The Cross-Country season ended for South Pasadena High with CIF-Southern Section Finals last Saturday in Clovis, near Fresno.
As expected, both the girls and boys’ teams qualified for CIF Preliminaries after a stunning performance at the Rio Hondo League Finals. Taking place on Saturday, November 12, the boys and girls’ teams place sixth and eighth in their respective divisions at CIF Preliminaries, allowing them to advance into Finals.
“The girls were actually pretty convinced we wouldn’t make it to CIF finals. So that was more of a pleasant surprise,” Junior Bailey Wu said.
While at Finals, the girls earned a team ranking of 22nd place out of 24 teams, lead by Sophomore Lindsey Calva in 68th place with a time of 19:27.0 for the full three miles. Sophomore Elizabeth Bock ran a time of 19:47.5 earning 98th place. Wu (20:16.6) soon followed at 117th place. Usual JV runners Maylis Whetsel (134, 20:38.6) and Quyen Ballagh (166, 21:49.6) ran at Finals to sub in for two varsity athletes who could not make the race. They filled the 4th and 6th South Pasadena scoring positions, respectively. In between them was Sophomore Sarah Uriarte (21:41.4) in 163rd place and finally Senior Katherine Conte (22:59.3), who closed out the pack in 172nd to contribute to their overall score.
On the boys’ side, the finals scores were slightly less inspiring than expected, though still impressive. Junior Oliver Chang led the pack in 29th place with a time of 15:30.2. Senior Kieran Press-Reynolds finished next for the Tigers in 40th place (15:36.5). Senior Wayne Monical (16:28.4) and sophomore Alekzander Grijalva (16:36.2) followed, earning 107th and 116th place, respectively. Junior Ben Clark, who did not run in the preliminaries due to an injury, filled 121st spot (16:38.7).
Rounding out the squad were seniors Robert Steele (130, 16:45.9) and Jaehyung Choi (148, 17:00.0) in the final two South Pasadena scoring positions. Most of the team yielded quicker times in finals than in the preliminaries, earning them 14th place of 25 teams. Despite a strong effort, the competition was too fierce to allow South Pasadena High competitors to move on to the state championship.
“I am extremely proud of the team this year,” explained Steele. “This is the best team we have had in half a decade. For cross country, the southern section of California is the most competitive section in the entire country… [This season] will set the standard for future teams so we will see a continuation of the success we saw this year.”
With many seniors leaving, they are pleased to leave a solid legacy behind, knowing the underclassmen will continue to build South Pasadena High’s cross country program into one of the best in the area.
Maya Williamson is a student at South Pasadena High School.