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Camille Lindsay made an emphatic statement on Wednesday evening at El Dorado Park, leading the Long Beach Poly girls’ cross country team to a comfortable victory in the season-opening meet. The Jackrabbit junior asserted herself as the fastest distance runner in the city, posting a time of 17:29.23 to set a new course record, besting former Poly runner Leslie Diaz’s time of 17:35.
“I’m so happy, I was so ready. I’ve been ready for a really long time,” said Lindsay of getting back to normal racing after running on-campus dual meets last season. “The overall record for Moore League three-miles is 17:20, so my goal today was 17:15. I came pretty close considering I haven’t really run a real three-mile really since 2019, especially with this course.”
Lindsay got out quickly and never looked back, posting a margin of victory of more than 96 seconds over the rest of the field. While the outcome proved to be a straightforward team win for the Jackrabbits–with a margin of 21-38 over Millikan in second place–that result was far from guaranteed before the race. Lindsay’s been one of the constants atop a Poly lineup that’s had to do a lot of re-shuffling this season with a few key runners unavailable for this race.
“Camille is training great right now,” said Poly head coach Cameron Ford, who is filling in for previous head coach Gabrielle Bournes, out on maternity leave. “Credit-wise, we did this for Coach G, because she put this team back together and Camille is definitely the leader of this team. Today was the best I’ve seen their training come together on one day, and for them to be able to get back to racing, you could just see the smiles on all their faces.”
Wilson’s Natalie Maahs finished second with a time of 19:05.42, while Millikan’s Celeste Ramirez took third in 19:22.39.
Poly had three of the top five finishers as junior Alexa Bryson took fourth in 19:30.61 while senior Mia McKiernan had an impressive showing in fifth with a time of 19:49.55. The Jackrabbits also had five of the top eight finishers to sweep the team scoring, boosted by sisters Evelyn and Alexa Hernandez Lujan, who took seventh and eighth, respectively.
McKiernan’s time was a whopping 51-second PR for the senior, who has really come into her own as the Moore League season gets underway. She was stuck towards the back of the pack for the first mile of the race before making her move to crack the top five.
“I’m really happy for the team, I think they all did really well and a lot of girls had PR’s,” said McKiernan after the race. She said the return to conventional racing with runners from several different schools was key in allowing her to drop so much time. ”It definitely helped, because last year I spent a lot of time running alone, kind of ending up in no man’s land just losing motivation. So it’s definitely helpful to have other schools there pushing me and everyone else.”
Millikan took second in the team scoring, edging out Wilson by just a single point for a 27-28 head-to-head win against the Bruins. Each spot throughout the lineup was crucial, with Grace Vasquez posting a key sixth-place finish for the Rams, running under 20 minutes.
Defending league champion Natalie Seymour took ninth for Wilson, followed by teammate Chloe Brodsky. Lakewood’s top finisher was Bailee Carpenter in 12th followed by fellow Lancer Isabel Jacobo.
The runners will have just under two weeks to prepare for the next Moore League meet, scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 12 at Discovery Wells Park on Signal Hill.