2021 CIF-STATE CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
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FRESNO -- It's was a chilly one folks with the weather in the mid-40s for the first several races! But it warmed up rather nicely on a sparkling clear and sunny day at Woodward Park, site of all 33 CIF-State Cross Country Championship meets.
DIVISION III BOYS RECAP
At the Mile: The leaders went through the mile mark, led by Jimmy Byland at 4:47.1. Campolindo's Rhys Pullen was right behind him at 4:48.6, leading his squad to the early team 53-101 lead over Southern Section champion West Torrance with Newark Memorial at 111. The entire Campolindo team all within 5 seconds of one another.
Just past the 2-Mile: Conor Gibson of West Torrance and Tamalpais' Caden Carney (pictured) leading a huge pack with less than a mile to go at 10:27! The front pack of nine all within 4-seconds of one another! This showdown was anticipated all season long as West Torrance now takes the lead over Campolindo with less than a mile to go 63-77! Maria Carrillo is in line for the podium at 155 points.
At the Finish: Carney pulls away from the pack and for the upset at 15:04.6 for the eighth-fastest time in Division 3 history. Gibson (15:12.9) and Isaiah Givens (15:15.3) of Pasadena round out the top three! With three in the top 20, West Torrance, with the second-fastest team time (78:33) in division history, captures the title over Campolindo, 57-70! Maria Carrillo holds on for third at 174.
Top 3 Teams
West Torrance (SS) - 57
Campolindo (NCS) - 70
Maria Carrillo (NCS) - 174
DIVISION IV BOYS RECAP
At the Mile: All pre-race favorites came through as a pack in 4:43, with Albany's Sean Morello in front. Southern Section runner-up, Cathedral out to the early lead at a relatively high score of 145. Every team is in it at the mile as this anticipates to be one of the tighter team races of the day.
Just past the 2-Mile: Big Bear's Max Sannes (pictured) trying to pull away but Sage Creek's Bryce Gilmore is right there on his shoulder - both just under 10:16 as these two can break 15:00! Albany moves into the team lead at 144 but Archie Williams is not too far behind at 155 and Cathedral now at 179. The team battle will come down to those back-end scorers!
At the Finish: Sannes runs to the victory at 15:01, for the fourth-fastest time in divisional State Meet history! Gilmore crosses in 15:09 with Morello at 15:10 to make this one of the fastest Division IV boys' races in meet history. Albany holds on for the team title at 119 points while Archie Williams of the North Coast section surprises with their second-place finish at 148 while Scotts Valley at third with 158.
Top 3 Teams
Albany (NCS) - 130
Archie Williams (NCS) - 152
Scotts Valley (CCS) - 160
DIVISION III GIRLS RECAP
At the Mile: Huge pack, with all pre-race favorites, coming through at 5:36 with Agoura's Georgia McCorkle pacing. Looking to pull an upset, Campolindo getting after it early with all five in the top 30 for a comfortable 52-131 advantage over Del Oro. Cathedral Catholic has some catching up to do at 173, just over La Costa Canyon at 174.
Just past the 2-Mile: Campolindo's Ellie Buckley, Montgomery freshman Hanne Thomsen (pictured), and Chino's Mia Chavez all coming through under 12:10 but McCorkle is still there at 12:11. Two-time champion, Riley Chamberlain shadowing that pack at 12:12. Del Oro closes the gap on Campolindo with less than a mile to go, 67-115 with Cathedral Catholic still with a lot of work to do at 149 with Palos Verdes at 156.
At the Finish: The freshman, Hanne Thomsen (17:38) holds off fast charging Chamberlain (17:41) over the last 300 meters for the State title! McCorkle outlasts Chavez for third place - 17:53 to 17:55. Campolindo holds off Del Oro for the title in a tight 109-120 battle! Cathedral Catholic settles for third at 157, with fast-charging Tamalpais coming up for fourth at 163. Campolindo defends its Div. III title with their third in the past four State Meets.
Top 3 Teams
Campolindo (NCS) - 109
Del Oro (SJS) - 120
Cathedral Catholic (SDS) - 157
DIVISION IV RECAP
At the Mile: The girls are getting after it! In a rematch of the North Coast Section finals, Albany's Sophia Nordenholz (pictured) takes them through at 5:16 but Acalanes sophomore Olivia Williams is there at 5:18. Much faster than what we saw in the Division III race, Scotts Valley's Ashlyn Boothby pacing the pack at 5:22. JSerra running well with only 85 points, well ahead of Sage Creek at 132 and La Canada (139).
Just Past the 2-Mile: They continue to press on with Nordenholz at 11:31 and Williams at 11:33! Both flirting with that coveted 17-minute mark! Sage Creek senior Stormy Wallace takes a trio through at 11:56 with Oak Christian sophomore Payton Godsey and Boothby. They are on pace to break 17:30! Sage Creek closes in on JSerra, cutting the lead down to 100-120 with La Canada close by at 125!
At the Finish: Oh my!!! Nordenholz runs the third-fastest time in division State Meet history at 16:46 and is the fourth fastest girl ... ever in course history! Williams runs the fourth-fastest at 16:56! Boothby leaves the trio to place third at 17:27 to also enter the top-10 on the Div. IV all-time list. Williams runs the second-fastest sophomore time in course history. BUT ... in one of the closest three-team finishes in State Meet history, JSerra holds on with a 120-128 over Southern Section foe La Canada! Sage Creek places a close third at 130!
Top 3 Teams
JSerra (SS) - 122
La Canada (SS) - 130
Sage Creek (SDS) - 131
DIVISION V BOYS RECAP
At the Mile: Kenan Pala of Francis Parker (pictured) is going after that divisional State Meet record but he has company with Alex Mader of Lick-Wilmerding -- his future teammate at Yale -- and Mark Trammell of Santa Fe Christian right there as well. Pala comes through at 4:37 while the team score is crazy close! Lick Wilmerding and Santa Fe Christian are tied at 83 with Francis Parker not too far back at 99.
Just Past the 2-Mile: Mader is not letting Pala go as both are together just under 10:10 with less than a mile to go. These two are the fastest thus far and flirting to go under that 15-minute mark. Lick Wilmerding with a 22-point advantage on Santa Fe Christian
At the Finish: As anticipated, Pala establishes a new Division V State Meet record at 14:51 but Mader ALSO breaks the previous record in crossing in at 14:57! Trammell and teammate, Alex Bobowski under 15:20 for Santa Fe Christian. Mader leads his crew to the State championship in scoring 79, ahead of Santa Fe Christian's 107! Crystal Springs Uplands of the Central Coast Section comes from behind to claim that third spot to the podium at 148, just ahead of Francis Parker's 150.
Top 3 Teams
Lick Wilmerding (NCS) - 81
Sanfa Fe Christian (SDS) - 107
Crystal Springs Uplands (CCS) - 148
DIVISION I GIRLS RECAP
At the Mile: In the most anticipated matchup of the day, defending State champions Buchanan will look to hold off the defending Div. II champs from 2019, Newbury Park. They're not playing around as the pack comes through at 5:20-5:21, with NP senior Sam McDonnell coming through first. McClatchy junior Anna McNatt is right there as well along with the Buchanan junior duo of Grace Hutchison and Sydney Sundgren! As expected, NP out to the early lead, 56-76 with Oak Ridge at 118.
Just past the 2-Mile: Pre-race favorite McDonnell takes them through at 11:40 but McNatt is right behind her! Both are under sub-17 minute pace! Buchanan's Sundgren and Hutchison maintain while Saugus senior Isabella Duarte moves up to fifth. As expected, Buchanan took control of the back part of the course to emerge with less than a mile to go with the 42-57 lead. Freshman Elliana Lomeli moved ahead of NP's No. 2. Oak Ridge at a comfortable 131, 61 points ahead of Dougherty Valley.
At the Finish: McNatt pulls off the upset! With an incredible surge over the last 200 meters, McNatt pulls ahead for the 17:08 victory with McDonnell at 17:09. Sundgren comes up for third at 17:31 but wow, Buchanan's squad picked it up, overcoming the loss of one of their top scorers over the last mile as well as another falling just before the finish line! Buchanan holds on for the 51-72 victory over Newbury Park. Oak Ridge places third at 147 with a great showing from Dougherty Valley in fourth at 176. Some unanticipated happenings took place in this race as neither of the national powerhouses performed as they wanted to, but Buchanan held on to defend its State Meet title and with the seventh-fastest time (90:13) in Division I history.
Top 3 Teams
Buchanan (CS) - 51
Newbury Park (SS) - 72
Oak Ridge (SJS) - 147
DIVISION II BOYS RECAP
At the Mile: Compared to boys' races, a huge pack comes through at a conservative 4:51 with a who's-who of 18 coming through within a two-second bubble. Granada was the most compressed of the teams, coming through an early 66-135 advantage over Vacaville. The team battle will all be decided over the last two miles!
Just past the 2-Mile: Individually, it is WIDE open as Tommy Rogers of Junipero Serra of the Central Coast Section leads them through at 10:33 with five others within three seconds. This is, by far, the slowest on the day as we anticipate A LOT of movements taking place in the last four minutes! Watch for fast closing Jai Dawson (bib 452) of Dana Hills over the last 1200 meters! Granada maintained its lead over Vacaville, 97-144 but Mira Costa closed in at 145.
At the Finish: We called it! Dawson FTW in 15:20 (ran 15:10 two years ago) simply racing to win here for the State Meet title. Granada's Roland Ruckmann-Barnes closing in with a 15:23, just ahead of Claremont senior Chris Coles. But ... wow! San Luis Obispo, only competing in this higher division due to the competitive equity requirement issued by the Central Section, leapfrogged FOUR other squads for the team title! SLO overcame an 80-point difference to snag the title from Granada, 105-112. Mira Costa placed third at 125, ahead of Ayala at 176.
Top 3 Teams
San Luis Obispo (CS) - 105
Granada (NCS) - 112
Mira Costa (SS) - 125
DIVISION V GIRLS RECAP
At the Mile: Just like our previous race, a huge pack coming through. Revere Schmidt (bib 1498) of Santa Fe Christian took them through at 5:35 with pre-race favorite, JiaLian Mackey of Flintridge Prep right behind her. Lick Wilmerding looking to match the boys as they come across with a 106-163 advantage over Linfield Christian. Castilleja is not too far back at 175.
Just past the 2-Mile: Schmidt made some great moves on the back part of the course and looks to pull the upset as she is 12:22 - 12:31 over Mackey. St. Margaret's junior Liesel Blau moves up to third at 12:35 and within striking range of Mackey. And the team race heats up with SF University ascending on the back part of the course, closing the gap on Lick Wilmerding, 75-90! Linfield Christian moving down to third at 117.
At the Finish: Schmidt only pulling away for the impressive victory at 18:19! Castilleja's Samira Kennedy coming up big with an 18:31 runner-up finish, out-leaning Blau. Madeline Cramer of Bishop crosses for fourth in 18:34. The team battle, another North Coast Section one, will be the closest of the day and in a dead heat once both squads fifth-scorer crossed! But, avenging their loss at the NCS championships, SF University claims ANOTHER state title in overcoming Lick Wilmerding, 100-103!
Top 3 Teams
SF University (NCS) - 100
Lick Wilmerding (NCS) - 103
Linfield Christian (SS) - 146
DIVISION I BOYS RECAP
At the Mile: No surprises here, but Newbury Park fab-four coming through at a relatively comfortable 4:33! The Clovis duo of Chris Caudillo and Nathaniel Avila in tow at 4:33. Obviously going to shatter all State Meet records here, as the real race truly has become for those last two podium spots. Can Newbury Park have someone break the overall course record? Uh, we mean ... two or three?? Loyola is second in the team scoring at 134 with Dublin at 145 and San Clemente at 181.
Just past the 2-Mile: Here we go! The fastest today was 10:10 and that boy went 14:51 - they are ALL at 10:01-10:03! Colin Sahlman at 10:01 and twins Lex Young and Leo Young right behind at 10:02! Their fifth-scorer is at 10:19. The Division I record of 23 points is going down! Meanwhile, Great Oak is poised to surge.
At the Finish: Holy crud! Not only a new course record but THREE under 14:31! Colin Sahlman with the second-fastest ever in State Meet history at 14:27, with Leo Young at 14:28 and Lex Young at 14:31! They shatter any previous State Meet team times at 73:22 and 17 seconds fastest than they ran last month in scoring 16 points, the lowest team score in any division ... EVER! Davis senior Zach Ayers broke up the monopoly with his fifth-place, 14:56 performance. Even NP's No. 4, Aaron Sahlman's 14:47 is in the top 10 all-time for Division I. Great Oak stayed strong for a runner-up effort at 119, over Loyola's 143. We mentioned in our preview that San Clemente did not run at their best last weekend and they come up big for fourth at 175.
Top 3 Teams
Newbury Park (SS) - 16
Great Oak (SS) - 119
Loyola (SS) - 143
DIVISION II GIRLS RECAP
At the Mile: Pre-race favorite Dalia Frias of Mira Costa taking them through at 5:17 with Ventura freshman Sadie Engelhardt right beside her. Peninsula's Aishling Callanan in their shadow at 5:19. But, the team competition is tight as can be with Mira Costa with a slim 133-136 advantage over Canyon of Anaheim Hills. Granada is not too far behind at 140.
Just past the 2-Mile: It's become a battle between the senior (Frias) and the freshman (Engelhardt) as both are at the same pace as our two-17:00 minute girls from earlier as are both under 11:33! Callanan crosses at a distant 11:57 but Mira Costa opens up a 100-136 lead over Granada as Canyon falls back to 140. Watch for MC's Anna Chittenden to gain some points at the finish.
At the Finish: In an epic battle to the finish, Frias opened up a lead with 400 meters, surging on with the 16:52 victory while Engelhardt just missed the all-time freshman State Meet record in crossing in 16:59! Frias' time was the second-best ever in Division II history. Callanan placed third at 17:45. Mira Costa with three in the top six to run away with the team title over Canyon, 86-123! Granite Bay placed third at 149.
Top 3 Teams
Mira Costa (SS) - 86
Canyon, Ana. (SS) - 123
Granite Bay (SJS) - 149
TOP 10 TEAM TIMES - BOYS
1. Newbury Park (SS) - 73:23
2. West Torrance (SS) - 78:33
3. Great Oak (SS) - 78:49
4. Loyola (SS) - 79:10
5. Campolindo (NCS) - 79:17
6. San Clemente (SS) - 79:36
7. Granada (NCS) - 79:45
8. San Luis Obispo (SS) - 79:51
9. Jesuit (SJS) - 79:51
10. Mira Costa (SS) - 80:00
TOP 10 TEAM TIMES - GIRLS
1. Buchanan (CS) - 90:13
2. Newbury Park (SS) - 90:28
3. Mira Costa (SS) - 90:53
4. Oak Ridge (SJS) - 93:22
5. Canyon, Ana. (SS) - 93:41
6. Dougherty Valley (NCS) - 94:13
7. Del Oro (SJS) - 94:14
8. Camponlindo (NCS) - 94:21
9. Granite Bay (SJS) - 94:32
10. Great Oak (SS) - 94:34
Southern Section - 1st (4), 2nd (4), 3rd (3)
North Coast Section - 1st (4), 2nd (4), 3rd (1)
San Diego Section - 1st (0), 2nd (1), 3rd (2)
Sac-Joaquin Section - 1st (0), 2nd (1), 3rd (2)
Central Coast Section - 1st (0), 2nd (0), 3rd (2)
Central Section - 1st (2), 2nd (0), 3rd (0)
Mark Gardner is a teacher, former coach, in-demand announcer, and an expert contributor to MileSplitCA
Photos by DeAnna Turner and Jeffrey Parenti