On a cool, windy Saturday morning at Pierce College, the City Section cross-country championships began with the strangest of scenes. Kellie Mena, a 14-year-old freshman at Maywood Center for Enriched Studies, was so far ahead of her competition in the Division IV girls’ race that coming down the final hill, she got lost. She reversed course and started walking back up the hill. She had never run the three-mile course before.
“I didn’t know which way to go,” she said.
Not until she heard her 30-year-old brother screaming to go the opposite way did she go back down the hill for the final part of the race. It didn’t prevent her from winning by more than 30 seconds in 21 minutes, 29.3 seconds. It qualifies her for next Saturday’s state championships at Woodward Park in Fresno.
Junior Max Fields of Palisades won the Division I boys’ race for the second straight year, winning in 15:08.9. Palisades took the team title. Meztli Velazquez of Granada Hills led the Highlanders to the girls’ team title, winning in 18:16.
At the Southern Section finals, it was business as usual for Newbury Park’s Young brothers, Leo and Lex. Lex won the Division 2 race at Mt. San Antonio College in 14:38.1. Leo was second in 14:38.2 and teammate Aaron Sahlman took third in 14:43.8. Newbury Park won the boys’ title.
In girls’ Division 2, Newbury Park also won the team title and Ventura sophomore Sadie Engelhardt had the day’s fastest time of 17:12.8.
Temecula Great Oak won the Division 1 girls’ team title with Kelli Gaffney winning the individual race in 17:29.1. Santa Monica sophomore Phoebe Benun was second in 17:34.6. San Clemente won the Division 1 boys’ title. Matthew Donis of Palmdale Highland took the individual title in 14:35.
Football finals set: The City Section finalized its times for next weekend’s football championships.
On Friday at Lake Balboa Birmingham, Crenshaw will face Wilson in the 3 p.m. Division III championship game, followed by Panorama playing Granada Hills Kennedy in the 7 p.m. Division II final. On Saturday at L.A. Valley College, Granada Hills will face Palisades in the 3 p.m. Division I final, followed by Garfield taking on Birmingham in the 7 p.m. Open Division final.
Tickets are already on sale for Friday night’s Southern Section Division 1 final matching Santa Ana Mater Dei (12-0) against Bellflower St. John Bosco (11-1) in a 7:30 p.m. game at the Rose Bowl.
Garfield makes move: Garfield always celebrates when it beats rival Roosevelt, but this season the Bulldogs are celebrating even more after advancing to the City Open Division finals with a 38-20 win over Eagle Rock.
Running back Damian Cornejo rushed for 206 yards and two touchdowns while quarterback Damian Cabrera passed 203 and one touchdown.