It was a historic day for the Moore League’s fastest girls’ runners at the league cross country championships last week at Heartwell Park. Long Beach Poly freshman Camille Lindsay became the first ninth grader to win the individual league title since Poly’s Megan Brock did it in 2006, and the Millikan girls won their first team championship since 1993.
“I’m excited, I’m happy, it was a really good race,” said Lindsay, who won both of the first two league meets and then easily took home the gold at Heartwell with a winning time of 17:43, 56 seconds faster than second-place Isabella Stockalper of Millikan.
Lindsay was so far ahead that the two bicyclists that pace the lead runner actually had to split up, so one was leading Lindsay and the other fell behind to lead the rest of the league.
“I was really nervous at the beginning of the race, but I ran in the two-mile Middle School Cross Country Meet here the last couple of years, which was really helpful,” said Lindsay.
Lindsay’s Jackrabbits won the first two league meets, with Millikan finishing in second place behind them. That was important, because it meant that when the Rams won the league finals (which are double-weighted) at Heartwell, they ended up tied in the league standings with the Jackrabbits.
Because the league no longer allows co-champions for cross country, the league finals also serve as the tiebreaker, which meant that Millikan will bring home the trophy. The last time they won was in 1993, and the last time they had the trophy by themselves was in 1982 (they shared it with Poly in ‘93).
Millikan’s girls won the league finals last year, but because they’d finished in third in one of the earlier meets, Wilson brought home the league title (the Bruins won the first two meets and finished second at league finals). Some in the Millikan program thought that because they won the league finals meet last year, they’d won the league title. That left them hesitant to celebrate their historic title at Heartwell.
“Oh I could just about throw up,” said Millikan coach Angela Ibarra when asked how she was doing. “Because of what happened last year, we didn’t want to think about it, we just wanted to run hard and see what happens after. Last year was really bad. The boys coaches were telling me we won today, and I just said, ‘I’ll wait until I see the paper to celebrate.’”
Millikan was led by Stockalper’s 18:39 performance, but it was a strong team performance that gave them the win. Grace Vazquez finished third, Hazel McIntosh was sixth, Xltlali Nieves was seventh, and Rebeca Perez was 12th. Poly’s fifth-place finisher came in 13th and Wilson’s came in 21st, giving Millikan a comfortable win.
“It’s amazing,” said Stockalper. “We really wanted to get first, we were in shock, just so excited. I’m so happy we pulled it off, I’m in disbelief.”
Millikan, Poly, and Wilson will all compete in the CIF-SS prelims next weekend.