Menlo's Charlotte Tomkinson is one of the state's elite track and field stars. The Atherton senior has medaled at the CIF-State Track and Field Championships in the 800 meters each of the past two years, placing second last May.
On Friday night, the first of two nights of the 39th Woodbridge Cross Country Classic, Tomkinson showed off her versatility by running the fastest 3-mile race, not only of the night, but in her life!
Her time of 17 minutes, 25.2 seconds over the SilverLakes Sports Complex course in Norco, was a HUGE personal best over her previous 3-mile standard of 19:05.80 set as a sophomore and it led the way as Coach Jorge Chen's Menlo School varsity girls went 1-2-5, placed all seven runners in the top 18, scored 31 points and had a 17:58 average.
"This is a special group of kids since they committed to put in the work this summer and it paid off as there is no shortcuts in this sport," Chen wrote Saturday in response to written questions about his team's performance. "Charlotte (a recent Duke commit) continues to prove herself as a diverse runner, not just an 800/400m runner anymore and she's more motivated than ever to do her best this season in XC as well as track."
Tomkinson, who placed 17th in the Division IV CIF-State Cross Country Championships last November over the 5K Woodward Park layout, was followed Friday night by teammates Kyra Pretre, who was second (17.45.0), and Alexandra McCusker, who placed fifth (18.01.6).
"Our whole entire team had massive (3-mile) PRs from 1:20-3:00+," Chen wrote. "Again these (seven) girls put in the work this summer and it showed. We'll continue to work hard. ... As I always tell the kids -- It's not how you start that counts but it's how you finish. But this is a great accomplishment still on our first time racing here.
"And now they are at Disneyland enjoying a well-earned fun time this weekend!"
Of the 11 girls races on the course Friday night, Tomkinson's was the fastest by nearly four seconds. Sophia Karperos of Sacramento Rio Americano (SJ), won the last girls race of the night (Varsity Girls Red - B) in 17:28.9. Ellaney Matarese of La Canada (SS) went 17:32.5 to win the Varsity Girls White - B division race, just a blink ahead of teammate Sarah Auther (17:32.7). Porshe Eismann of Henderson (NV) Coronado HS won the Girls Varsity Red - B race in 17:34.6 just ahead of San Diego Section standout Bella Longo (Mission Vista), who had the No. 6 fastest time of the night of 17:36.0.
Seven boys went under 15 minutes across 13 races on Friday night, led by Ryan Todd, a junior from Solana Beach Santa Fe Christian (SD). Todd, whose previous PR for 3 miles was 15:12.62, run Aug. 31, obliterated that under the lights at SilverLakes.
His time of 14:44.6 was more than four seconds faster than the second fastest boy of the night, Bryce Hill of Ridgecrest Burroughs, whose 14:48.9 won the Varsity Boys White - B race, one that produced the Nos. 2-3-4-5 fastest times among boys.
Todd, who was third in the San Diego Section Finals and 39th in the State Division V race as a sophomore, won the Varsity Boys White - A Division race by 13 seconds over Gianni Roberts of Big Bear (SS), whose 14:57.6 clocking ranked sixth overall. Todd led SFC to the team race team title with 120 points (15:43 average).
Henry McClish, capping a solid showing from San Diego High runners, placed second behind Hill in 14:51.7, the No. 3 fastest time of the night. Right behind him was Ryan Dempsey (Chandler (AZ) Hamilton HS) in 14:55.9 and Arend Verfaillie (El Segundo/SS) in 14:56.6.
Juan Diego Sanchez (Perris/SS) won the Varsity Boys Red - B Division race in 14:58.3, the first of three consecutive sub-15 boys races.
Aside from McClish, San Diego High runners went 1-2 in the Freshman Boys - White Division race with Captain Burnett winning in 17:14.4 followed by Noah Kessinger (17:17.5) for second. The Cavers went 1-3 in the Junior Boys - White Division won by Noah Ramos (15:49.4) with Alan Zuniga (16:14.5) placing third. San Diego placed second to Portola (97-143) in the freshman race and won the junior race with 38 points (16:49 average).
West Torrance had boys go 1-2 in the Sophomore Red Division with Conor Gibson winning in 15:42.2 and runner-up Hayden Green right on his heels in 15:47.9, good for the race team title with 50 points (16:25 average).
Irvine Northwood (SS) had a stellar showing among the girls as Maddie Mason (19:14.3) and Reina Kabbara (19:42.2) went 1-2 in the Sophomore White Division and Avigail Friedel won the Freshman White Division race (18:41.2).
In the Varsity Girls Red - B race won by Eismann, Coronado HS teammate Claire Rawlins placed third (17:40.9).