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Cross Country Lakewood Long Beach Poly Millikan Wilson

Cross Country: Peck, Long Beach Poly Girls Win Rescheduled Signal Hill Meet

The562’s coverage of cross country and track and field is sponsored by Bryson Financial.

There was no lightning on Signal Hill on Thursday afternoon, but there were still some lightning-fast times. Two days after inclement weather canceled the Moore League girls’ varsity race at Signal Hill’s Discovery Well Park, the city’s fastest girls gathered at the park to hold their second league meet. Long Beach Poly freshman phenom Avery Peck won her second league meet in as many appearances, and the Jackrabbits girls claimed the team title.

Peck ran an 18:59 over the three-mile course, more than 90 seconds faster than her next-closest competitor.

“I like hills so I enjoyed that course,” said Peck. “Ever since Mammoth during the Summer, I’ve been looking forward to this. Today I was kind of preparing to run Mt. SAC next week, in nine days, I’m really excited for that race. Today was just getting some good hills in my legs, not going all out.”

Wilson’s Natalie Maahs took second with a time of 20:37, followed by three Jackrabbits in Evelyn Hernandez, Brynn Jolly, and Alexa Bryson. Poly had four of the top five, and five of the top 10 with Emmie Chun finishing 10th to round out the Jackrabbit scorers.

“Avery is definitely an incredible talent,” said Poly coach Cameron Ford, who was filling in for Gabrielle Bournes who was absent due to illness. “This team has been a really fun group to coach.”

Poly was without reigning league champion Camille Lindsay, who has been out so far this year with injury, but is planning on competing soon.

“Our pack is getting tighter and going into the postseason outside of league you’re looking at those projections,” said Ford. “We’re excited to see our number one lineup of the year and have Camille back with us.”

As always, the Moore League meet had a strong feeling of camaraderie, as the coaches and athletes gathered expressed appreciation for the speedy rescheduling. On Tuesday when the meet was canceled, most of the girls’ runners expressed an expectation that the meet would simply be canceled. Moore League secretary Lisa Ulmer worked with Signal Hill Petroleum and Bixby Ridge to quickly get a new event on the books, to the delight of the coaches and competitors.

“It was a chaotic week but I was really excited,” said Peck. “We were all ready, we’re all hyped and we’d just warmed up and then it’s such a weird feeling going from being race ready to it being canceled. Then we heard we might run at El Dorado, and when I heard it was going to be back at Signal Hill I was so happy.”

Millikan’s top finisher was Nadia Mejia (21:46), who finished fifth, leading a pack of three Rams with teammates Maribel Perez and Yamile Rodriguez. Lakewood’s top finisher was Caleeya Jackson, who finished 11th in 22:22.

The Moore League girls will be back in action in three weeks at Heartwell Park for the Moore League Finals on Nov. 2.

VIDEO: Moore League Girls’ Cross Country at Signal Hill
VIDEO: Moore League Cross Country Signal Hill Meet
Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.