Halloween was a historic day at Heartwell Park for the Moore League cross country finals, as Poly’s Will Frankenfeld set a new course record and the Wilson girls won their first league championship in 15 years.
CIF Southern Section prelims are next weekend, with Poly, Wilson, Millikan, and Lakewood headed to Riverside for boys’ and Wilson, Millikan, and Poly going for the girls’ prelims.
Long Beach Poly’s Will Frankenfeld has been making Moore League history all year and on Wednesday he finished the regular season with a bang, winning another Moore League individual championship with a time of 14:32, a Moore League finals record by 20 seconds. Frankenfeld is hoping to make Foot Locker Nationals this year, which would extend his season by a few weeks. As such, he’s eased into this season, and Wednesday was the first league meet he ran with the gas pedal down.
“Today I really pushed it, it was a really focused race,” he said. “I knew I’d break the record but I didn’t know how much–I wanted to break 14:30.”
Behind Frankenfeld was a long green line, as Long Beach Poly swept the top seven spots in the varsity race to claim the Jackrabbits’ 12th consecutive Moore League championship, and 22nd in the last 23 years.
“The whole day was great, we had three guys under 16 minutes in the JV race,” said Poly coach mike Fillipow. “I never get tired of it. The league is young, though, and there’s a lot of good young runners. We have a challenge down the road.”
Behind Frankenfeld the Poly runners were Ronan McMahon-Staggs, Alex Matos, Daniel Bautista, Zane Witter, Chris Yontz, and Devin Koval. The next runner was Jordan junior Joe Espniosa, with Wilson freshman Nico Colchico in ninth.
Scott Kirchoff was Millikan’s top finisher (10th overall), Aiden Alegria was Lakewood’s (10th), Kevin Guzman was Compton’s (30th) and Josh Cortez was Cabrillo’s (35th).
Poly is ranked No. 4 in the CIF-SS and in the State.
It wasn’t the race Wilson was hoping for, but it was the season they’ve been dreaming of. The Bruins were edged in Wednesday’s league finals by Millikan, who topped the Bruins by a point. But on the strength of having won the first two league meets, the Bruins officially wrapped up their first girls’ cross country championship since 2003.
“Millikan had a good race, we had a decent race,” said Wilson coach Ed Hauck. “I know there’s some things our girls would rather have done differently today–but I’m over the hill happy for them. They’ve worked for this and they earned it.”
The Bruins also brought home the individual championship thanks to a strong run by junior Aliya Mesihovich, who led from start to finish in 18:14, 38 seconds faster than her nearest competitor.
“I really wanted this, but it wouldn’t have been right to win it without my team winning too,” said Mesihovich.
Hauck referred to his junior leader as a “perfectionist.”
“She’s worked really hard for this,” he said.
Mesihovich will certainly be the far-and-away favorite for next year’s league title as well, while fans should expect another nail-biting team competition: only two of the top 20 runners at league finals were seniors.
Behind Mesihovich was Ryann Mayo (fourth), Hanna Burlin (eighth), and Jocelyn Diaz (11th), all of whom will return next year.
Millikan’s Hazel McIntosh finished in second, with Poly freshman Bella Ungar in third. Nina Draffen was Lakewood’s top finisher (sixth), Destini Jackson was Cabrillo’s (27th), and Tyshay Johnson was Jordan’s (34th).