From 1957 to 1978, Track and Field News held a National Postal 2-mile competition during the Cross Country season. Schools would mail in their 5 fastest times from various meets and a "National Champion" would be named. Beginning in 1979 we had a true National Championship when the Footlocker National High School Championships were started. Hoka One One (pronounced Oh-Knee Oh-Knee) has revived this tradition with a series of 2-mile races on the track. The Southern California "Flagship" event was held last Saturday at University City High School. There were 8 boys' heats and 6 for the girls starting with the slower seeded events at 4:00 pm. The last two races, run at 8:00 pm for the girls and 8:20 pm for the boys, featured the fastest runners. We entered runners in most of the events. Starting with the fastest heats. Here are how our kids did.
Based on the entries we figured that Teresa Perez had a chance to win the girls' fast heat and to set a personal record. She did both. At the gun, she went out fast followed by two other girls to open a 10-meter lead on the rest of the pack. After a couple of laps they settled in and the following pack caught-up but they stayed in the lead. The lead changed a few times over the course of the race until lap 7 when Teresa, Renee Laurenzana from San Pasqual, and Olivia Wade from Point Loma, pulled away. At the bell lap the 3 stayed together but it was obvious that the race would be between Teresa and Laurenzana. With 200 meters to go both started their kick. With 50 meters left they were side-by-side. Then Teresa shifted into another gear and easily pulled away to win by a second with a time of 11:06.37. Wade placed 3rd with a time of 11:15.38. Teresa's best 3200-meter time set during spring track last spring was 11:14.44. Saturday's race, however, was a full 2-miles which is around 18 meters longer. Her converted time to 3200 meters is 11:03, just a second under the school record set by Renee Phillips last season. Her time, however, qualifies as a tie with Phillips for 2-miles. We entered 4 girls in the section 2 girls' race, all of whom finished in under 12 minutes. Jessica Ehret led the way, placing 3rd with a time of 11:41.71 followed by Naya Tamariz who placed 8th in 11:54.03, Abby Hundley who clocked 11:54.7 in 9th place, and Sofia Van Arsdale who finished 13th with a time of 11:59.03. Two of our varsity squad didn't run because of nagging injuries that we want to heal before the league finals on 7 November. Even with this abbreviated team, we placed 3rd overall behind University City and Cathedral Catholic.
For the boys' races we had two finishers dip under 10 minutes and one give it a scare. Ian Hurlburt won the section 2 race with a time of 9:54.28 followed by Connor Jaynes in 10:02.73. Brad Busby ran 9:53.60 in the section 1 race. Those are all great times but the most significant race for us was the Section 3 boys race which Luke Klingenberg won by nearly a minute with a time of 10:27.8. This is significant because it was Luke's first race of the season after overcoming a knee issue. He was our top runner last season and is now 100% physically fit with time before CIF and the State Meet to get faster. Obviously we placed him in the wrong section but with only 2 workouts under his belt since coming back we didn't know how fast he'd be. We were a little worried about depth after our top 4 runners and Luke's presence in the varsity line-up will make a huge difference in the big meets to come. Also finishing in the Section 3 race were Cole Mullins who placed 9th with a time of 10:36.49 and Cole Nichols who ran 10:43.58 for 19th place. The final boys' varsity runner was Chris Russell who placed 4th in the section 4 race while running 10:46.37. This was a big breakthrough for Chris and would have placed him in the top 20 had he run the Section 3 race.
Other finishers for the boys in the earlier heats were Kento Kitabayashi (11:51), Nicholas Inzunza (11:52), Will Leonard (12:49), Hayden Dunlap (13:14), and Aiden Beaumann (13:31). Early heat finishers for the girls were Regina Czerewko (14:47), Kate Ruiz (15:08), and Josie Morrissey (15:34).