All of The562’s cross-country coverage for the 2021-22 school year is sponsored by Bryson. Visit BrysonFinancial.com to learn more.
All year, it’s been clear that Millikan’s Jason Parra was the best runner in the Moore League, and that Long Beach Poly has the best team. To nobody’s surprise, both things remained true at Heartwell Park at the Moore League Finals on Wednesday afternoon.
The sophomore Parra cruised to a time of 14:53 to claim his second Moore League individual title in as many years, while Poly placed seven runners in the top 11 finishers to easily claim their 16th consecutive team league title, and 27th in the last 28 years.
After Parra’s win, his teammates picked him up and carried him around the park, chanting and cheering for him.
“The celebration was awesome, I wasn’t expecting that,” he said. “I was just excited to get to run at Heartwell, last year we didn’t get to run at any of these courses and I’ve been looking forward to running a real Finals race here for a long time.”
As usual, Parra got out quickly, jamming on the gas pedal and opening up a big lead on the competition. His time of 14:53 was 21 seconds faster than his nearest competitor, Poly’s Cameron Rhone.
Rhone’s time of 15:14 led the way for Poly, with Robert Guerrero and Luke Larson finishing right behind him. After Millikan’s Eric Plascencia finished fifth, Mason Lindsay came in as Poly’s fourth scorer, followed by Millikan’s Cole Rippon. After that Jaedon Rufo and Eric Brannon finished out the scoring positions for the Jackrabbits.
Wilson’s top finisher was Riki Moscoco (16:27), Lakewood’s was Gabriel Rojas (16:57), Jordan’s was Fernando Siordia (18:39), Cabrillo’s was Tony Veronica (19:53) and Compton’s was Damian Burgueno (21:58).
Rhone said that the Jackrabbits knew Parra was the heavy favorite, but that they were focused on continuing their run of team dominance.
“We knew Jason was in front of us, but we knew we had the numbers behind him,” said Rhone. “We’ve had this streak a long time and we want to make sure we keep it going.”
It’s a streak that Poly’s current coach, Cameron Ford, was a part of as an athlete, and one he didn’t want to see broken this year.
“I’m only the third coach of the boys team in 20-plus years,” said Ford. “The consistency shows, that’s always been there–I’ve got big shoes to fill, and a Moore League championship is the expectation.”
Poly’s boys’ team has been ranked as high as seventh in the CIF-SS Division 1 poll, and they’re hoping to make it through to CIF-SS Finals and push for a spot in State.
“The guys are clicking, they’re ready to make a State run,” said Ford.
Parra is hoping to keep pushing and advance to those meets as an individual runner.
“I want to go as far as I can, and try to keep it going,” he said.
Next up for the Moore League teams who qualified for the postseason (Poly, Millikan, Wilson) is the CIF Southern Section prelims, which will be at Mt. SAC on November 12-13.