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The 2022 Moore League cross country season came to an end on a windy Wednesday evening at Heartwell Park, with both Long Beach Poly varsity teams claiming team championships.
Jackrabbit freshman Avery Peck dominated the girls’ varsity race once again, winning her first Moore League individual title with a time of 18:24. Meanwhile, Millikan’s Jason Parra won his third consecutive league final in the boys’ race with a time of 14.33, just shy of the course record.
Parra’s win was his first in a league race this season, as he was able to beat out Long Beach Poly’s Cameron Rhone, who placed second in just over 15:00 flat.
“I’m pretty pleased with it. I know I could have run a lot faster,” said Parra after the race. “It was windy, so that kind of took some from me. But I was pretty confident going into this course because I know I’ve run a fast time here before.”
It was a vindicating performance from Parra, who took advantage of being on a flat course and battled through gusts of wind to post another stellar time.
“I wasn’t really thinking too much about the course record, I thought I had it in the bag after the second mile,” Parra admitted. “I knew what splits I had to do, and I hit them exactly as I had hit them before, and just that last mile the wind really picked up on that backstretch.”
Poly was able to secure its 16th consecutive Moore League title in boys’ cross country thanks to placing 2nd-4th and having four of the top six finishers. After Rhone, Lamarr Kirk, Jr. ran a PR of 15:28 while Luke Larson was fourth in 15:31. Mason Lindsay ran a PR of 15:46 to finish sixth.
All of those results were super meaningful as Millikan placed all five of their scorers within the Top 9 finishers. Jack Brown was 5th in 15:34 and a run of three straight Rams closed out their scorers: Aiden Ransom (7th, 16:08), Eric Plascencia (8th, 16:15), and Jacob Fujimoto (9th, 16:19).
The final team score between Poly and Millikan was 27-30 in favor of the Jackrabbits.
Gus Hollister and Kyle Holland finished back-to-back for Wilson in 10th & 11th, running 16:21 and 16:24, respectively. Lakewood’s top finisher was Gabriel Rojas (16th, 16:53), Jordan’s top runner was J’Moises Vazquez (24th, 18:28), Cabrillo’s top finisher was Sebastian Pardo (28th, 19:34).
In the girls’ race, Peck cruised once again as she won by just over 49 seconds. Like Parra, her time wasn’t quite what she’d hoped for, but she acknowledged that conditions weren’t ideal for rewriting record books–something she’s already grown accustomed to in her brief high school career.
“I'm definitely happy that I placed first today, I'm not so happy with my time,” Peck said. “I know from previous times I've run I can run a lot faster, but the headwind today was pretty brutal, I know that slowed me down a lot. But I'm super happy with my team and how we did as a team. We did amazing today.”
Poly showed off its depth by sweeping the top four spots in the girls’ race, while also placing five of the top seven finishers. Senior Camille Lindsay ran her first league race of the season after being sidelined for much of the year and finished second. The two-time league champion posted a time of 19:13, a solid mark giving her limited prep time for this race.
Fellow senior Alexa Bryson ran one of her best races of the season to finish third for the second year in a row, clocking in at 19:36. She was followed closely by teammate Evelyn Hernandez Lujan with a time of 19:37.
“We've been running better and better every week, just consistently improving,” said Peck of the team’s strong performance. “And having Camille back is amazing. She placed second today, which is super impressive being able to come back from all the adversity she's faced this year. And we got 12347 so yeah, placing was really good.”
Wilson’s Natalie Maahs finished in 5th place with a time of 19:47, a half-second ahead of Nadia Mejia in 6th who was the top finisher for Millikan. Poly’s Brynn Jolly (7th, 19:56) and Maile Quinn (8th, 20:17) were followed by Lakewood’s Maia Lopez (9th, 20:22) and Wilson’s Sofia Alvarado (10th, 20:20) to round out the Top 10.
Mia Gomez was the top finisher for Jordan, finishing 27th in a time of 24:26, while Doranelly Real Gambino was Cabrillo’s top finisher, placing 30th in a time of 24:57.
The top four teams in the boys race–Poly, Millikan, Wilson and Lakewood–qualified for the CIF-SS prelims in two weeks at Mt. SAC. In the girls' race, Poly, Millikan, and Wilson qualified for CIF-SS prelims. The CIF-SS Championships will also be held at Mt. SAC on the morning of Saturday, Nov. 19.