CIF Prelims:Riverside- Our cross country team had the opportunity to compete in the SoCal Prelims race. The top teams in the southern section get to compete against one another. The Southern Section has some of the fiercest competition in the nation. Newbury Park (boys) and Claremont (girls) were some of the stand out schools in our division both being division state champions for the previous year. The top 12 schools in each heat move on to the next weekend for SoCal Finals.
Our first race of the day was our girls team of Makayla Koshmerl (10), Emily Cardenas (9), Citlaly Ruiz (9), Ashley Magana (9), Amelia Mercado (10), Nataly Joya (9), and Bianca Rivas (12). We also had the opportunity to bring 5 alternates in the event our starting 7 were not able to perform. Our alternates were Lissett Nieto (12), Johari Jauregui (11), Julia Ramirez (11), Annhie Rios (11), and Sofia Hernandez (10). Our girls went off knowing that it was going to be a fast race. Makayla challenged herself more than ever by attempting to be in the top 40. The pace went off extremely fast for our girls, but nonetheless they went after it. Makayla ended up dropping back to 78th place finishing first for our girls. She took an admirable risk to hang on to the front pack, and so she learned at what work must be done to be able to stay there. Emily came in next and she managed to keep passing girls throughout the race challenging the girls next to her. Citlaly made incredible moves making her way up to our top 3 scoring girls passing several girls on her way to that position, while at the same time running a personal best. Ashley was our next girl coming in at an incredible 20:44 time. She was only 20 seconds off her personal best, while fighting a hamstring injury from Mt. Sac. Amelia rounded out our scoring varsity by running a season best time despite feeling the pains of this seasons injuries. Nataly and Bianca were working together for most of the race. Nataly had a rocket finish at the end passing several girls and Bianca managed to fight off shin pain beating her last year time on this course. The girls heat was the fastest of all Southern Section heats in all divisions with 20 girls running under 18 minutes for 3 miles. The first girl finished in an incredibly fast time of 17:08. While our girls may not have placed where they had liked, they got a taste of the best competition, which we hope gets them hungry to improve in the next year to be in those top 12 teams. We are a young girls team and we are hoping that they keep this momentum going.
Our boys were next with the team of Ernesto Ruiz (10), Mario Arce (12), Ivan Vargas (12), Eric Olivo (11), Jonathan Martinez (10), Julian Osnaya (11), and Mark Landa (9) with our alternates being Osiel Mendoza (12), Anthony Torres-Martinez (10), Javier Ruiz (11), Emmanuel Reyes (9), and Adrian Marquez (11). The same strategy was in place, which was to take risk to be able to have a chance to move on. Ernesto took off with the front group of boys and maintained in the top 20 for the first mile or so, but unfortunately his hip was bothering him and he needed to drop back the pace. He still finished first for our team with a 16 flat time. Mario came next with Ivan just behind them. The two of them had impressive finishes and positions where they managed to work well together throughout the race. Eric was next finishing in 4th for our team in an impressive 17:21, while Jonathan was right behind him setting a new personal record for himself at 17:27. Julian also managed to set a personal record for himself running his race in 18:08. Mark rounded out the varsity team finishing just seconds shy of his own personal best. Our boys were just 4 spots away from moving on, but still performed well against the best competition in the state.
This race concluded our season, but we had an amazing time as coaches watching this growth from our team. As always we are even more excited for the next year to see how far these athletes will go. There has been so much to highlight this season and it has truly been a pleasure to coach.