Playoff Recap: Cross Country finishes in top three, advances to CIF finals

Abby Sourwine

In the name of running, dozens of Dragons sacrificed hours of their Veteran’s Day long weekend – treasured by students and teachers alike – spending the night of Nov. 10th and morning of Nov. 11th in Riverside, CA. There, at the Riverside City Cross Country Course, they competed in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Southern Section “Prelims.” Joined by cross country teams from all divisions all over the southern section, the Foothill team finished in the top eight places of their heats, earning them a position at the CIF Finals on the 18th.

In CIF, Blythe Blakeman ‘19 noted, “everything moves faster.” So, of course, the runners have to work harder to keep up.

On the girls’ varsity side, Lauren Kearney ‘19 did the job. She finished first for Foothill, taking 22nd place with 19:06.9. Teammate Elizabeth Egbert ‘18 followed ten seconds behind and earned 29th place with 19:17.2. Egbert just edged out Gretchen Scherrei ‘20 (19:19.8), who took 30th.

Mikayla Erlenborn ‘20 took 45th (19:37.3), Hannah Dearman ‘21 48th (19:41.9), Hana Vrablik ‘19 55th (19:47.7) and Addison Munroe ‘20 58th (19:49.4). Together, the team earned third place in their heat with 164 total points.

Blakeman, who didn’t race, noted the concept of “saving yourself” in the context of CIF. The top three runners of each team don’t race in prelims so they can stay rested and prepared for finals. In this way, it’s up to a “team of almost entirely rookies” to secure an advancing position.

The boys’ team had 109 total points and earned second place in their heat. For Foothill, Chris Kuchta ‘18 led the way with Henry Pick ‘19. Kuchta beat Pick by less than a second, finishing in eighth place (15:49.0). Pick finished ninth with 15:49.9.

Next to cross the line was Trey Casswell ‘18. He took 16th (16:09.0) and was followed by Clayton Brossia (16:12.2) and Jake Turville ‘18 (17:02.9).

The final two places for Foothill were also a close call. Jason Messner ‘19 took 62nd place with 17:06.9, just over a second faster than Finn Blackler ‘21, who finished 63rd with 17:08.3.

Each team will move on to the CIF Finals, which determine who qualifies for the state race. This strong performance combined with years of CIF and state experience in the program propels the team into a promising CIF finish. Blakeman looks forward to this high intensity time, where you can “put everything on the line.”

What do you think?