By Olivia Chiu
Photos by Hana Tyszka
Both cross country varsity teams competed today, Saturday, November 14, in the Division III CIF Southern Section Preliminaries, which were held at the Riverside City Cross Country Course, formerly known as The Riverside Golf Club. Both teams represented the Rio Hondo League well, but only the girls qualified for CIF Finals.
Junior Kieran Press-Reynolds, who has had a consistent strong performance all season, led varsity boys. Press-Reynolds achieved an impressive 15:43 an individual placing of 19 out of 146 total runners. Sophomore Oliver Chang followed with a 16:00 and 29th and freshman Francesco Fortunelli came in third for the team with a 16:14 and 47th place. Senior Raymond Gilmartin (16:47, 74th) and sophomore Ben Clark (17:18, 97th) completed the scoring squad to earn a total of 261 points, ranking the team 11th out of 21.
“I’m very happy with our performance today—even though not all of us had the race or got the time we wanted, we all ran super hard and placed decently,” Press-Reynolds said. “I think this indicates that next season of training under our belts, and pretty much the same lineup, we will be able to extend our CIF run.”
As expected, varsity girls qualified for the next round. Predicted front-runner senior Emily Ye headed the girls at 18:52 and an impressive individual rank of 14 of 156. Freshman Elizabeth Bock tailed at 19:34 and 31st place, and senior Maaike Wielenga finished at 20:06 and 48th place. Senior Fiona Bock (20:13, 55th) and sophomore Maddy Engelsman (20:26, 59th) followed closely behind. The girls garnered 195 points, placing them firmly in 7th of 22 teams in their heat and giving them a ticket to CIF-SS Finals next Saturday, November 21.
“We were very excited [about how we did], but it’s what we were expecting,” Team Captain Maaike Wielenga said. “We hope to do well in Finals, and will definitely give it our all.”
Unfortunately, regular fourth and fifth place runners senior Briana Nuñez and freshman Lindsey Calva were absent from the race. Calva has been severely injured since the second league meet, and Nuñez was replaced at the last moment by alternate sophomore Caroline Liu.
CIF-SS Finals will be taking place at the challenging Mount San Antonio College (Mt. SAC) course. The top seven teams from each division advance to CIF State, which will be held the week after at Woodward Park, Fresno, on Saturday, November 28.