RECAP Highlights From An Awesome CA Cross Country Weekend

More from the week that was ... 


It was another epic battle between NCS boys powers Campolindo and Maria Carrillo on Saturday at the Ed Sias Invitational. (Contributed photo by Eric Yabu)


In 2019, the boys teams from Campolindo and Maria Carrillo put on quite a show in the post-season. Maria Carrillo won the Division 3 race at the NCS finals with Campo placing second. A week later, it was Campo's turn, beating Maria Carrillo for the CIF-State Division III title. 

While many of the faces of changed since those battles two seasons ago, the uniforms battling for the top spot have remained the same. On Saturday, at the Ed Sias Invitational at Hidden Valley Park in Martinez, it was Campolindo and Maria Carrillo again battling for the top spot. 

In the Varsity Boys Small Schools race, only four points separated those two teams with Campo getting the victory led by junior Alexander Lodewick, senior Rhys Pullen, junior Connor McGhee, and juniors Blake Webster and Thomas Singh. 

Lodewick, the top returner from the 2019 State Meet where he placed 16th (11th among scoring runners), was third at that NCS meet as a freshman. Pullen, as a sophomore, was 27th overall (21st in scoring) at State and 17th at NCS in 2019. 

Maria Carrillo senior Jacob Donohue was the race winner at Ed Sias, crossing in 10:22.2, 9.9 seconds in front of Lodewick. In 2019, Donohue ran No. 6 for MC and placed 14th at the NCS meet. 

While those two NCS juggernauts were battling in the Small School race, Clovis West from the Central Section, was a 42-point winner over Monte Vista (NC) in the Large School race, going 2-3-6-7-8. Senior Benjamin Reyes was second overall in 10:31.2 followed by sophomore Sam Dresick, senior Gabe Perez, freshman Nico Palavicini and junior Nathanie Nodal. 

Alex Lamoureux, a junior at College Park (NC) was the race winner in 10:14.7, the fastest time off the meet.

The headliners of the girls divisions were Los Gatos (CC) freshman Shea Elmore and Campolindo junior Ellie Buckley.

Elmore won the Large School division race with the fastest time among all girls races, 12:01.0, well ahead of junior Los Gatos teammate Sophia Tau (12:18.0) and Clovis West senior Kalei Aoki-Chance (12:24.1).

Buckley won the Small School varsity girls race in 12:09.4 with Maria Carrillo senior Ashley Busienei second in 12:28.0. Buckley was ninth at the State Meet in 2019, placing 11th overall (ninth among scoring runners) while running No. 2 for a Campo team that won the State D-III title. Buckley's time was the third-fastest on that course by a Campo runner in history, behind only Carrie Verdon and Toni Finane.


Coach Bill Reeves took his Claremont (SS) A teams on the road to compete at the Garmin MileSplit TX XC Invitational held on the 5K Park Lakes course in Denton.

Senior Maddie Coles placed second in the Elite Varsity Girls race, overcoming an athlete pileup early on, and her twin brother Chris was fifth in the Elite Varsity Boys race. Sophomore Jie Yi Denise Chen was 10th as Claremont placed fifth among the 22 teams in the Elite Girls race. Interview with the Claremont girls team

Senior Jude Robledo was 19th (18th among scorers), and senior Jason Miranda was 25th (23rd) as Claremont placed third among 25 teams in the Elite Boys division. Interview with the Claremont boys team.



There were 13 elite performances at the Josh Ruff Invitational (SJ) on the 5K layout at Willow Hills Reservoir in Folsom, led by Anna McNatt of McClatchy (SJ) among the girls, and a trio of three of CA's best boys: Braden King of Jesuit (SJ), Zachary Ayers of Davis (SJ) and Mario Giannini of Chico (NS). 

First to McNatt, who is off to a blistering start to her junior season, running 18:07.76, 40-some seconds ahead of the next fastest girl at the meet, Kayla Rutz of Oak Ridge (SJ), who ran the 5K layout in 18:48.30. McNatt has placed first in all three of her invitational races so far this fall. 

King and Ayers figure to battle for SJS supremacy all season while Giannini may be unchallenged in the Northern Section. King won Saturday in 15:55.27 with Ayers just over a second behind in 15:56.32. Giannini crossed in 16:-01.69.  King's time was the fifth-fastest on the Willow Hills course in the storied history of the Jesuit program. 



Junior Sydney Sundgren of Buchanan (CS) established herself as a freshman, running No. 2 as the Bears won the 2019 CIF-State title. Nearly two years later, she remains one CA's elite girls.

On Saturday, running the traditional 2-mile course at Kingsburg (CS), Sundgren dropped 10:28.52 to win the JV Girls Race by nearly 11 seconds over 2023 teammate Grace Hutchison. Both, of course, scored for the Bears in that 2019 upset of Great Oak (SS) in the State D-I race.

It was only Sundgren's second race of the fall and nearly a month removed from the Summer Sizzle where she blistered the Woodward Park 2-mile design in 10:23.70. For the class of 2023, those are the two fastest 2-mile times in the country so far this fall. While 2-mile cross country races are more of a warm-up to the season and only Texas has fast marks at that distance in the MileSplit national database, Sundgren appears to be primed to stretch it out in longer races to come. The first will be this weekend in the Woodbridge Classic at the SilverLakes 3-miler in Norco, which may be the fastest XC course in the land. 

The next three across the line for Buchanan were freshmen Elle Lomeli (11:07.27) and Sierra Cornett (11:09.30), and sophomore Stefania Sesock (11:31.29). Senior Kaylee Elliott went 11:35.31 and junior Caroline Mendyk, working through an injury, went 12:06.59. Mendyk's injury leaves the Bears thin in the back when it comes to major competition like this week's challenge on the fast track in Norco. That said, Buchanan still ran 36 seconds faster for their team time than did the 2019 team that won State. 

While our focus of this item has been on the Buchanan girls -- the Bears are, after all, the defending CIF-State Division I champions -- but the Buchanan boys also warrant attention. 

Senior Brenton Maddox had the fastest time of the day, running 9:31.42, and he needed just about all of it to outrace Cocoran's Paul Quintanilla (9:33.43) and Monache's Ian Queenan (9:39.11) in the senior race. Buchanan went 1-2-3 in the junior race with Noah Ray (9:41.36) and Zach Weaver (9:52.70) running sub-10 and Andrew Escobar (10:37.05) closing in for third. The Bears' Ryan Kunkel won the sophomore race (10?13.02) and Max Jauregui was nearly a 22-second winner in the frosh 2-miler (10:27.45). And, as with the ladies, the lads also eclipsed their 2019 team time by 19 seconds.




Beaumont (SS) (3 miles) -- Ethan Parcells (Rim of the World/SS/Fr.) had the fastest time among boys, 15:41.2 with Vicente Quiroz (Cajon/SS/Jr.) next in 15:54.9. Mackenzie Browne (JW North/SS/Jr.) was unchallenged in the girls' race, 18:30.6. The next-fastest was Hannah Butterfield (Beaumont/SS/Fr.) in 19:47.3. 

Farmer at Hayward (NC) (3 miles) -- Sean Morello (Albany/NC/Jr.) was the fastest among the boys, 15:25.07 with Sharvin Manjrekar (Dublin/NC/Sr.) next in 15:25.63. In a tight girls competition, Ellianna Shapiro (American/NC/Sr.) was fastest on the course in 18:06.12 with Rhea Braganza (Dougherty Valley/NC/Sr.) next in 18:16.92 and Dougherty Valley freshman Sabrina Noriega just behind in 18:17.56.

Ian Cumming/Tim Latham Invite at Rohr Park in Bonita (SD) -- Francis Parker senior Kenan Pala was a runaway winner in a meet that included some of San Diego's fastest boys. Pala, who went 14:11.11 to win the CCA Ravens Invite the week before, blazed this 5K layout in 15:16.00. The next three fastest boys among the SDS' finest were Manuel Correia (Point Loma/SD/Jr.) 16:03.60, Russell Blakely (Grossmont/SD/Jr.) 16:13.20, and Jimmy Byland (Hilltop/SD/Sr.) 16:29.70. The girls' course only went 2.5 miles where Sophie Compton (Point Loma/SD/Sr.) was the fastest in 15:29.50, well ahead of runner-up Amanda Challburg (Eastlake/SD/Jr.) 16:13.10.

Kim Duyst Twilight in Ceres (SJ) (5K) -- Adin Dibble (Sonora/SJ/Sr.) won the photo-finish over Broen Holman (Sonora/SJ/Fr.) with exact times of 15:32.90. Kiah Aitken (Lodi/SJ/So.) was a 37-second winner over Isabel Perez-Zoghbi (Merced/SJ/Sr.) 18:59.90. 

Laguna Hills (SS) (3 miles) -- Fastest among the 12 girls races was Holly Barker (Laguna Hills/SS/Fr.) 16:59.20, as the only sub-17 girl. The next four girls overall were Sophie Polay (Santa Margarita/SS/Fr.) and Mackenzie Rogers (Poway/SD/Sr.) both at 18:23.50, Daniela Quintero (Harvard Westlake/SS/Sr.) 18:25.80, and Tessa Buswell (Poway/SD/So.) 18:36.70. A dozen boys races produced just three sub-16 performances: Brennan Foody (Aliso Niguel/SS/Sr.) 15:38.20, Will Sheehy (Harvard Westlake/SS/Sr.) 15:52.20 and Juan Chantaca (San Clemente/SS/Jr.) 15:58.40. MORE COVERAGE

Morro Bay (CS) (3-miles) -- Nathaniel Avila (Clovis/CS/Sr.) 15:16.80 with a narrow victory over Joshua Bell (Templeton/CS/So.) 15:18.80 in the Varsity Boys race. Charlotte Castelli (Paso Robles/CS/Sr.) won the Varsity Girls race in 19:11.50 with Madeline Bobbitt (Templeton/CS/Sr.) second in 19:36.50. 

Nevada Union at Grass Valley (SJ) (3 miles) -- Natalie Wieland (Ponderosa/SJ/Sr.) was the fastest among the girls races in 1847.64 with Katie Kopec (Whitney/SJ/Jr.) next in 19:12.40. Nevada schools took the fastest spots among boys. Devin Pereira (Rocklin/SJ/Jr.) was fourth overall as the fastest among CA boys in 16:40.23. MORE COVERAGE

Rosemead (SS) (3 miles) -- Sequoia Gonzales (Torrance/SS/Sr.) was the fastest on the course among the girls' races, winning the Elite event in 18:15.3 with Ryan Prioleau (Torrance/SS/Jr.) second in that race in 18:25.0. Danielle Hollander (Beverly Hills/SS/Jr.) won the Junior Girls race with the second-fastest time of the meet, 18:18.5. Among the boys, the Elite race was the fastest, paced by Jason Parra (Millikan/SS/So.) in 15:11.9 while being chased by a trio from Loyola (SS) in seniors Richard Moreno (15:23.1) and Dylan Bissell (15:23.8) and junior Jake Ratkovich (15:26.9). MORE COVERAGE

San Francisco Invitational hosted by Lowell (SF/CC/NC) -- MEET COVERAGE

Additional photos by Patrick Corsinita. Kingsburg video courtesy of Dustin Beauchamp.