Granada Hills sophomore Sofia Abrego, pictured competing at the Clovis Invitational this fall, won a second consecutive Division I title at the CIF-Los Angeles City Section Championships. (Credit: DeAnna Turner, file)
Sophomore standout Sofia Abrego ran the fastest time of the day to defend her CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division I title and lead Granada Hills Charter to the team championship and a berth in next week's CIF-State Meet in Fresno.
Abrego's time of 18:03.53 over the hilly 3-mile course at Pierce College in Woodland Hills was enough to hold off El Camino Real junior Shana Mendelsohn (18:16.84) and Palisades senior Sarah Bentley (18:25.20).
Defending titles wasn't a given at this meet. Abrego was one of just two individuals to repeat. The other was Santee EC junior Norma Alvarez, who won again in Division II.
The meet also served as a qualifier for State, with the top two teams in Division I and the section champion in the other four divisions earning trips to Fresno. Individually, the top five finishers in the Division I race not on one of the two qualifying teams and finishing among the top 12 advanced. For the other four divisions, the top five among the first eight not on a qualifying team also earned a spot on the line Nov. 30 at Woodward Park.
Here's a division-by-division look at the CIF-Los Angeles City Section Championships:
Division I Boys
Junior Max Arroyo and senior Anthony Martinez went 1, 3 to lead San Pedro to a two-point victory over Marshall, claiming the section's two State Meet qualifying spots. Arroyo won the section title in 15:36.50 and Martinez crossed in 15:41.38. Junior Lucas Schriver was second in 15:38.23 for Palisades, which missed advancing to State by 11 points.
Division I Girls
Senior Riley Cameron was 10th overall (ninth among scorers) in 19:35.80 as the top finisher for San Pedro, which earned the divisions other berth to the State Meet over El Camino Real based on a sixth-runner tiebreaker. That sixth runner was sophomore Kaylee Vargas, whose 31st place (among scoring runners) in 21:15.07 was 11 places in front of ECR's No. 6.
Division II Boys
Junior Juan Hernandez won the title while leading Venice to a second consecutive championship and the division's only bid to State. Santee EC was second 48 points back.
Eagle Rock junior James Corrigan, the 2018 champion, was nearly 20 seconds behind Hernandez, crossing in 16:05.71, while earning one of the division's individual State slots.
Division II Girls
Norman Alvarez was the only girl outside of the Division I race to run the Pierce College 3-mile course under 19 minutes. Alvarez's time of 18:32.36 is a 37 second improvement from her winning time in 2018 and 42.51 in front of runner-up Andrea Gallardo, a senior at Venice.
Junior Karla Ballin was fifth in 19:49.30 and junior Brandy Contreras was ninth in 20:05.27 for team champion Monroe. Despite the win by Alvarez, a third-place finish by senior Destiny Lopez (19:18.28) and a sixth place finish by junior Xitlali Gomez (19:49.84) Santee fell two points short of the division's lone State Meet berth.
Individuals qualifying for State are Alvarez, Gallardo, Lopez, Bravo sophomore Angelica Milar (19:28.01) and Gomez.
Division III Boys
Senior James Coomber ran 15:58.14 to win the section title and Verdugo was a five-point winner over defending champion Canoga Park, earning the division's only State Meet berth.
was ninth overall (eighth among scoring runners) in 17:02.68 as Verdugo's No. 2.
Division III Girls
Canoga Park junior Gabriela Martinez won the championship but it wasn't enough to get her team to the top for a third year in a row. Verdugo Hills was a three-point winner led by senior Maria Jimenez, who was 10 seconds off the lead in 19:58.11 and sophomore Fiorella Aguirre who crossed 20:57.44 in eighth overall and sixth among scoring runners.
Defending divison champion Heather Gentile
(21:03.13) was in the middle of a 6-7-8 finish for Verdugo along with Aguirre and sophomore Samantha Medrano
Division IV Boys
In just the second season since the LA Section added a Division IV for cross country, Erick Barajas, runner-up to Dorsey's Christian Rodriguez in 2018, was a runaway winner in 2019. The senior at Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies (CES) covered the 3-mile course in 16:41.04 to distance himself from runner-up Jimmy Delgado, a senior at Mendez, who crossed in 17:07.19.
Mendez, however, was a 26-point team winner over Elizabeth Learning Center with defending team champion Sherman Oaks CES 66 points off the pace. Cesar Ibarra
ran No. 2 for Mendez, crossing seventh in 17:37.10.
Division IV Girls
Nelly Garnica, a sophomore at Oscar De La Hoya Charter, won the division title a year after placing second. Garnica crossed in 20:50.72 to earn a trip to the State Meet.
Mendez completed the boys-girls team title sweep, led by freshman Lucia Bautista
, who was fourth (third among scorers) in 21:49.62, and senior Metzli Cruz
, who added four points, crossing in 22;05.91.
Division V Boys
Luke Melendez and Brandon Adreani went 2-3 as New West Charter won the team title for the second consecutive year. Melendez, a junior, crossed in 17:15.69 and Adreani, a sophomore, was a couple strides back in 17:18.75.
Cesar Romero, a junior at Maywood Academy (MACES) who was second a year ago, won the title this time around, 35.72 in front of Melendez.
Junior Bryan Chave
z and sophomore Carson Severson
combined for 11 points as New West put four among the first seven across the line, including four of the top six scorers.
Division V Girls
Apparently a year away from the top didn't sit well for the girls at USC Media Arts & Engineering (MAE). After four consecutive titles, Sun Valley Magnet took the crown away in 2018. By all of two points.
On Saturday, USC MAE was back and made sure there would be no scoreboard watching at the end.
Kelly Wilson, Rubi Benitez and Julissa Castillo went 1-2-3 as part of a 22-point performance and 65-point margin over New West Charter leading USC MAE back to the State Meet.
Wilson, a junior who was 10th overall last year, ran the Pierce College course nearly two minutes faster than she did in the 2018 finals, crossing in 21:34.66. Benitez, a senior, sixth last year, crossed in 21;50.20, with Castillo, a freshman, a stride back in 21:50.57.
Senior Marisol Torro
was the top runner for New West, crossing fourth in 22:03.83 and earning an individual berth to the State Meet. New West sophomore Hana Morshedi
, the defending section champion, was 19th and missed a trip to Fresno.