The cross country course at Woodward Park near Fresno will be overrun by the best long distance runners in the state on Saturday, Nov. 30, and several local schools will take their place among them.
(A map of Woodward Park can be found on the CIF website.)
Among the five girls champions, only St. Francis (18:30) had a faster average time than Palo Alto (18:45). Menlo was third (19:03), Castilleja fourth (20:07) and St. Ignatius fifth (20:11), though second-place finishers Gunn (19:42) and Willow Glen (19:30) were under 20 minutes.
In addition, Woodside sophomore Elise Arana qualified as an individual in Division II. The Wildcats only had four runners available for the CCS championships.
Palo Alto had its top five runners finish between eighth and 15th place overall, led by senior Miranda Jimenez in eighth with a time of 18:35.64. Los Altos freshman Lauren Soobrian won the race in 17:58.20, nearly 19 seconds ahead of the second-place runner.
Jimenez was pushed by Paly freshman Hillary Studdert, who finished ninth in 18:39.54 and senior Ella Ball, who was 10th in 18:42.77. Hailey Hwang (14th, 18:52.56) and Elizabeth Fetter (15th, 18:53.02) completed the scoring for the Vikings.
Gunn qualified by finishing second with 131 points, narrowly edging Monta Vista's 137. Izy Hilbert was the Titans' top placer, running 19:13.77, good for 17th place. Freshman Neha Rishi followed in 19th (19:27.69), Sophie Alexis was 20th (19:28.26), senior Maansay Rishi was 27th (19:36.01) and Amy White completed the scoring with her 63rd place showing.
"I am excited to lead the Gunn girls to State. I am mostly proud to see how they worked together in the race to make it happen," Gunn coach Michael Granville wrote in an e-mail. "I was totally surprised by the result. Different sources had us finishing between 4th and 6th place. But, the athletes put it all out there when it counted and had a championship performance."
Menlo-Atherton was ninth with 232 points. Madeleine Boyle finished 26th in 19:35.95 as the Bears' top runner.
Menlo School (30 points) produced another outstanding team run in Division IV, with six runners all finishing in the top 10 and within 15 seconds of each other.
SHP's Luci Lambert finished second overall with a time of 18:48.95. Menlo's Alexandra McCusker was the first Knight to cross the finish line, placing fourth in 19:00.5. In quick order, Kyra Pretre (19:01.25), Katie Aufricht (19:01.95), Marisa Castagna (19:04.51) and Cameron Boom (19:06.39) followed McCusker. Amanda Foster (19:14.49) was 10th and Sophia Gallo finished 18th.
The Gators, with 96 points, also got solid runs from Janie Morganroth (16th), Julia Soderbery (17th) and Lucy Paynter (20th).
Tevah Gevelber (18:54.92) placed second overall in Division V to lead Castilleja (29 points) to the team title. She was followed by Samira Kennedy(19:20.14) in third, Abigail Krenz in fourth and Daniella Henderson in 19th. Parisa Braun was 16th as the fifth scorer.
Priory, which placed fourth with 77 points, was led by Eszter Horvath, who was fifth. Ava Ammari ran 15th for the Panthers.
Pinewood's Emily Takara finishe4d 14th and teammate Nicole Maneatis was 18th. Alondro Zamora's 29th place finish was the best by an Eastside Prep runner.
Menlo was third in the D-4 boys race, with 102 points, to qualify for the state meet. Sacred Heart Prep placed 12th.
Menlo's Kamran Murray (15:48.44) and Calvin Katz (15:50.26) ran third and fourth, about six seconds behind the winning time. Freshman Justin Pretre was 20th in 16:44.30.
Matthew Chun (16:40.18) was Sacred Heart Prep's top runner. He placed 18th overall.
Priory was second in Division V, with 71 points. Crystal Springs Uplands won with 43 points. The Panthers had two runners place in the top 10. Jason Draxler Sadler was fourth in 16:21.94 and Jadan Wenceslao ran seventh in 16:51.03. Ronan Byrne finished 16th for Priory.
David Martinez placed 33rd as Eastside Prep's top runner.
David Evans placed 10th with a time of 15:54.51 in Division I but Palo Alto was sixth as team with 158 points. Menlo-Atherton was 12th.
Alleksei Seletskiy placed 21st in 16:22.07 for the Vikings while Jackson Gosler paced the Bears with a 25th place showing (16:26.40).
Woodside finished fourth (134) and Gunn sixth (163) in the boys Division II competition. Both Woodside and Gunn each had two runners place among the top 25.
For the Titans, Justin Chiao was 14th with a time of 16:10.26 and Joshua Gehring was 23rd in 16:34.28. For the Wildcats, Nathan Bowman was 20th in 16:26.76 and Ethan Brooks ran 25th in 16:36.26.