US#1 Arcadia proved why they belong in the number one spot. The team shot out to the front at the start and stayed as close as they could to their two top teammates, Ammar Moussa and Sergio Gonzalez.
At the start of the race both Moussa and Gonzalez, while running at a full sprint, looked around and behind to see where their teammates where. For them the meet was all about the team and breaking the course record……… and they wanted to make sure they were close by. If any team could perform such a feat it was this one.
"Me and my teammates were here to take care of business and go after the course record," said Ammar Moussa after the race, "We did what we had to do."
The team finished with an average time of 1:15.16 placing runners in 1st, 2nd, 15th, 18th and 20th.
Moussa was slightly ahead of Andrew Miles (LB Poly) at the 800 mark and at the mile where the switchbacks begin it looked to many as if Sergio Gonzalez was making a move on his teammate but in reality he was trying to secure a 2nd place position.
"It was more about finishing 2nd in the race, we were going for 1-2 in the race and we did it," said a very happy Gonzalez after the race.
Gonzalez moved back to third as they all entered the airstrip but the hills were his strength as he moved back into second on the reservoir. Moussa continued to increase the gap between himself and 2nd place as he crossed the finish line with a 14:24 tie in the course record tie. Diego Mercado's ran 14:24 at the Mt. Sac Invitational in 2005.
In the individual race Elias Gedyon (Loyola) was challenged throughout the 3 mile run by Sam Pons (South Pasadena). As the two climbed the steep reservoir hill, the 1600 State Champ (Gedyon) and the 3200 State Champ (Pons) ran stride for stride until the final 400 meters when Gedyon started to move ahead.
(Photo: Gedyon and Pons with 400 meters to go in the race).
"I knew it was going to be a tough race but I had a little saved for the end," said Gedyon after the race. Gedyon pulled ahead and finished the race with a #2 all time finish of 14:26 over Sam Pons who finished in 14:30. However, the #2 all time finish was short lived as Moussa's tie for the all time #1 record moved Gedyon down to #3 all time. Lane Werley (King) who had a photo finish with Gedyon at the Mt. Carmel Invitational finished in 3rd with a time of 14:35.
Gedyon's finish also helped his team to a 1st place finish with an average team time of 1:17.08.
Molly Grabill (Sr., Rancho Bernardo) ran a relaxed race leading her team to a first place finish and a second consecutive Mt. Sac title for herself. Grabill moved to the front at the start of the race and maintained a steady lead until the finish. Adrianna Olivas (Jr., Centennial, Corona) stayed close behind thoughout the race finishing 9 seconds back for a 2nd place finish.
In the girls team sweepstakes race a tiny freshman from Simi Valley ran to a new freshman course record once held by Jordan Hasay. Sarah Baxter started the race with the simple thought of trying to do her best.
"I came into this race not knowing what I was going to do but just hoping I was going to do my best and get a good place," said an unassuming Baxter.
Baxter took the lead at the second valley loop and came into the air strip at the half way point with Catrina McAlister (Arcadia) and Alli Billmeyer (Torrey Pines) on her heels. As the group started up poop-out hill Baxter gained a little ground and continued widening the gap until she crossed the finish line in 16:41 breaking Jordan Hasay's freshman record of 16:48. Another freshman, Emma Abrahamson from La Costa Canyon finished in 2nd place with a time of 17:05, leading her team to the Girls Team Sweepstakes Title. The La Costa Canyon girls placed 2nd, 6th, 7th, 11th and 52nd with a team total time of 1:29.03.
Prior to the Mt. Sac Invitational Baxter won the Woodbridge Varsity Rated race with the 2nd fastest time of the day behind Catrina McAlister who won the girls Sweepstakes Race. Last week Baxter was pulled from a meet because of an injury.
Where does the young runner go from here, "I don't know," she answered, "I am really happy with my race….. I'll just play it by ear."