First published in the Nov. 19 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.
Following a strong showing at the prelims last week, both the South Pasadena boys’ and girls’ cross-country squads will compete tomorrow in the CIF Southern Section championships, with an eye on landing slots in the state meet.
The boys’ team finished ninth overall at last week’s prelims, with 248 points. The girls finished in eighth with 231 points. All CIF-SS finalists return to Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut this Saturday, Nov. 20, with the top finishers earning berths in the state meet at Woodward Park in Fresno on Saturday, Nov. 27.
In their heats, both the boys and girls finished in fourth place. For prelims, each division ran three heats, with the top five teams from each qualifying for finals. The 16th (and final) slot is taken by the division’s fastest sixth-place team.
For the boys, the Tigers finished behind, in order, Laguna Hills, Studio City Harvard-Westlake and Hacienda Heights Wilson, and ahead of St. Francis. The girls finished behind Westlake Village Oaks Christian, Laguna Hills and El Segundo, and ahead of Ridgecrest Burroughs.
This weekend, each of the five divisions will compete separately, but final results will consider the overall finishes. The top two teams earn trophies, with the top 15 individual runners winning medals. The top seven teams earn state championship berths, and the top five individual runners among the teams that finished Nos. 8-20 will also join them in Fresno.
On paper, each squad is within reach of a top-seven slot this weekend.
The boys’ ninth-place ranking overall puts them just five points behind seventh-place Big Bear, with the team time difference being 41 seconds. The seven runners for the boys, in order of their finish, were Brady Nakamura (16:31), Liam de Villa (16:48), Jason Baek (17:15), Noah Kuhn (17:24), Jack Ishibashi (17:48), Keeran Murray (18:20) and Joshua Ramirez (20:10). Kuhn set a course personal record by 13 seconds and Ishibashi set a lifetime personal record by 8 seconds.
Among all CIF-SS boys, Nakamura finished 15th.
The eighth-place girls are just three points behind seventh-place El Segundo and actually had a better team time by 16 seconds. Coach Mike Parkinson noted that the girls’ squad stood to plausibly improve its standing — the team’s consistent top runner, Sydney Morrow, struggled last week because of heat-related issues and its No. 3 runner, Kerrigan Riley, didn’t run at all because of illness.
The girls’ squad, in finish order, featured Abby Errington (19:41), Amelie Geoffron (20:46), Gabriela Rodriguez (20:38), Mai Koyama (21:15), Miranda Liu (22:09), Saidbh Byrne (21:13) and Morrow (21:33). Geoffron and Rodriguez each set course personal records by 25 and 32 seconds, respectively.
Errington finished 17th overall among the CIF-SS girls.