), sophomore Olivia Crump (178th, 21:15.5) and junior Mae Trice (186th, 22:09.2).

Torrance High senior Angela Arellano also qualified for State and finished 42nd with a time of 19:29.9.

In Division 4, El Segundo finished third. The Eagles were led by senior Nicolette Fulcomer and junior James Matloz who finished 24th and 25th with times of 19:04.9 and 19:05.0, respectively.

Junior Sophia Zago placed 46th (19:30.6) and freshman Tyler Matlosz finished 75th (20:01.7).

Chadwick’s girls finished 13th in Division 4.

In boys competition, Mira Costa finished 11th in Division 1 with senior Cy Chittenden leading the way (30th, 15:42.9). His teammates included senior Cole Gamble (37th, 15:47.5) sophomore Cormac Carew (112th, 16:28.8), junior Alex Fiorito (121st 16:34.0), senior JP Soares (139th, 16:48.2) and juniors Thomas Velvin (161st, 17:04.7) and Aidan Velleca (162nd, 17:04.8).

In Division 2, Peninsula’s Ewan MacFarlane finished 30th with a time of 15:49.

In Division 3, West Torrance and Palos Verdes finished 3rd and 5th, respectively.

Leading the Warriors were junior Jake Parker (15th, 15:53.9), senior Nehme Awad (17th, 16:00.2), sophomore Joshua Murray (24th, 16:04.5), senior Niccolo Esquivelzeta (33rd, 16:16.6), senior Shingo Morita (46th, 16:24.7), senior Liam Fitzpatrick (52nd, 16:31.2) and senior Augustine Ahn (95th, 16:55.9).

Palos Verdes’ senior Nathan Lantz was the Sea King’s top runner placing 14th with a time of 15:53.3. Teammates included seniors Wade Nygren (50th, 16:31.2), William Teets (51st, 16:31.2) and Brandon Farnsworth (67th, 16:40.8), junior Frankie Reid (77th, 16:46.2), senior Tate Nygren (105th, 16:58.5) and senior Ryan Shikiya (117th, 17:06.1).

For complete results, visit rtspt.com.

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