By Robert Campbell | LB Indy
Laguna Beach High School’s CIF second-ranked cross country teams traveled to Woodward Park in Fresno on Saturday, Oct. 11 to compete in the Clovis Invitational on the same course where both teams took runner up honors last November at State finals. Only this time the girls finished third and the boys took fifth.
Senior Janie Crawford, whose 19:13 last year at the Clovis Invite is the third fastest time in school history on that course, did not race. And fellow seniors Brenna Merchant (19:16) and Natalie Kimball (19:33), and junior Pearl Shoemaker (19:59) were well off the personal bests they ran last year at Clovis.
There’s plenty of time for improvement before state finals on Thanksgiving weekend. The good news is the girls are running in a tight pack, with only 25 seconds separating the scoring five.
Sophomore Kirsten Landsiedel and Merchant paced the Breakers with identical times of 20:13, finishing 19th and 20th respectively out of 217 runners. Kimball (20:22) was 22nd, while Taylor Alvarez (20:36) came in 29th. Shoemaker (20:38) finished 33rd to round out the scoring five.
The varsity boys also struggled based on their personal bests at Woodward Park, with senior Cameron Zuziak finishing well off the 15:54 he ran at last year’s Clovis Invite, one of only four sub-16-minute performances in Laguna history on that course. Still, Zuziak’s 16:46 earned him a 12th place finish overall out of 230 runners.
The rest of the scoring five for the Breakers with their times and finishes were senior Grant Barton (17:14, 33rd), and juniors Penn Nielson (17:18, 35), Drake Butler (17:31, 55) and Carter Fraser (18:07, 90).
Sam Damashek finished 39th overall out of 194 runners in a time of 18:56 to pace the boys frosh/soph squad to a 12th place finish out of 29 teams. Rounding out the scoring five were Ryan Wittlock (19:19, 56), Massimo Lucidi (19:25, 63), Dylan Miller (19:43, 83) and Tim Loughlin (20:28. 105).
Sophomore Sabrina Flagstad finished 21st out of 91 runners in the girls frosh/soph race with a time of 22:38.
Next up for Laguna is the Orange County Championships on Friday, Oct. 17 at Irvine Regional Park.