Ladies of Steele win first CIF cross-country championship

0
75
WEBSteele_hill_7581.png

By Phillip Brents

For The East County Californian

The Steele Canyon High School girls cross-country team is returning to familiar territory this weekend at the California state championship meet in Fresno. But the Cougars will be treading new territory as the reigning Division II San Diego Section champions.

By Phillip Brents

For The East County Californian

The Steele Canyon High School girls cross-country team is returning to familiar territory this weekend at the California state championship meet in Fresno. But the Cougars will be treading new territory as the reigning Division II San Diego Section champions.

Steele Canyon, fresh off a team championship performance at the preceding Grossmont Hills League finals, recorded a division low 71 points to secure first place in the team standings at Nov. 18 section finals at San Diego’s Morley Field.

The top four finishing teams in the division earned advancement to this Saturday’s state finals in Fresno.

Steele Canyon, with two runners among the top 12 finishers, four runners among the top 17 placers and five runners among the top 26 finishers in the 118-deep race, out-pointed runner-up Point Loma 71-73 to secure one of those coveted berths.

Cougar head coach Pat Connolly said while the team has qualified for the third time in the last four years for the state meet, this was the first time it had qualified as a division champion.

Steele Canyon’s boys’ team previously won a CIF cross-country title in 2007.

“Before the meet, I calculated that if everything went perfect that we would score 72 points, and we finished with 71 points,” Connolly said. “You never think that everything will go exactly as planned. To be honest, we were prepared for a second place finish. Maybe not having the pressure to finish first helped us.”

This year’s section finals featured a new course at 2.96 miles — down from 3.04 miles for boys races and up from 2.75 miles for girls’ races. 

Though the girls’ course was extended by 0.21 miles, the new layout actually faster racing for participants.

Junior Janelle Shallal was the top individual place-finisher for the Cougars with a second-place time of 18:52.3. She finished 16 seconds behind race winner Katherine Hawley, a senior from Mt. Carmel.

Steele Canyon’s top five scorers also included senior Carlene Masar (12th, 19:32.7), junior Jessica Manzuk (14th, 19:39.0), junior Beyonce Wright (17th, 19:46.2) and freshman Jennifer McCubbin (26th, 20:12.2).  

The Cougars’ second through fourth runners finished within14 seconds of each other.

State of mind

El Capitan and Grossmont’s boys’ teams, as well as Mountain Empire’s girls team, will join Steele Canyon at this weekend’s state meet.

El Capitan finished third in the Division III boys’ race while Grossmont finished fourth in the Division II boys’ race.

Mountain Empire qualified as the team champion in the Division V girls’ race.

This is the first time that El Capitan has advanced to the state meet as a team since the team won a divisional championship in 2012.

It will be the second consecutive trip to the state meet for El Capitan junior Matt Machnov, who qualified as an individual last year. Machnov finished sixth among individuals in 15:52.0 to lead the Vaqueros across the finish line this year.

La Costa Canyon won the Division III team title with 47 points, followed by Cathedral Catholic in second place with 95 points. El Capitan placed third with 101 points. San Dieguito Academy finished fourth with 111 points to round out the top four state-qualifying teams.

West Hills finished fifth with 122 points.

The Vaqueros placed two runners among the top 12 finishers, three runners among the top 17 finishers, four runners among the top 26 finishers and five runners among the top 40 finishers in the 133-deep race.

Besides Machnov, El Capitan’s five scorers included junior Joseph Hart (12th, 16:28.0), sophomore Jose Olguin (17th, 16:44.5), sophomore Andrew Sager (26th, 17:10.1) and junior Leland Hayley (40th, 17:33.9).

Machnov finished 49 seconds behind race winner Joaquin Martinez de Pinillos, a senior from Cathedral Catholic, who posted the fastest time on the day in all the boys’ races at 15:03.5 to set the new course record.

“I’m really proud of everybody — everybody improved through the season,” Machnov said.

The top four teams in the Division II boy’s race qualified for the state meet. Mt. Carmel won the division title with 66 points, followed by Del Norte in second place with 88 points, Scripps Ranch in third place with 120 points and Grossmont in fourth place with 143 points.

Granite Hills finished fifth with 152 points.

Del Norte senior Jaron Farnham won the Division IV boys race in 15:12.3. Granite Hills senior Brady DeHaven finished third in 15:23.6 to secure a ticket to the state meet as an individual qualifier.

The Division II boys’ race was rated the best on the day, especially for Grossmont Conference runners.

Valhalla seniors Kyle Gabrielson (16:09.6) and Trent Sikute (16:12.9) finished 13th and 14th in the race to miss qualifying as individuals for the state meet.

Steele Canyon senior Matt Scarlett finished 17th in 16:16.7.

Grossmont’s scoring potential took over as the Foothillers placed their five scorers within 24 seconds of each other in the 122-deep field.

Senior Sam Sneed finished 21st in 16:22.4, followed by junior Carson Sanchez (25th, 16:33.0), senior Lawrence Robak III (29th, 16:37.5), junior Jonathan Rodriguez-Gomez (33rd, 16:44.6) and senior Jason Smith (35th, 16:46.4).

The top three teams in the Division V girls’ race qualified for the state meet. Mountain Empire won the sprint to the finish with 69 points, followed by Francis Parker with 79 points and Santa Fe Christian with 98 points. 

Christian finished fourth with 98 points — one point out of a state-qualifying berth.

Christian freshman Alaina Zamorano, however, won the Division V girls race in 18:13.9 to punch her ticket to the state meet as an individual qualifier.

Sophomore Reece Schuler led Mountain Empire across the finish line with a time of 20:44.7 to place 10th among individuals. The Red Hawks’ remaining five scorers included sophomore Alyssa Noland (11th, 20:45.1), junior Delanie Craighhead (13th, 20:48.6), sophomore Brenna Rowley (14th, 20:50.6) and senior Grace Laskey (21st, 21:16.1).

Mountain Empire’s top four runners finished within a spread of just six seconds.

Also famous

The Grossmont Conference will have a total of four individual qualifiers for this weekend’s state championship meet.

Joining DeHaven and Zamorano as individual qualifiers are Valhalla freshman Peri Kraft and El Capitan sophomore Carolinh Calvert.

Kraft finished ninth in the Division II girls race in 19:21.3 while Calvert finished 14th in the Division III girls race in 19:32.4.

Notable

Valhalla finished sixth among Division II girls’ teams while Grossmont was 11th and Granite Hills was 12th. 

Valhalla finished seventh in the Division II boys’ race, followed by Steele Canyon in eighth place — just one point behind the Norsemen.

Santana finished ninth in the Division III boys’ race and 11th in the Division III girls’ race.

West Hills finished ninth in the Division III girls’ race, followed by El Capitan in 10th place.

West Hills sophomore Dylan Shubert finished 14th in the Division III boys race in 16:41.0 while West Hills junior Derek Tingey finished 18th in 16:46.4. The Wolf Pack placed three runners among the top 20 finishers in the field (top 15 percent) as senior Dutch Schaefer placed 20th in 16:51.4.

Granite Hills’ sophomore Russell Webb (23rd, 16:24.4), Steele Canyon sophomore Richard Cleaves (26th, 16:34.6) and Granite Hills’ sophomore Matthew Henry (32nd, 16:43.0) all recorded individual finishes in the top 26 percent of the Division II boys’ field.

La Costa Canyon junior Kristin Fahy posted the top girls time on the course in 17:10.7 to win the Division III girls’ race.

The Far West regional championship meet follows the California state finals on Dec. 2 in Walnut. The annual Foot Locker national championship meet is scheduled Dec. 9 at Morley Field.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here