Long Beach Poly senior Will Frankenfeld continued his record-setting year with a huge honor, winning the CIF Southern Section Division 1 cross country championship with an eye-popping time of 14:35.8. The Finals were held at Riverside City Cross Country course on a dusty three-mile route.
Frankenfeld is Long Beach’s first individual cross country champion since Poly’s Ozzie Pina did it in 2000. He finished seven seconds faster than Great Oak’s Tyler Tickner; with five of the top 19 runners Great Oak won the team championship.
“I’m really, really tired,” said Frankenfeld. “I might not even be able to take a shower when I get home before I crash, that bed is going to be so tantalizing.”
The race was part of Frankenfeld’s unfinished business from 2017, after he was disappointed with his finish at CIF Finals last year. The strategy he and Poly coach Mike Fillipow came up with was to push harder over the first two miles, since Frankenfeld has perhaps the best kick of any distance runner in Southern California down the stretch.
Sure enough he was running with the leaders at the midway point and then closed them out down the last half mile.
“Three of them made a move at 1200 to go, then Will made a move on the other two at 800 and never looked back,” said Fillipow.
Frankenfeld said the last quarter mile of the race was intense as he tried to speed his way to a CIF championship.
“When I heard them yelling, ‘And your Division 1 champion Will Frankenfeld,’ it was like oooooooh, that’s really cool,” he said. “That felt good.”
The senior was sporting a buzz cut when he lined up, part of what he said is a tradition the last three years. Frankenfeld hates having his hair long and he told himself at CIF Prelims as a sophomore that if he made CIF Finals, he’d cut his hair–if he didn’t make it, he’d have to go the rest of the year without a hair cut.
This year he went a step further than just a haircut and buzzed it all the way down.
“It felt good to get it all off and I’m sure it helped,” he said. “That’s a few ounces right there.”
The Jackrabbits as a team finished right where they were ranked, No. 4 as a team in the Division 1 race. Behind Frankenfeld was Ronan McMahon-Staggs (22nd, 15:07), Alex Matos (29th, 15:13), Zane Witter (65th, 15:34), Daniel Bautista (67th, 15:35), Chris Yontz (68th, 15:35), and Devin Koval (100th, 15:48).
The fourth-place finish qualified Poly for the State Finals next weekend in Fresno.
“Overall it was a very good day,” said Fillipow. “I still think we can run a little faster, we’re excited for next week.”