It will be a mixture of young, rising talent and veteran experience when local runners head off to the CIF State Cross-Country Championships next week.
Leading the way will be Palo Alto sophomore Philip MacQuitty and Woodside Priory freshman Devon Errington, each of whom won individual titles while five local teams earned trips to the state meet at the Central Coast Section championships Saturday at Crystal Springs in Belmont.
MacQuitty won his first section title by clocking 15:26 over the 2.95-mile layout. He edged Mountain View's Garrett Rowe (15:27) in a near-identical finish to the SCVAL El Camino Division finals two weeks ago when MacQuitty won in a dead heat.
Unlike that race, which was won by Palo Alto, the Viking boys failed to duplicate that finish and settled for fifth. Only MacQuitty and Charlie Avis (ninth in a personal-best 15:47) qualified for the state meet.
Errington, on the other hand, will be joined by her teammates when the state meet is held Nov. 24 at Fresno's Woodward Park after the Panthers finished second in the girls' Division V race to earn their first trip to state. Errington clocked 19:52, the only runner under 20:00. A year ago, Woodside Priory had just one runner compete at CCS.
That division was won by Castilleja with 30 points while Sacred Heart Prep also qualified for the state meet by taking third for the second straight season. Pinewood was the odd team out, with three of the four teams entered qualifying for state.
"The meet was good for us," said Castilleja coach Tom Allen, whose squad won last season's title with 29 points. "We came and did what we were supposed to and everyone had solid races . . . Regardless of the competition, to score 30 points is very good so they are happy with that. But, we have known for a long time that the real test wouldn't come until state."
Castilleja senior Sonja Swenson, who beat Errington at the WBAL championships, settled for second place in 20:19. Lauren Allen of Priory was fourth in 20:37 and Rachel Skokowski of Castilleja was fifth in 20:44.
"Sonja got a really bad cramp warming up and couldn't even run 30 minutes before the race, so to get second is fantastic," Allen said. "Both she and Kim did an excellent job of helping the other girls throughout the season <0x2014> everyone else was freshmen or sophomores <0x2014> and it showed today. They taught the younger girls how to race and practice and often times held back a little to pull the others along."
Sacred Heart Prep, meanwhile, was led by senior Julia Brownell in 11th in 21:27 while Gators' freshman Nadia Ahmed was 12th in 21:35.
The Gunn girls also qualified for the state meet, finishing third in Division II. Junior Allegra Mayer led the Titans with a third-place finish of 18:19, her personal best on the hilly Crystal Springs course.
Gunn freshman Emma Dohner was seventh in a PR of 18:33. Previously undefeated freshman Jackie Evans suffered her first setback of the season while finishing 33rd (19:54), Gunn's final scorer. Evans won the El Camino Division crown in a PR of 18:09.
"Allie and Emma ran great," said Gunn coach Ernie Lee. "Jackie went out with (eventual winner Stephanie) Barnett for the first mile and crashed. I wasn't surprised that she couldn't keep up with Barnett, but I didn't expect her to fall off so far.
"I had mentioned to her earlier than she didn't have to win every race, but I probably should have been a bit more explicit about going out too fast."
Lee also singled out junior Joanne Reid, who ran a season best of 19:29 while fourth runner Lisa Fawcett and Kelsey Feeley also was close to their PRs.
"Mountain View and Presentation (who finished first and second) are very good teams and we had to run our best to challenge them," Lee said. Mountain View totaled 68 points, Presentation had 77 and Gunn 94. The Titans also qualified for the state meet a year ago.
The Sacred Heart Prep boys also qualified for the state meet after taking third in Division V. Senior Alex Navarro, an All-American swimmer in the spring, finished fifth in 17:03 and sophomore teammate Cam Hutton was 10th in 17:19 to pace the Gators.
This is the second straight year that the SHP boys and girls qualified for the state meet. No other local team has been able to accomplish that.