RECAP Soobrian, Morgenfeld Run Fastest on Windy Day at CCS

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BELMONT -- As Aptos High School senior Trent Nosky was preparing for the Central Coast Section cross country championships on Saturday, he decided to add an accessory.

The gloves.

You don't see a lot of runners in California don gloves for races, but it was a cold and windy day at the Crystal Springs Cross Country Course. The wind was picking up during the day and was particularly severe during the boys Division 3 race - the last of the day.

Nosky made a good choice. He outkicked Pioneer junior Carson Hedlund to the finish, winning the race in 15 minutes, 23.2 seconds. Hedlund finished in 15:23.5.

"I didn't expect it to be this windy," Nosky said. "But once it was, I wore the gloves."

Nosky said he met Wesley Kiptoo, an NCAA indoor champion at 5,000 meters at a race. Kiptoo runs with gloves.

Keeping the hands warm certainly worked in Nosky's favor.

"The conditions today weren't the best," he said. "My goal is just to win the race. The first mile was relatively slow, 5:20. I was in first place the whole race except the last 150 meters. I felt great at the end, I had a really great finish, even against Carson who has really great finishing speed. I pushed it just enough to cross the line before him."

Nosky said he hopes to medal at the California Interscholastic Federation Championships in two weeks in Fresno.

Westmont won the division title with St. Ignatius earning the other berth into the Nov. 26 CIF-State Championships. Junior Shane Dalziel placed third overall for Westmont, running the course in 15:32.30. Sophomore Landon Cribari was eighth (15:53.80), senior Zachary Irwin was 10th (15:57.00), and sophomore Aaron Soni was 11th (16:02.80) leading Westmont's 18-point victory, the program's first CCS title.

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Palo Alto junior Grant Morgenfeld had the best time of the day for the boys, winning the Division 2 race in 14:54.1 -- more than 30 seconds ahead of second-place Liam Saxton of Archbishop Mitty (15:27.5).

"I really wanted to take it out pretty quick," Morgenfeld said. "The first mile was sub-4:50. I was really excited for this race."

Morgenfeld said his goal is to finish top five at the State Meet and run under 15:00.

Mountain View senior Evan Markelz took the Division 1 race in 15:09.3 - 41 seconds ahead of Milpitas junior Alex Althouse.

"I had a pretty rough race today," Markelz said. "I've been sick for the past week and could really feel it out there. I'm not too happy with the time, but a win's a win."

Los Altos senior Lauren Soobrian was the fastest girl on the 2.95-mile course, winning the Division 2 race in 17:29.0. Archbishop Mitty sophomore Evie Marheineke was second in 17:36.2.

"My main goal was to go out strong," Soobrian said. "I'm super-grateful to have such an amazing team to train with."

Los Altos won the team title with 46 points. Four of the top five times on the day came in the Division 2 race where five girls ran sub-18.

Behind Marheineke was a pair from Palo Alto, sophomore Kinga Czajkowska (17:36.80) and senior Elizabeth Fetter (17:48.20), and St. Francis senior Anna Fawcett (17:58.10).

Also scoring for Los Altos: Sophomore Emily Soobrian, eighth in 18:19.40, junior Jasleen Sidhu, 10th in 18:23.40, senior Fiona Bodkin, 11th in 18:31.80, and freshman Emma Beedon, 17th overall (16th among scorers) in 18:58.80.

It was far from a walk in the park for Los Altos, ranked No. 2 in CA and top 15 nationally, which was pushed by a stellar Palo Alto lineup that was just six points behind, and perennial CCS power St. Francis, which scored 60, to earn the section's third an final State Meet berth.

Kaiya Brooks, a senior at Crystal Springs Uplands, won the Division 5 race in 17:44.7 in leading her team to its first CCS title since 2015.

"I felt really good," Brooks said. "It wasn't a PR but I felt really good. I'm excited to have two weeks of training going into State."

Crystal Springs Uplands beat Castilleja by six points for the title. The division is allotted four spots into the State Meet. Joining them will be the Menlo School and the Nueva School. 

Oceana sophomore Lara Scanziani ran second behind Brooks, crossing in 18:38.80, before a parade of Castilleja girls: Perry McElhinney (third in 19:01.70), Daniella Henderson (4th, in 19:02.90), and senior Samira Kennedy (fifth in 19:09.90). 

Freshman Kira Dye was next for CSUS (19:31.40) followed by Menlo freshman Ariya Kaushek (19:51.10). Junior Maya Wohl was also a top-10 finisher for CSUS (20:09.80).

Junior Tatum Olesen led Menlo-Atherton to four of the top five places in the Division 1 race, finishing in 18:33.5. Menlo-Atherton easily won the team title with 19 points.

"We've been waiting for this race throughout the season," Olesen said. "I felt really good coming in. I think it's really motivating to run with our whole team. Staying together and pushing each other to the end is really helpful for us."

Behind Olesen were seniors Katie Lorenz in second (18:44.40) and Chloe Pilette in third (18:49.30), with juniors Annie Pflaum in fifth (18:53.80) and Cleo Rehkopf in eighth (19:29.80).

Prospect sophomore Kylie Hoornaert won the Division 3 race in 18:08.1, a full 43 seconds in front of second place Stella Newman, a freshman from Burlingame.

"It's really windy today and that stopped me from kicking as much as I wanted to," Hoornaert said. "But it went really well and I'm super-happy, CCS champion is really cool."

Willow Glen won the division title and Leland earned the division's second and final berth into the State Meet on a sixth-runner tie-breaker (junior Ameya Ganesh's 41st overall scoring place finish in 21:42.20). 

Sisters Ashlyn and Amber Boothby ran 1-2 in the Division 4 race. Ashlyn, a junior, finished first for Scotts Valley in 18:10.5. Amber, a senior, came home in 18:29.0. Also for the winners, freshman Ava Decleve (19:10.10) was fifth, senior Rafaela Putnam was eighth (19:55.90), and junior Diana Alivov was 22nd (18th in scoring), running 20:43.20. Scotts Valley. Carmel and Half Moon Bay also earned State Meet spots. 

Scotts Valley won the team title with 35 points led by the 1-2 finish of seniors Aiden Boothby (15:52.50) and Jack Brownfield (15:57.70). It also won the boys Division 4 team title with 59 points. Santa Cruz sophomore Eli Fitchen-Young was the individual champion in 15:24.3. Carmel and Archbishop Riordan earned the division's other two State Meet spots.

The boys Division 5 race included two of the state's elite small school teams, Crystal Springs Uplands School, and Menlo School.

Just over a week ago, the Gryphons of CSUS beat Menlo for the WBAL title by just one point. On Saturday, Menlo senior Justin Pretre won the race in 14:58.20, but CSUS sophomore Benjamin Bouie finished in front of Pretre's sophomore brother Landon for second (15:23.78) setting the stage for Coach Albert Caruana's Gryphons' eighth consecutive CCS D-5 title. It was the program's 11th CCS title and, coupled with the girls' fifth overall victory, the 16th combined for the program. 

Senior Furious Clay placed fourth for CSUS in 15:39.00, sophomore Tarik Baker was fifth (15:41.30), sophomore Oliver Boesch was 10th (16:28.10), and junior Matthew Morris was 12th (11th among scorers in 16:38.50). 

Senior Aiden Deffner (eighth, 16:15.70), and sophomores William Hauser (13th, 16:50.60) and Jared Saal (14th, 16:54.20) were top-15 finishers for Menlo.

Wilcox appeared to win the team title in the boys Division 2 race, but runner Robert Cooper, who finished in the top 10, was disqualified for throwing his arms out while crossing the finish line. Wilcox ended up in ninth place. Los Gatos won the title with 114 points.

Photos by Raul Ebio and Daniel Hernandez

Damin Esper is a Bay Area-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to MileSplit.

MileSplit California State Editor Jeffrey Parenti contributed to this report.