The cross-country season in the Rio Hondo League came to a head with the league finals for boys and girls taking place at Lacy Park in San Marino on Nov. 2.
For San Marino High, junior Kayla Giddings and junior Essien Gagnon will represent the Titans at the CIF Southern Section Cross Country Championships at Mt. San Antonio College. Prelims for the meet begin Friday, Nov. 10, and conclude Saturday, Nov. 11. The finals are set for Saturday, Nov. 18.
Giddings went out front early, leading the opening stages before falling back to finish in a time of 19 minutes, 5 seconds.
“I know these girls like to hold back a little bit and kind of jog their first little bit and then they sprint at the end,” Giddings said. “Personally, as a distance runner I can’t really do that, so I just try to keep the same pace the whole time and it normally works out for me.”
The San Marino girls’ team finished in fifth overall with a score of 121 behind Temple City in fourth. The Titans will have a representative at the CIF meet thanks to a sixth-place finish by Giddings, as the top 10 individual finishers advance regardless of team results. Both Titans teams will compete in the Division IV races.
“It’s always tough in league because these girls are so talented, but I got my goal, which is top seven and I got sixth, so that was really good,” Giddings said.
Titans junior Eve Rios came in 26th at 24:35, freshman Claire Huang followed in 27th at 24:42 and junior Keidyn Liu finished 33rd in 26:52.
For the boys, Gagnon took fifth place in a time of 16:36 to help the Titans team place fourth with 104 points and a total time of 1:29:23.
“It went pretty well, actually,” Gagnon said. “I wanted to go out fast and then, around the 2-mile mark, we had a couple South Pas kids starting to take off. I tried to stick with them, but I couldn’t. I made up for it at the end and did my best to catch up with them.”
Titans junior Howard Chen finished 16th in 17:19, junior Brandon Yang came in 24th at 18:14, junior Jeremy Karkafi placed 28th in 18:28, junior Jaeden Kusuma at 31st in 18:46, junior Nathaniel Foncesca in 34th and 19:23, and freshman Ethan Chow at 35th in 19:30.
In a close race for the girls, La Cañada just edged out South Pasadena 30-32 to win the league title.
“We knew South Pasadena has the strongest team on the girls’ side that they have probably ever had, and we knew it was going to be a shootout,” La Cañada girls’ coach Pete Magil said.
In a runaway effort, the South Pasadena boys’ team came out on top with 22, outdistancing second-place La Cañada’s 59.
“The boys dominated. It was a stellar performance,” South Pasadena coach Mike Parkinson said.
The Rio Hondo League individual championship for the girls in the 3-mile run came down to the end as Tigers junior Abigail Errington and Spartans junior Maya DeBrouwer battled to the tape. It was Errington who crossed the line first, taking the title in a time of 17:58. DeBrouwer was literally right on her heels, finishing in 17:59 for second.
Monrovia finished in third and will join La Cañada and South Pasadena in advancing to the CIF competition at Mt. SAC next week.
The individual championship in the boys’ race went to Keeran Murray in a time of 15:49. Just six seconds behind Murray was Tiger freshman Michael Scarince, finishing second in 15:55.
La Cañada’s overall second-place total time was 1:24:51. The top finisher for the Spartans was senior George Hervey, who took sixth in a time of 16:38.
“We knew first place was a little out of reach this year, so I told them this is the race we are going to use to make sure that we are ready for CIF next weekend, and we can give it our best to make it to CIF finals,” La Cañada boys’ coach Andy Rodemich said.
As with the girls, Monrovia finished in third and will advance as a team to the CIF competition, joining the Tigers and Spartans.
First published in the Nov. 9 issue of the San Marino Tribune