Cross Country Teams Qualify for CIF Finals

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By Robert Campbell | LB Indy

Laguna Beach High School’s cross country teams qualified for CIF finals at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut on Saturday, Nov. 22. The girls’ team finished third in their semi finals heat and sixth overall out of 13 qualifying teams. The boys took fourth in their heat and 12th overall.

Both coaches typically rest some top runners at semi finals, starting just enough talent to finish among the top 13 while conserving energy in hopes of qualify among the top seven at finals to earn a trip to Fresno for the state meet.

As such, juniors and top five runners Pearl Shoemaker and Penn Nielson sat out for the girls and boys respectively.

The girls we led by senior Natalie Kimball, whose 19:34 was :17 better than her personal best on the hilly Mt. SAC course. She finished 13th overall out of 100 runners in heat three.

Fellow senior Brenna Merchant, this year’s Orange Coast League champ, finished 16th in a time of 19:42. Sophomore Kirsten Landsiedel (19th, 19:50), senior Janie Crawford (27th, 20:10) and freshman Grace LaMontagne (28th, 20:11) rounded out the scoring five.

Senior Cameron Zuziak finished first for Laguna and fourth overall out of 83 runners in heat two. His time of 15:45 was three seconds off his personal best at Mt. SAC and the 10th best among all division 4 runners.

Completing the scoring five were junior Mason Pitz (23rd, 16:55), seniors Grant Barton (24th, 16:56) and Liam Corrigan (31st, 17:05), and junior Drake Butler (38th, 17:18).

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