Runner-up Newhall XC ends California drought in the top five at NTN
California editors Rich Gonzalez (boys) and Mike Kennedy (girls) catch up post-race with Cal teams at NTN.
GIrls - Boys
Newhall XC (Saugus CA)
2nd place – 171 points
5 Dunn, Katherine 08 Newhall XC Club 19:18.0 5
7 Mahoney, Kaylin 11 Newhall XC Club 19:23.5 7
34 Randall, Anne 09 Newhall XC Club 20:09.5 34
61 Jauregui, Brianna 09 Newhall XC Club 20:40.8 61
64 Moore, Nina 08 Newhall XC Club 20:41.4 64
104 Bonja, Michelle 08 Newhall XC Club 21:18.4 104
106 Murakami, Amber 10 Newhall XC Club 21:20.5 106
The Jinx is broken.
In the first three years of the Nike Team Nationals at Portland Meadows in Oregon the California teams have, in some cases struggled to meet expectations, and in other cases, just have not performed very well. It was beginning to look like the Golden Staters, used to sunny skies and 70 degree temperatures, could not perform in conditions that over the years have included extreme mud—calf deep in some cases—temperatures in the low 30’s, winds ranging upwards of 20 miles per hour, rain and snow flurries.
All of that is now in the past thanks to Newhall XC.
The club from Santa Clarita Valley, ranked No. 2 in the nation according to Harrier Magazine, took up the challenge and validated their ranking, finishing second to defending champion Manlius XC, 83 to 171. Kinetic NY was third with 194 points and Hanover NH was fourth at 206.
How rare is that finish?
Newhall is only the second non-New York team to finish in the top two in the meet's four-year history. New York has been the team winner every year. The previous best for a California team was sixth by Corona del Mar (Newport Beach) both in 2005, when it was ranked No. 1 in the nation, and in 2006. No other California team has finished in the top ten.
So how did Newhall pull it off?
The first thing they did was alter their training. “With five weeks to go in the regular season we started training for NTN,” said Coach Rene Paragas. “We felt that we could afford to change our training and still win Southern Section and State. We probably could have run faster at Mt. San Antonio College (Southern Section) and State (Woodward Park) but wanted to prepare (for NTN). We ran in deep sand and thick grass and jumped barriers.”
The next thing the Centurions did was to put last year's 18th place finish, when much of the team was sick, out of their minds. “Last year did not matter,” Paragas said. “Everything was against us. People were saying that California teams could not run (well) at NTN. We wanted to prove that we were tough and that we could contend (for the title).” And lastly they knew who the opposition was (Manlius) and tried to match up whereever possible, which meant primarily up front.
After last year, “we knew we had to be tough,” said senior leader Katie Dunn. “We had to run our hearts out and realize that this is really a mental race. Last year was a good experience but this year we are so much better and we knew that we had to be tough and that we were going to do much better.”
Dunn and freshman Kaylin Mahoney, who have run almost as a tandem this year, started out slowly, as did the team as a whole. The same could not be said of Manlius which had three of it runners in the top ten early in the race. All were ahead of Dunn and Mahoney. With Manlius establishing itself as a dominant force, leading by as many has 100 points, attention turned to the battle for second, and quite a battle it was with Newhall, Kinetic and Hanover within three points of one another with just one kilometer remaining.
It was at that point that Newhall began to make its move. Dunn pulled into fifth in 19:18 and Mahoney was not far behind in seventh in 19:23—making her the fastest freshman in the race. The two finished just in front of the first three Manlius runners. Those efforts plus juniors Anne Randall in 34th at 20:09 and Brianna Jauregui, in 61st at 20:40 and senior Nina Moore in 64th broke open the close battle for second and gave the Centurions a solid second place finish.
When you add up Newhall's undefeated regular season (when they ran as Saugus High), course records at Mt. San Antonio College and Woodward Park, and the second place finish at NTN, it seems clear that they are California’s best-ever team.
Anaheim XC (Esperanza CA)
17th place – 337 points
23 Adams, Christine 10 Anaheim XC Club 19:55.2 23
53 Kohl, Keena 08 Anaheim XC Club 20:33.9 53
55 Selix, Ariana 08 Anaheim XC Club 20:34.5 55
93 Bahra, Rebekah 11 Anaheim XC Club 21:08.5 93
113 Davidson, Kelly 09 Anaheim XC Club 21:35.4 113
121 Lu, Amy 08 Anaheim XC Club 21:52.6 121
125 Wood, Corey 10 Anaheim XC Club 22:01.8 126
Anaheim, the second California team at NTN, finished 17th with 337 points. “This is all new for the girls,” said Coach Rich Medellin. “They ran really hard and we were just happy to be here.” Sophomore Teeny Adams was the Aztec’s top finisher in 23rd with a time of 19:55. Adams said she “loved the snow and the mud but it was really cold. I just tried to relax. It was really exciting to be here. At the beginning of the year I never knew that anything like this existed. Coach said that it was possible that we could get here. That was our goal.”
Los Angeles XC (Loyola CA)
8th place – 261 points
8 Kostelnik, James 08 Los Angeles XC Club 16:28.3 8
35 Gedyon, Elias 11 Los Angeles XC Club 16:57.3 35
55 Diaz, Andres 09 Los Angeles XC Club 17:12.1 55
64 Slater, James 09 Los Angeles XC Club 17:16.6 64
99 Milin, Anthony 08 Los Angeles XC Club 17:41.4 99
103 Ruiz, Paul 09 Los Angeles XC Club 17:43.3 103
139 Topete, JonCarlo 08 Los Angeles XC Club 18:11.8 139
Murrieta XC (Murrieta Valley CA)
17th place – 364 points
29 McCutcheon, David 08 Murrieta XC Club 16:51.2 29
62 Knauer, Daniel 09 Murrieta XC Club 17:15.6 62
74 Sigeti, Angel 08 Murrieta XC Club 17:21.4 74
87 Sanchez, Anthony 08 Murrieta XC Club 17:28.1 87
112 Kincade, Chris 09 Murrieta XC Club 17:48.1 112
116 Pearce, Ian 08 Murrieta XC Club 17:50.6 116
138 Resendiz, Jadden 08 Murrieta XC Club 18:11.2 138
Dana Point XC (Dana Hills CA)
19th place – 379 points
27 Valdes, Tyler 09 Dana Point XC Club 16:50.7 27
66 Alvarez, Tyler 08 Dana Point XC Club 17:17.1 66
84 Valdes, Ryan 09 Dana Point XC Club 17:27.3 84
88 Lacambra, Anthony 09 Dana Point XC Club 17:28.4 88
114 Moonan, David 09 Dana Point XC Club 17:49.6 114
117 Chan, Josh 08 Dana Point XC Club 17:51.2 117
137 Dean, Joshua 09 Dana Point XC Club 18:09.8 137