No event embodied the unpredictable nature of the 2021 sports season quite like the first Moore League Cross Country Championships of the calendar year, and that’s why it’s our No. 8 moment of 2021. The event was held back in March, not at its usual Heartwell Park location, but it instead took place at Cabrillo High School on an unseasonably warm day.
With runners battling the conditions while running on the uncommon terrain, the girls’ race took an unexpected and dramatic turn. Millikan was dominating the race, looking to secure back-to-back league titles for the first time since 1983-84.
However, on the final turn with about 100 meters left in the race, Millikan senior Bella Stockalper began to fade quickly. The heat and exhaustion caused her to collapse on the track, drawing a gasp from the stunned and concerned crowd. Even before medical attention could arrive, teammate Anna Blocker also collapsed and would be unable to finish her race.
That opened the door for Wilson freshman Natalie Seymour, who in just her second varsity race claimed the Moore League individual title.
Despite losing their top two runners, Millikan was still able to hold on and win the team championship for the second straight season. Fortunately, both Stockalper and Blocker were doing fine after the race, and celebrated with their teammates via FaceTime.
In less dramatic fashion, Millikan’s Jason Parra went wire-to-wire to win the boys’ title, giving the league two freshman winners. Meanwhile, the Poly boys’ team claimed its 14th consecutive league title and first for new head coach Cameron Ford.