The Redondo Union results & stats for the CIF Southern Section XC Finals, held Saturday November 20th at Mt. SAC, are now posted in the Meet Results section on the right. Or, to go straight to the results sheet, click here http://tinyurl.com/CIF-Finals-RU.
Pictures from the meet will soon be posted on the Booster Club website in the Meet Photos section by clicking here http://new.runruhs.com/meet-photos/ and following the links to the pictures for the CIF Finals.
For the full official meet results, posted on the ESPN Rise website, click here http://tinyurl.com/RiseCIFSSFinals. This page includes links to all the day’s races for each division. There are separate links for the individual results and for the team results.
CIF SS Finals: Cool, Wet, Black, and It Ain’t Over Jack
Overcast sky, cool temps, steady rain, slippery pavement, soggy grass, and pathways turning from thick mud to liquid. That’s what the fans faced as they made their way from point-to-point to watch and cheer for their teams at Saturday’s CIF Southern Section Cross Country Finals.
But no one was complaining. They were too busy making sure that if there was any chance that shouting encouragement, declaring their confidence, or even just yelling a little louder could at all help their runner along; could help them find that little extra something that makes the difference, then they were going to give their best effort.
So there we were, giving our all, racking our brains to come up with the magic words, but blurting out the same phrases we always use, and yelling them to the runners as they pass by, only a few yards away, as though they might be far off and not able to hear us otherwise. We are all fully and emotionally vested.
It’s a shame to hold our region’s championship races at such a fine, classic XC venue as offered by Mt. SAC, only to have the weather default it all to a relatively flat road-race type course that could have been plotted on almost any streets, anywhere. But the course is secondary. The prime condition is that of the competition.
And on this day, and in particular this race, Division 2 Girls, the competition was about as stiff as it gets. Three teams that all look good on paper; all having winning seasons and all loaded with talent. This is the year that Saugus would be beatable. Mira Costa had been beaten, twice by the Sea Hawks, but after years of taking second to Saugus, they are determined to end that streak. And the rising stars from Redondo Union, catching everyone’s imagination, with their bold front-running style and pack formation; they’re the team that just might snatch it all away from the established XC dynasties. Now, for the first time all season these three are in the same race, faced-off and primed. No one blinks.
The race goes off, and the field makes its way up the Airstrip. Packed tightly, they haven’t had time to separate out when they go by me. I don’t see the familiar front-pack Redondo formation, and I don’t see them further back in the field either. What happened? I saw Mira Costa and Saugus, and lots of others, but no Redondo. Did they miss the start?
A little panicked, I follow the course left onto the service road that winds past the baseball diamonds, campus facilities buildings and various parking lots, to the turn-around point on Mt SAC Way. I plant myself at the mile mark and wait for the race to double back. I’m thinking that they must be in there, I was just too focused on getting pictures of the approaching field and they got by me.
Now I’m ready and scanning the still large field as it approaches. I can see the red uniforms, but they are more spread out than I’m used to seeing. Even worse, they are all well behind the leaders. But, no, as I get a closer look those uniforms say Colony, not Redondo. I quickly scan the field for more red, but I only see Colony and Ayala. As the last runners go by, I am still standing there waiting to take the first mile times.
I jog up the road and catch up with Kevin Ryan and ask him if the girls are in the race. He confirms that they are, and then explains that they have new uniforms. Black. Oh. I still can’t believe I missed them, no matter what they might be wearing.
I take up my position at the two-mile mark, determined to focus on the black uniforms this time. And as the field turns left off the Airstrip, on the second of this two-lap course, I see the lead pack with the Saugus and Mira Costa runners approach. But I’m not really looking at them; I’m searching for black uniforms and not seeing any. Fortunately, I’m soon breathing easy as I see Lyndsey Mull striding past. Then seven or eight seconds later, I spot Rachel Bush and Kelly Ryan running together. But it’s almost ten seconds more before I see Laura O’Neill, Cara Ulizio and Kayla Ferron, and twenty more seconds for seventh-girl Olivia Loveland to come by. The lady Sea Hawks are further back than I’d like to see, but there’s still a mile to go, and anything can happen.
Once everyone has passed the 2-mile mark, it’s my cue to take off and head back to the stadium to see the finish. There I witness the one certainty I had in my mind about how this race would play out. If Mira Costa’s Savanna Pio was within 20 meters of the leaders coming into the stadium, she would win. And she did, easing past Saugus’ Kaylin Mahoney and Stephanie Bulder in a way that made it look like they just let her go.
Lyndsey, still the lead Sea Hawk, made it onto the track with a big gap in front of her and three Saugus runners behind. She finished 7th in 18:37, with three Saugus runners still behind her. Next it was Rachel coming down the ramp and onto the track who finished 13th in 18:51. Six seconds back was Kelly Ryan taking 16th in 18:57.
From my spot along the railing on the west side of the track I was having some trouble keeping an eye on the runners coming through the gate while watching our girls cross the finish line on the opposite side of the track. I missed the next three, which were Kayla’s 21st place finish in 19:05, but finally picked out Cara and Laura just seconds before they finished 26th and 27th in the same time of 19:13.
Next it was Olivia, passing runners from Colony and Serrano as she goes down the ramp. Then rounding the turn on the track, she throws her finishing kick into over-drive and sprints past an Edison runner and one from Foothill, then on the final straight-away she picks off a runner from Sultana and they both catch another Edison runner at the finish line, moving up six places in the last 180 meters. Her 19:47 was good for 51st place, leaving 68 runners still out on the course. Edison
In the end, Saugus, the team that was ripe for a loss, had one of their best days ever, putting all five scoring runners in the top ten, and easily winning another CIF title with 29 points. Mira Costa put in their best performance of the season and took their usual 2nd place with 62 points, not far ahead of Redondo’s 75 point 3rd place. Fourth place was far back with the 133 points scored by Canyon.
But that’s not the end of it. Next up will be the CIF State Championships, held in Fresno’s Woodward Park, this coming Saturday November 27th. This is still the year that Saugus can be beat. Mira Costa is now tied 2 for 4 with Redondo, and I know the lady Sea Hawks are highly motivated to tip that series to their own favor.
Oh no, it ain’t over just yet.
Wear Red (or black), be loud, go Sea Hawks!
Doug Boswell ~ XC Information Director ~ [email protected]