At the CIF Cross Country Championships held Saturday at Morley Field, the Coronado girls’ cross country team advanced to the state meet on November 25 in Fresno. That’s the Cliff Notes version of last Saturday’s adventure.
If you’ve been following the girls’ team, you know they were one of five teams competing for three slots in our division to get to state. The rest of the teams in the division were not strong enough to contend.
The top team in our division (D4) was La Jolla, with one of the country’s best high school female runners, Chiara Dailey. Dailey, just a sophomore, was a Footlocker All-American last season and posted the best girls’ time of the day by over 80 seconds. In our race, La Jolla dominated. The next two finishers were seniors, followed by a sophomore, then another sophomore who finished ninth to close out the scoring with 18 points. In Cross Country, a team’s score is the sum of its first five finishers. There are seven runners on a team, with the sixth and seventh called pushers, because they can push back the score of other teams in the race by finishing in front of their fifth runner.
The second-place finisher was Classical Academy, with 73 points. Classical Academy’s top five runners finished in places 6, 16, 20, 25, and 26. Three of Classical Academy’s finishers were seniors. That left the final state meet slot up for grabs between Coronado, Valley Center, and Imperial.
We have a young team with our top scorer, sophomore Morgan Maske, followed by three freshmen, Carly DeVore, Gwynne Letcher, and Maesan Everitt. Our fifth finisher was Junior Jaya Jost, with freshman Nadia Roos and senior Natalia Amkie the pushers. The race was very close through the first four finishers, with Maske, DeVore, and Letcher performing better than expected by finishing seventh, twelfth, and fourteenth, respectively. The score through the top four finishers was a tie, with each team scoring 64 points. The next finisher from either team would break the tie. That honor went to Jost, who finished one place behind Maske in 32nd to round out our scoring with 96 points. Valley Center’s fifth finisher placed 51st for a total of 112 points. If either of our pushers were our fifth finisher, we still would have advanced as they finished 35th and 38th. Imperial had a better pack than Valley Center, but they had no frontrunners to keep their score low. Still, they finished only one point back with 113. Our top three finish places put Maske on the All-CIF D4 team, with DeVore and Letcher on the All-CIF D4 second team. Prospects look pretty good for the future, as our scoring team will all be back next season. La Jolla will lose two seniors but still be strong, and Classical Academy will lose three of their top five to graduation.
Our top boy finisher at the finals was sophomore Nathan Ayan, who clocked 17:56 over the hilly 2.96-mile CIF course to place 31st. Our second finisher was junior Jack Letcher, with a time of 18:21. This was a 2:20 improvement over his 2022 time on the same course. Third for us was senior Rafael Roos, who just had a bad day. He’d been our top finisher all season but may have gone out too fast this time. It happens. Freshman Xavier Marsh was our fourth finisher at 19:38, followed by freshman Tyler Horton, junior Austin Litteral, and senior Jack Shumaker.