Varsity cross country team advances to city championships

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On November 13, both the boys’ and girls’ varsity cross country teams qualified at the LA City Preliminaries race to move onto the LA City Championships on Saturday, November 22.

Winning their respective heats, the runners put up a strong performance that proved they’re ready for Saturday’s race. Senior Cristian Cucuta placed third in his heat with a time of 15:57. Senior Isaac Adeleke also set a personal record, breaking the 18:00 minute barrier and hitting a time of 17:50 on the 3-mile Pierce course.

“Honestly, it wasn’t my best, but it was a very good performance,” said Cucuta. “We were solid as a team, we performed very well, we won our heat, and we’re moving onto city finals. My goal on Saturday is a big PR.  I think for Saturday, I’m not really worrying about time, I’m worrying about place. I want that city title. I want that medal around my neck that says I’m city champion. That’s all I care about, and I want my team to be with me and be city champs. Same for the girls.”

The top three girls pushed their race as well and all set personal records as a result. Junior Natalie Realegeno won her heat and had the second fastest time of the Division 1 girls’ races after Marissa Williams, with a personal best of 18:32. Senior Tessa Weinberg broke into the 18:00s for the first time at Pierce with a time of 18:53, followed by sophomore Jazmine Macias with a personal best of 19:18.

“I think I did well. I pushed myself, and for next week I’m just going to go out hard and push myself even harder. There will be more competition so hopefully we can get somewhere as a team, and I hope to do my best individually too,” said Realegeno.

The schools competing in the Division 1 Girls’ Varsity City Championships race at 9:00AM are: Palisades, Granada Hills, Taft, San Pedro, Santee, Marshall, Bravo, Birmingham, University, Polytechnic, and Monroe.

The schools competing in the Division 1 Boys’ Varsity City Championships race at 9:30AM are: El Camino Real, Santee, Marshall, Granada Hills, Palisades, Bravo, Monroe, Garfield, San Pedro, Taft, and Venice.

Granada’s junior varsity girls’ team will also be running at 11:30AM and seniors Jensen Omega and Jeremy Argueta qualified as individuals for the junior varsity boys’ race as well.  Freshman Jacob Lee was the only freshman to qualify for the boys’ freshmen/sophomore race.

The runners are preparing for Saturday’s race both mentally and physically by resting well.

“Boys and girls, they both ran really, really well,” said head coach Susan Campbell.  “I think that they may have an even better race for finals.  The way they’ve been progressing the entire season, I feel like everyone is getting better, and better, and better, and we’re going to have to see how we do. We’re just going to change the workouts a little bit for next week. Not going to do anything too intense, and I’m hoping that first would be great for all the teams.”

Many runners are trying to not only set personal bests on the course on Saturday, but qualify for the state meet as the top two teams or the next five fastest individuals in the city. Coach Campbell has advice for her runners.

“Just go out,” she said. “They need to do their best. They know their abilities, and they just need to push it a little bit more. They’ve come a really long way, and they’ve got a lot of talent. They just need to not let anything get in their heads and just run.”

—Tessa Weinberg

City Prelims Results

Varisty Boys

  • Cristian Cucuta – 15:57
  • André Shahinian – 16:24
  • Jose Gonzalez – 16:30
  • Jacob Seemann – 16:35
  • Ben Tiber – 16:38
  • Alfredo Hernandez – 17:18
  • Isaac Adeleke – 17:50

Varisty Girls

  • Natalie Realegeno – 18:32
  • Tessa Weinberg – 18:53
  • Jazmine Macias – 19:18
  • Anastasia Vela – 21:06
  • Denise Rojas – 21:36
  • Tori Childers – 21:48

Full results can be found at: http://www.cif-la.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=49085&type=d&pREC_ID=88512

The schedule for Saturday’s LA City Championship races can be found at: http://www.cif-la.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=49085&type=d&pREC_ID=672355

Visit http://theplaidpress.com/category/sports/ to read more stories about Granada’s sports teams.