A Great Mix Of Successes On Day 1 Of The Mt. SAC Invite

* La Jolla's Chiara Dailey won the Division 3-4-5 Sweepstakes race on Friday

Photo Credit: Jeff Parenti

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WALNUT, Ca. -- The first day of the 75th Mt. San Antonio College Cross Country Invitational, which was reserved for runners competing in CIF Divisions 3, 4 and 5, produced a healthy mix of success in the major races.

One runner defended her title, two male runners were able to avenge close title-finishes from a year ago and win outright, and another girl made a significant leap in lowering her time in just a year's time.

The only successful defense of an individual win last year came from the San Diego Section's La Jolla High sophomore Chiara Dailey. For the second straight year, Dailey finished first in the girls Division 3-4-5 Team Sweepstakes race. Dailey, who won in 16:58 in 2022, lowered her personal-best on the Mt. SAC course to 16:52.

Dailey went out to a 5:09 first mile and then she ran away from the competition from there -- both a good thing, but also a challenge on a hilly course that tallied 2.93 miles. 

"I was prepared to battle it out, but it ended up being just me and I had to push myself," Dailey said afterward. "I think if I would have had more competition I could have gone faster (timewise). I was just hitting the hills as hard as I could by myself."

Meanwhile, in the girls individual sweepstakes race, Frances Parker sophomore Ariella Llorens, another standout from the San Diego Section, captured the title with a 17:44. Her time shaved 88 seconds off her previous best invitational time at Mt. SAC, which came in 2022 when she finished 13th in the individual sweepstakes race with a 19:12 mark.

"I'm super excited," said Llorens. "I didn't expect this, but I just put it all out there and won it."

On the boys side, seniors Emanuel Perez of Los Angeles Cathedral and Lake Arrowhead Rim of the World's Ethan Parcells had finished third and second, respectively, in their invitational races last year.

This year, both runners broke through with individual efforts that not only serve as great times at this stage of the season, but could definitely serve as a catalyst for lower times and success at next month's CIF-Southern Section finals, which will also be held at Mt. SAC.

Perez won the boys individual sweepstakes race with a time of 14:38, a mark that broke his own school record, but also left him feeling as though he could have gone faster, as he wound up running alone in the lead without much of a challenge from the rest of the field.

In 2022, Perez finished third in the Divsion 3-4-5 team sweepstakes race with a time of 15-minutes flat, but he returned a few weeks later to win the CIF-SS Division 4 title in 14:50.5.

In 2021, Perez went from a 13th place showing in 16:08.9 in the invitational race to a 15:27 and fourth place in the Division 4 final. Given his time on Friday, perhaps there could be a repeat and an even lower time at this year's division final.

"It's good to see that I'm improving, but I feel like this isn't my best effort -- yet," Perez said.

Parcells went 14:53 in the Division 3-4-5 team sweepstakes race, and he was the only runner in the race to go sub-15; he also lowered his best time in the invitational by 11 seconds. He had finished second in 15:04 in 2022 and had a fourth-place showing and a 16:03.1 time in a varsity-level Division 4 race at the 2021 meet.

"During the race I just stayed focused ... I was in second place for the first to two miles and then I just took off in that last mile and did what I was supposed to do," Parcells said.

Team Sweepstakes Results


The Division 3-4-5 Team Sweepstakes winners were Cathedral Catholic from the CIF-San Diego Section on the girls side and for the boys, Southern Section's La Canada St. Francis.

Cathedral Catholic's Mt. SAC Invitational team title was its third in a row in the Division 3-4-5 race. The Dons scored 78 points to win the championship.

Top performances were put in by sophomore Lindsay Zimmer, who was fourth in 18:15, and senior Scarlett Martin, who followed right behind her in 18:27 for fifth.

South Pasadena was the girls team runner-up with 126 points, edging out Palos Verdes (128).

The St. Francis boys scored 74 points on the strength of seniors Luke Metcalf and Sam Franco. Metcalf was fifth in 15:22 and Franco was seventh in 15:29.

Santa Margarita (SS) was the team runner-up with 144 points, led by senior Zachary Gibson's second-place finish in 15:09. Oak Park (SS) was third with 162 points.

Besides the team sweepstakes races, Frances Parker's Llorens keyed a team championship in the individual sweeps race with his win, which also helped his squad to score 91 points. Olivia Teates, a junior, was 10th in a time of 19:08 for Francis Parker.

Harvard Westlake (SS) won the boys team title in the individual sweepstakes race with 114 points. Leo Craig, a senior, was the team's top finisher in 19th place (16th for scoring) in 16:09.