Los Angeles City Section XC Season in Review

Granada Hills freshman Sofia Abrego (554) and Palisades sophomore Miranda Schriver (1043) were the top two girls in the Los Angeles City Section during the 2018 cross country season. (DeAnna Turner photo)

The 2018 cross country season in the Los Angeles City Section saw the emergence of a state-level talented freshman on the girls side, stellar senior competition on the boys side, and the section's expansion to a full five divisions for the first time which wasn't the only history made at the CIF-LACS Finals. 

Granada Hills Charter freshman Sofia Abrego broke out with a race win at Woodbridge and continued to impress throughout the fall. 

Sean Larbaoui (Granada Hills Charter) and Bruno Amon-Franceschi (Marshall) proved to be the best of the section's senior boys with Larbaoui leading GHC to the D-I team title and a mid-pack placing at the CIF-State Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno. 

As for the history at the section final, let's first take a step back. The LA City Section boys team championships date to 1944. Girls began competing in 1977. The section competed in just one division through 2005, two divisions through 2012, three divisions (I-II-V) through 2015 and four (I-II-III-V) through last school year. 

When Larbaoui led Granada Hills to the team title, a narrow victory over an El Camino Real program that had won the D-I championship the previous two years, it was the program's first title since 1976.

In D-II, Venice won for the first time since 1948. In Divisions III-V, respectively, Canoga Park, Sherman Oaks CES, and New West Charter each won for the first time.

On the girls side, Palisades had won four in a row before Granada Hills won last year, and defended this year. Canoga Park, which won D-II in 2017 and 2015, won D-III this fall. Belmont, which had won five straight from 1989-93, won D-IV, its first title since 2000. Eagle Rock, in D-II, and Sun Valley Magnet, in D-V, each won for the first time.

Abrego won the section's Division I title leading a 1-4 parade of the section's top runners by class in reverse chronology with sophomore Miranda Schriver (Palisades) second, junior Sarah Bentley (Palisades) third and senior Jicel Fernandez-Ramirez (El Camino Real) fourth. 

At the State Final, Abrego was again the first LAC runner across the line, placing 17th in 18:08.30. Bentley was next (21st, 18:18.30), followed by Fernandez-Ramirez (22nd, 18:21.90) and Schriver (pictured above, 28th, 18:33.00). 

Other LAC divisional champions were sophomore Norma Alvarez (Santee EC) winning D-II in 19:09.05, sophomore Heather Gentile (Verdugo Hills) winning D-III in 19:44.72, senior Itzel Valdez (Northridge Academy) won D-IV in 20:32.47, and freshman Hana Morshedi (New West Charter) won D-V in 21:12.82.

In the boys divisional championship races, Larbaoui beat Amon-Franceschi by 4.13 seconds in 15:34.24, with Palisades senior Brent Smith a close third just 2.36 seconds behind Amon-Franceschi.  Larbaoui's teammate Quinn Garity was fourth less than two seconds behind Smith in helping Granda Hills Charter to a 1-4-12-14-22 finish and a 53-64 victory over El Camino Real. 

Eagle Rock junior James Corrigan won the D-II title (16:13.31), Reseda senior Jonathan Aguilar won the D-III title (16:05.91), Dorsey junior Christi Rodriguez won in D-IV (16:54.51), and Central City Value Charter sophomore Brandon Guerrero won in D-V (17:03.68).

At State, Amon-Franceschi was the section's first boy across the line, crossing in 33rd place after covering the 5K Woodward Park course in 15:45.20. Larbaoui was next in 48th, followed by Garity, Birmingham Community senior Marvin Guardado, Granada Hills junior Cai Duran and El Camino Real senior Giancarlo Puccia in 86th.

The section's top girls at State also included  Alvarez (19:18.40),  Palisades senior Brittany Darrow (#1040 above; 19:19.80), GHC junior Lauren Delgado (19:21.70), and Birmingham Community senior Yajaira Calderon (19:25.90).


Photos by DeAnna Turner (from State Finals) and Dan Peterson (from the Section Finals)