Monday, May 17, 2021

Islander Cross Country Team Catch-Up, Two Headed to State Meet

Following is a catch-up through the CIF finals for the Islander Cross Country Teams.

Islander Cross Country Team
Islander Cross Country Team


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On October 26th the boys and girls Cross Country Teams ran in the 72nd annual Mt. SAC Cross Country Invitational in Walnut California.

Mt. SAC is the acronym for Mt. San Antonio College. The event is the largest high school cross country race in the world with divisions for high school, middle school, and community colleges. The biggest part of the event is the high school meet, which runs all day for both Friday and Saturday. This year there were 91 races, all at 3 miles over the legendary course that hasn’t changed significantly in 72 years. On Friday, CIF divisions 3, 4, and 5 competed with divisions 1 and 2 running on Saturday. Our girls ran in one of the fast Sweepstakes Races, which qualified our boys to run in the combined division 3, 4, and 5 Varsity Race. This allows a team to get both their boys’ and girls’ races done in a three-hour window. The boys’ race went off at 4:18. The boys’ captain, senior Cole Mullins, has run in this meet since he was a freshman and wanted this to be his best finish. His goal was to break into the Top-10. Mt. SAC is known for its three hills.

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Coronado Islanders at Mt. SAC Invite: Back Row L-R, Anna Youngblood, Abby Hundley, Sofia Van Arsdale, Dana Jennings, Jessica Ehret, Cole Mullins, Aiden Baumann, Casey Harris, Landon Mullins, Will Leonard, Gio Navarro. Front Row: Micah Arnott

If you mention Switchbacks, PoopOut, or Reservoir to anyone who has run there, they will know what you’re talking about. After the start, there’s a one-mile flat part of the course that lures many runners into going out too fast. Then you hit the Switchbacks. The first couple of hundred meters switch back and forth to lesson the incline, before a straight portion that rises over 100 feet in about a quarter of a mile. What goes up, must come down. Switchbacks is followed by nearly a half-mile of downhill running until you hit PoopOut hill. This is the steepest part of the course, but it’s short compared to the other hills. The 2-Mile point is just past the crest of PoopOut. Then it’s down the other side of PoopOut and a half-mile stretch of flat and rolling terrain to the base of Reservoir hill. Reservoir hill breaks a lot of runners because they can see it on the downhill part coming off PoopOut. It’s tough to be sure, but there’s a flat break about 30 meters from the top that offers a bit of recovery for those who know it’s there. After the crest it’s all downhill to the finish, about a half-mile away. Because of the flat first mile, runners go out fast to position themselves for the climb up switchback. Cole found himself in around 20th place after the first of the two loops before the ascent but worked himself up to third place at the front of a large group of runners at the bottom of the first hill. His brother, Landon Mullins, and teammate, Casey Harris, were only 15 seconds back at this point. The next time I saw him was on flat stretch off of the Switchbacks heading toward the steepest part of the course, PoopOut hill. By then, he had pulled away from the pack and was only a step behind the lead runner. Landon and Casey had moved up to around 18th about 20 seconds back. The next time I saw them was just past the 2-mile point on the downside of PoopOut. By then, Cole had built up a nice lead and flew past around ten seconds in front of the second-place runner. Landon was in eighth at this point, still about twenty seconds back, and Casey was in eleventh, about thirty seconds back. Coming off of the steep backside of Reservoir hill he was still ten seconds in front with less than a half-mile of flat racing left to the finish. Landon went by in sixth thirty seconds back, and Casey followed in fourteenth about 50 seconds back from Cole. At the finish, Cole had to fight off a charge from Niel Bondc from Yorba Linda High School to win by less than a second with a time of 16:35. Landon placed fifth in 17:01, and Casey placed fifteenth in 17:36. There were 114 finishers in the race. Out of the 20 schools in the race, Coronado placed fourth behind South Torrance, Yorba Linda, and Half Moon Bay. Our other scorers were Gio Navarro (19:21) and Aiden Baumann (19:36). Will Leonard and Micah Arnott were the pushers. Check out the post-race interview with Cole by Runnerspace below, or visit our website at to also find videos of both our boys’ and girls’ races. It’s been a great month for Cole. How many Homecoming Kings have also won a varsity race at Mt. SAC?

Here’s a link to the finish line interview of Cole plus many more shots from this event.

Our top finisher in the girls’ Sweepstake race was Sofia Van Arsdale, who completed the course in twenty-second place with a time of 20:12. Second for us was freshman, Dana Jennings, who ran 20:35 followed by Abby Hundley, Jessica Ehret, and Anna Youngblood. Team wise we finished in eighth place out of the 15 schools with full teams entered.


Casey Harris
Casey Harris at Postal 2-mile

Taking a break from the traditional hill and dale of cross country running, we entered several runners in the fifth annual Postal 2-mile run on the University City track. This meet starts around 3pm with the slower races and ends at around 8pm with the faster runners.

All races are two miles long. We had three girls in the fastest race with Sofia Van Arsdale turning in the best time with an 11:05 effort.

Hundley and Jennings
Abigail Hundley and Dana Jennings at Postal 2-mile

Next was Abby Hundley who clocked 11:47 followed by Dana Jennings who ran 11:47.

Casey Harris turned in the top time for the boys with 10:23 followed by Aiden Baumann (11:12), Micah Arnott (11:26), Cole Hutcherson (11:28), Gio Navarro (11:29), and Will Leonard (11:31).


On Nov 7th, we had our final Western League cluster meet at Morley Field. All varsity races were at a distance of 3.11 miles over the City Conference Cross Country Course. This was also the last meet of the season for our JV teams. Several of our runners posted personal records with sophomore Landon Mullins our first finisher with a 35-second personal record time of 16:40. His brother, Cole Mullins, was our second finisher with a respectable time of 17:01. Considering he wasn’t running at 100 percent due to a nagging injury he sustained while winning a varsity race at Mt. SAC on Oct. 26, this is a good time.

Boys at Westerrn Cluster
L to R: Casey Harris, Cole Hutcherson, Will Leonard, Aiden Bauman, Gio Navarro, Cole Mullins, Micah Arnott

Our third runner was Casey Harris with a personal record of 17:23. Aiden Baumann, Cole Hutcherson, Gio Navarro, Micah Arnott, and Will Leonard followed in a pack with times ranging from 18:42 to 18:55.

Our top finisher for the Girls was Abigail Hundley, who finished third overall with an 11-second personal record of 19:37. Sofia Van Arsdale was our next finisher with a time of 19:48, followed by Dana Jennings, Anna Youngblood, and Ryan Brophy to finish out the scoring. In the team scoring, the boys finished fourth behind Cathedral Catholic, Scripps Ranch, and University City. The girls finished third behind Cathedral and Scripps.


Sofia Van Arsdale
Sofia Van Arsdale at Western League Finals

On Nov 14th we finished the league season at the Western League Finals held at Morley Field. The JV runners finished their season the week before. At stake here were the League Championships and All-League awards. This season we didn’t have the depth needed to win the team awards, but we had three runners attain All-League status by finishing among the Top 10. In the Girls’ race, both Abigail Hundley and Sofia Van Arsdale turned in personal records over the 3.11-mile City Conference course. Abigail placed fifth with a time of 19:10 and Sofia placed ninth in 19:25. Dana Jennings was our third finisher in 19th place with a time of 20:25 followed by Jessica Ehret, Anna Youngblood, and Ryan Brophy. We finished in third place behind Cathedral Catholic and Scripps Ranch.

Landon Mullins at League Finals

In the Boys’ race, Landon Mullins clocked a personal record time of 16:31 over the same course to finish eighth. Casey Harris was our next finisher with a time of 17:16 followed by Aiden Baumann, Micah Arnott, Will Leonard, Gio Navarro, and Cole Hutcherson. Our top runner all year, Cole Mullins, sat out this race because of a quad pull.


At the  CIF Cross Country Finals, held at Morley Field on Nov. 23, we entered only five female runners. There’s a saying in the sport of Cross Country that you’re only as good as your fifth runner. That’s because it takes five finishers for a scoring team. The final score for each team is the sum of the finish places of your top five. In Cross Country, teams are ranked by their lowest scores. Seven runners are allowed in the race, but the last two finishers don’t count in the scoring. The sixth and seventh finishers serve to push back the scoring of the other teams; hence, they’re called pushers.

Abby Hundley
Abby Hundley wins Junior Western League Female runner of the year

We knew that all five runners had to finish to advance to the State Meet. Only the top three teams would advance, and we were in a position for either the second or third slots with Sage Creek being the prohibitive favorite. When one of our top runners, Sofia Van Arsdale, turned her ankle on the course, our chance of advancing as a team was lost. However, there’s another way for an individual runner to advance by finishing among the Top Five finishers of the runners who are not on one of the three teams that advanced. Abigail Hundley, with a 30-second personal record of 19:38 over the hilly 2.96-mile CIF Championship course, advanced as the fourth individual finisher. Our second finisher, freshman Dana Jennings, missed by only nine seconds with a time of 20:16. Our third and fourth runners were Jessica Ehret and Anna Youngblood. We knew that the boys’ team didn’t have a chance at advancing via being in the top three teams. However, brothers Cole Mullins and Landon Mullins had a shot as individual advancers. Both also had a good chance at finishing among the Top 10 for All-CIF honors. Landon achieved both goals with a 48-second personal record to place ninth with a time of 16:25. He’s only a sophomore so that finish bodes well for the next two years.

Abby Hundley and Landon Mullins
Abby Hundley and Landon Mullins qualify for State Meet in Fresno. Landon makes all CIF team for D-IV

Cole Mullins had been running very little since he pulled his quad while winning the Division IV varsity race at the Mt. SAC Invite October 26th. We hoped that the physical therapy and cross-training he’d been undergoing would get him ready. However, his quad wasn’t healed sufficiently to allow him to run to his potential. His time of 16:59 for 19th place was 34 seconds slower than his personal record for the course, which, considering his injury, was a gutsy run. Casey Harris finished in 20th place, also with a time 16:59. Aiden Bowman (18:28) and Will Leonard (18:48) finished out our scoring with Gio Navarro and Micah Arnott, the pushers. As a team, we placed fifth behind Crawford, Sage Creek, St. Augustine, and High Tech High. Abigail and Landon will finish out the Islander Cross Country season at the State Meet in Fresno, California, this Saturday, November 30.

Madden Hundley
Madden Hundley

An update on Madden Hundley:
Abigail’s older sister, who is running as a freshman at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, has been having a great season as Westmont’s top female runner. She placed sixth at the Golden State Athletic Conference Championship in Orange CA with a time of 19:09 over the five-kilometer course to lead Westmont to a second-place finish. This qualified her for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Championship, where she ran 20:06. Not bad for a freshman.


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George Green
Cross Country and Track Coach, Coronado High School
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