Benefield: Winners at crowded cross country meet set new Spring Lake personal records
Personal records were the theme of the day Wednesday at the first big contest between cross country teams in the North Bay League-Oak Division.
Santa Rosa High junior Andrew McKamey, fresh off of his dominant win on the hilly course of Castro Valley’s Peter Brewer Invitational Saturday, went and crushed his previous best of 16:16 on Spring Lake Regional Park’s 3.05-mile course, clocking in at 15:32. Second-place finisher Patrick Phillip of Maria Carrillo came in at 15:54.
“I got a really big PR, which I think I’m most happy about,” McKamey said. “I have been wanting to break 16 on this course for a while.”
One race later, Montgomery High’s Mariah Briceno did the same. The senior led the race from the gun and cracked the 19-minute barrier, crossing the line in 18:55 for the win. Second-place finisher Nicole Morris from Maria Carrillo finished in 19:08.
“I went out at fast pace,” she said. “The whole time in my head I was like, ‘Somebody’s behind me, I can’t slow down, I gotta keep going.’”
Turns out, she was totally alone at the front the whole race.
It was a crowded meet that wasn’t originally meant to be.
Maria Carrillo was set to host both Santa Rosa and Montgomery last week, but PG&E’s power shut-offs forced the postponement of the so-called tri meet. It was decided that instead of three teams, all six Oak Division teams would square off at once Wednesday so that no school would feel behind on its head-to-head matchups.
The racing part was straightforward. The scoring? Not so much. It was multiple meets in one: Maria Carrillo competed against Montgomery and Santa Rosa, but their times were also put head-to-head with Piner. Montgomery faced the Panthers and the Pumas in the tri meet, but also went up against Ukiah in separate scoring. Santa Rosa had the tri meet but also a ?head-to-head contest with Healdsburg.
So each team came away with not one result but two. Got it?
In team scoring, Maria Carrillo was the big winner of the day, which was likely of little surprise to run watchers. On the varsity boys side, the Pumas won the tri meet while Santa Rosa came in second, Montgomery third. The Pumas also bested Piner in their head-to-head matchup. After McKamey, the Pumas locked down second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth places: Patrick Phillip (15:54), Noe Vieyra (15:55), Simon Peterson (15:58), Colton Swinth (16:02) and Rory Smail (16:02). Santa Rosa’s Andrew Engel (16:09) took seventh, Healdsburg’s Jack Vanden Heuvel (16:17) was eighth, Santa Rosa’s Steven Grams (16:29) was ninth and Piner’s Jared Hayes (16:36) was 10th.
Santa Rosa’s boys beat Healdsburg and Ukiah’s boys edged Montgomery. Santa Rosa beat Healdsburg, which did not field a complete team, and Montgomery beat Ukiah.
The Pumas girls won the tri meet, ahead of second-place team Santa Rosa and third-place Piner. They also beat the Piner girls in the head-to-head contest.
The top 10 times on the day for the girls side was a sea of green and gold, with eight of the 10 wearing Pumas singlets: Nicole Morris (19:08) in second, Ashley Busienei (19:09) in third, Rebekah Taylor (19:13) in fourth, Avery Hedden (19:43) in sixth, Payton McGarva (19:44) in seventh, Jasmin Hirth (19:45) in eighth, Vivien Mattice (20:04) ?in ninth and Avery Damron (20:09) in 10th. Aside from winner Briceno, only sophomore Olivia House (19:22), who races for Santa Rosa after transferring from Carrillo, was not racing for the Pumas. She finished fifth.
It may have been a knot of times and scores for officials to untangle Wednesday evening, but for the spectator, it was a sea of big names and a sneak peek into what the NBL Finals may look like on Nov. 8 when the North Bay League finals take place on the same course.
“I think we are going to know what to expect from everyone,” Piner coach Luis Rosales said. “We ran against Ukiah and Healdsburg, so we knew what to expect. Santa Rosa, I think it’s the first time we’ve seen them and really competed against them. Really, same thing against Montgomery. Carrillo, I watched then on Saturday. They looked like they were very, very controlled.”
Indeed. Pumas coach Greg Fogg said his instructions on the day were for his top-tier athletes to pace slower Pumas, rather than go for individual times or wins.
“I was shaking them off like, ‘No, you’re good, stay,’” he said. “And then some of the guys went and did a little bit of workout after they were done just to get a good day in and finish up a good week.”
Same thing on the girls side, he said.
“I told them to stay back and pace our girls and I saw them the whole way talking, turning around saying, ‘Come on, you’ve got this,’” he said.