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Cabrillo Compton Cross Country Jordan Lakewood Long Beach Poly Millikan St. Anthony Wilson

Long Beach Girls’ Cross Country Preview

Last year, Wilson won its first Moore League girls’ cross country championship in 15 years at a thrilling league finals at Heartwell Park. Ed Hauck’s squad isn’t ready to give up the crown in 2019, although it looks like it could be a photo finish this year.

“They know they have a target on their backs,” said Hauck. “But they’ve been logging the miles and working hard with this in mind.”

It starts up front for Wilson, since the Bruins have the defending league champion back this year in Aliya Mesihovich. Fellow senior Ryann Mayo was a breakout star locally during the track season and hopes to roll those times over into the Fall, with senior Jocelyn Diaz coming on strong as well.

Behind that trio, Wilson has a good three-way mix with Hanna Burlin, Rebekah Pinedo, and Jocelyn Gutierrez.

“The girls know the other teams are aiming at them, but they feel confident the races will be very competitive and no one will get the crown easily,” said Hauck.

Long Beach Poly

The Jackrabbits are built for the future under first-year coach Gabby Bournes, a longtime Springtime assistant at Poly where she’s helped with the track team for a number of years. Poly’s top three runners are underclassmen, but Bournes is hoping that improved chemistry will have her talented youngsters arrive ahead of schedule.

“We have a fearless group of freshmen that came in and an extremely dedicated upper class, and everyone is totally focused on doing better than last year,” said Bournes. “We don’t talk to them about winning the league title, but it’s there, they want it every day. They all have the drive.”

Freshman Camille Lindsay looks like a potential breakout star, having won the LBUSD’s middle school cross country meet last year. Juniors Olivia Boyce and Ailene Rios are next for Poly, followed by seniors in Jacky Loera, Shirley Almaguer and Chloe Fuson.

“The atmosphere has shifted and they’re enjoying practice and running together, we’re just trying to embrace that and push them past their limits,” said Bournes.


Millikan coach Angela Ibarra has plenty of stability at the top with the Rams, whose top three runners are all juniors returning from strong sophomore campaigns.

Leading the way will be Hazel McIntosh, with Isabella Stockalper, and Erin Aguirre.

“We may not have the experience or the numbers other teams have, but we are working on building up our strength, and really working on closing the gap between our fifth and seventh place girls,” said Ibarra.


Daniel Sorenson is in his second season coaching the boys’ and girls’ teams at Lakewood and is excited about the year.

Junior Nina Draffen is a rarity as a four-sport athlete who’s competed in cross country, tennis, basketball, and track and field.

“Staying healthy through the season will be key for her success,” said Sorenson of his top runner.

Behind Draffen, sophomore Delilah Chavez is joined by juniors Calinda Perez, Maya Thomas, and McKenna Thomas.


Coach Jesse Estrella doesn’t have many returners, which has shaped her expectations for the season.

“With only a handful of girls coming back from last year, our focus this season is to have everyone compete, have fun, and experience what cross country is all about, all while setting PR’s along the way,” she said.

The top competitors for the Jaguars will be Amanda Alvarez, Jessica Ramirez, and Alexis Williams.


Panthers coach Sharaud Moore has done a terrific job rebuilding the running programs in North Long Beach, but he’ll be starting almost from scratch this Fall with the girls’ cross country team.

“Our girls team will be a mash-up of sprinters and quarter-milers from last year’s track team, none of whom have competed in cross country previously,” he said.

St. Anthony

Saints coach Ericka Brooks is hoping to repeat her team’s feat as Camino Real League champions, but will have to do so with a lot of newcomers after graduating most of last year’s team. Returning will be Leeta Squier and Tatiana Fernandez, who sat out the end of last season with an injury.

“We are definitely in the rebuilding phase, but ready for the challenge,” said Brooks.

Long Beach Boys’ Cross Country Preview

Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.