In wet and rainy conditions on Wednesday afternoon, Long Beach Poly swept the boys’ and girls’ races against Lakewood, registering the top seven finishers in each race. The win sets up a huge dual meet next Wednesday as the Jackrabbits host Millikan for a matchup of the two top programs in the Moore League this season.
Sophomore Camille Lindsay won the girls’ race for Poly, with classmate Maile Quinn right on her heels. On the boys’ side, senior Kyle Johnson picked up his first race win and had the rest of his teammates in a pack behind him; the other six Jackrabbits finished less than a second apart.
“Our goal today really was to stick together, pack run most of the race, and help each other out,” said Johnson after his win. “We did what we set out to do. Getting the opportunity to run has been something we’ve been looking forward to ever since last year when track season was canceled. No matter where it is, it’s always a great feeling to be out here competing.”
Johnson checked in with a time of 17:34 before his teammates finished in a flurry behind him. Luke Larson (17:42.634) edged out Nick Mejia (17:42.641) for second place, with Brandon Perry (17:42.761), Mason Lindsay (17:43.075), Robert Guerrero (17:43.262) and Jaedon Rufo (17:43.335) all within arms reach for the Jackrabbits.
“The plan in our race strategy is our spread, just keeping the guys together no matter the environment,” said Poly boys’ head coach Cameron Ford. “The culture is what we’re trying to keep together, that’s the main thing. Races like this, even if we know we’ve got tougher competition next week, we know that keeping that core together is what we need to finish out this season. And they’ll be ready to go next week.”
Sean Goltra was the top finisher for Lakewood in a time of 17:57, just ahead of teammate Fabian Barales who clocked in a fraction above 18:00. Tyler McGlothlin finished in 18:49 to round out the Top 10 finishers, followed by teammates Aiden Ortiz and Justin Chavez.
Lindsay–the defending Moore League individual champion–picked up another win, clocking a time of 20:06 on Poly’s extended course. She ran the majority of the race with Quinn on her hip, and the sophomore recorded a time of 20:07 to place second. As Poly looks toward a league title clash with Millikan next week, runners like Quinn will be key to the Jackrabbits’ team totals, with Lindsay remaining the odds-on favorite to pace the field.
“I felt really smooth and I think I owe it all to Camille for sticking with me and motivating me through everything–practice included–and I did a lot better than I thought I would,” said Quinn after the race. She acknowledged the importance of a team-focused approach going into next week’s dual meet with the defending league champions. “During workouts we’ve always tried to stick together and work through it. That’s really been emphasized this year.”
Alexa Bryson finished in third for the Jackrabbits in a time of 20:36, followed by Sasha Johnson in fourth at 20:49. Evelyn Lujan-Hernandez (5th, 21:13), Ailene Rios (6th, 21:33), and Danika Hunter (7th, 21:34) rounded out the finishers for Poly.
Nina Draffen was Lakewood’s top finisher at 21:37, followed by Delilah Chavez (22:04), Calinda Perez (22:37), Emmalie Miner (23:49) and Destiny Perez (24:01).
“I just keep telling the girls, each week is a chance get better,” said Poly girls’ head coach Gabrielle Bournes. “Today, them running together and seeing that positive outcome is just going to help their momentum going into next week.
“We tell all of them, whoever is on that day, let your teammate drive you home,” Bournes said. “If you’re going to run together, work together. That’s the mentality that they have going into this Millikan meet because they know it’ll be tough.”
Poly will host Millikan next Wednesday, March 10, in a showdown between two unbeaten teams. Additionally, the Moore League is preparing to host a Moore League Finals meet on Saturday, March 27, at Cabrillo High School.