Castilleja finished 10th in the CIF state cross country Division V race at Woodward Park in Fresno on Saturday, the highest finish among the three local teams who qualified for the meet. Menlo School was 18th in Division IV girls and Eastside College Prep placed 14th in Division V boys.
Menlo's Robert Miranda placed third in the boys Division IV race, finishing in 15:53.4, JSerra's Anthony Grover won it in 15:31.5. Knights' teammate Kamran Murray was 17th.
In Division I, El Camino Real's Justin Hazell won the race in 15:03.8. Bellarmine's Meika Beaudoin-Rosseau, heading to Stanford in the fall was fifth in 15:16.8. Palo Alto's Sam Craig placed 41st in 16:00.8 while teammate Henry Saul, who was 16th (4:52.2) after the first mile, did not finish. Gunn's Justin Chiao raced 17:30.8 in the Division II race.
The Eastside College Prep boys finished ahead of 10 teams in Division V, led by Alexis Nunez 17:12.9; Carlos anye Nunez 17:18.0; Max Velaquez 17:46.3; Erick Hernandez 17:52.0; Joshua Mendez 18:02.8; Jose Munoz 18:09.9; and Cristopher Mansilla 18:10.8.
Gunn's Joyce Shea, 16th in the girls Division II race, recorded the fastest time of any local runner with an 18:52.9.
In Division IV, Sacred Heart Prep's Luci Lambert was 23rd in 19:05.9 and The King's Academy Anna Mokkpati was 27th in 19:09.3.
Menlo's runners included Charlotte Tomkinson 19:30.5; Kyra Pretre 20:46.6; Marisa Castagna 4:47.9; Gabby Kogler 21:34.7; Katie Aufricht 21:59.0; Amanda Foster 22:31.9; and Cameron Boom 22:43.2.
"It was a big honor to advance to state as a team for the second year in a row," Tomkinson said. "This team is incredible; we’re all very good friends and having people to share both success and defeat with makes this sport so much better. Cross country is a painful sport, and although the workouts aren’t always enjoyable, we’re constantly cracking jokes and cheering each other on. It was so great to be able to make the trip and race together, because the team dynamic is such a big part of what makes this so fun, and nothing would be possible without each person’s contributions. I love this team."
"Our plan was to begin their peak at league and really peak at CCS which they did, and state this year is bonus for us, so I was extremely happy with these eight girls who have battled in back-to-back races," Menlo coach Jorge Chen said.
In Division V, Kehillah Jewish's Elyse Folkman placed 86th, out of 200 finishers, with a time of 20:59.6.
Castilleja runners included Tevah Gevelber 19:21.6; Lauren Traum 19:54.3; Angie Wang 20:57.3; Lia Spencer 22:20.5; Riona Yoshida 22:30.6; Caroline Hallee 23:57.7; 193, and Ananya Ramkumar 26:06.5.
Miranda was sick the night before the 3-mile race and still managed a top-3 finish.
He stuck to his strategy of coming out fast to stay with the leaders for as long as his body would let him.
Miranda not only was first at the 1.05-mile mark in an astounding 4:45.7, he also led at the 2-mile mark.
"I was pretty sick the night before the race but I just tried not think about it," Miranda said. "I knew I was in good shape going into the race so I just tried to focus on what I knew I could do, not how I was feeling during the day. I wish I could have run when I was healthy, but you can’t chose what day the race is and sometimes that’s just how it goes."
Two runners eventually took over in the final mile. Grover was followed by Collin Ullrich of Liberty Ranch.
"I tried to make the pace fast from the beginning to make the race more about guts than about tactics or who had the best finish at the end," Miranda said. "Given how I was feeling, I thought that would give me the best chance to win, and at my last year at state I just wanted to take my chances."
Miranda missed last season's race due to injury, but made sure he gave it his all in his final state meet.
"I didn’t have it in me during the last mile," said Miranda, "but still to finish third and set the tone of the race while still being sick is a great accomplishment, and I’m really proud of how I ran, and very thankful to everyone who has supported me throughout my four years of Menlo cross country - from my coaches, to my parents and even my friends and teachers."
Murray made a statement of his own placing 17th overall in 16:22.7 and was the fastest freshman in the state across all divisions. The next freshman crossed the finish in was Bo Olsen of Buchanan in 16:34.2.
"(Murray) is such a smart runner and he improved so much throughout the season," Miranda said. "He will do great things and I’m just proud that I could be a leader to him on this team."