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Long Beach’s top distance runners competed for a spot in the CIF-SS Championships over the weekend at Mt. SAC, with Long Beach Poly getting both of its cross country teams through to next Saturday’s Division 1 final.
The Poly boys’ team finished second in its heat, led by a third-place finish by junior Cameron Rhone, who posted a time of 15:49.2. Senior Robert Guerrero placed eighth with a time of 15:59.9.
Millikan got a great showing from sophomore Jason Parra, who finished third in his heat with a time of 15:49. Unfortunately for the Rams, they finished in fifth place as a team, one spot shy of qualification for the finals. The Rams were just 16 seconds shy of Trabuco Hills in team time and trailed by 12 points in the final results. Still, Parra qualifies as an individual and will represent the Rams next weekend.
Gus Hollister was the top finisher for Wilson at 17:10.9 and Lakewood freshman Gabriel Rojas was Lakewood’s top finisher at 17:55.8.
On the girls’ side, Poly was able to exceed expectations and qualify for the CIF finals for the first time since 2017. The Jackrabbits finished fourth in their heat, just three points behind Saugus High (86-89) and way ahead of Fountain Valley (89-161) for that all-important fourth place spot.
Junior Camille Lindsay finished fourth in her heat with a time of 19:13.1, and the entire field was dealing with the unseasonable heat wave over the weekend.
“After we were over the heat stroke and everything, we were very excited,” Lindsay joked. “It was almost 90 degrees and it was so dusty, but it was basically a race for grit. It wasn’t who could be the fastest, it was who was the toughest and could deal with the 90 degree weather.”
The order of finish looked a little different for the Jackrabbits as sophomore Evelyn Hernandez Lujan (20:48.8) was the second finisher for Poly, followed by freshman Brynn Jolly (20:54.7) and junior Alexa Bryson (20:55.3). Those three runners finished in succession, going 19-20-21 respectively. Lindsay praised the younger runner stepping up and performing at a high level to ensure the Jackrabbits would have the chance to compete at CIF finals.
“We’re so proud,” Lindsay said of the team’s performance. “They saw their teammates falling behind and they saw they needed to pick it up. They knew they were going to have to run the best race of their lives and some of them did.”
Grace Vazquez was the top finisher for Millikan with a time of 22:27.1. Natalie Maahs was Wilson’s top finisher in 22:17.2 as the Bruins took eighth in their heat.
In Friday’s action, St. Anthony sophomore Tatiana Fernandez took 15th in her heat, posting a time of 14:48.9 on a 2-mile course. She fell short of qualifying as an individual but still had a strong showing for an underclassman.
The CIF-SS Championships will take place on Saturday, Nov. 20 at Mt. San Antonio College. The Division 1 girls’ race is scheduled for 9:25 a.m. with the D1 boys’ race set for 10:35 a.m.
Tickets for the event are currently available online, with GA tickets at $10 and student tickets for $5.