Mt. SAC - For the third consecutive year, inclement weather forced a CIF-ss race onto the rain course. While a distinct disappointment for the guys, the girls had no such issue as they ate up the flat hard-surface course. While no one had any illusions about the team making State this year (the first 7 teams qualify), the team wanted to finish as high as possible and the alternate course helped their cause as they edged out Templeton and Oaks Christian for 9th place.
This group is San Marino’s most powerful girls team in 20 years. While junior Alissa Barraza is the team’s elite athlete, there are two or three other girls on this team that could make State in the future. Put them together and you have a team that could make State next year. Alissa was expected to make State as an individual and she did. For the second consecutive year. Perhaps the only surprise on Saturday was sophomore Sarah Linton, who evidently prefers the rain course to the mountain course. Sarah left the rest of her team in the dust as she set her sights on making a jump to the next level.
Junior Veronica Mejia played a key role in both CIF races, running the team’s second fastest race last week and scoring in the third position this week. Given the issue that Veronica deals with every time she races, these are amazing performances.
Twenty seconds in back of Veronica was freshman teammate Carlin Koch, who ran most of the race in tandem with her freshman classmate Olivia Harrigian. Two freshman in the CIF Finals and scoring for the team (first 5 runners count). Carlin has improved at least as much as anyone else on the team this year - male or female. Last week, on the tough mountain course, Carlin was within 10 seconds of being the team’s #2 athlete. That performance represented a huge drop in time from her time at the Mt. SAC Invitational (which, by the way, was a 6th place finish in the race out of 168 girls).
The team included one senior - Marina Flores - running her final race for Coach Mundo. One of the hardest workers on the team, Marina has been a member of each of the recent girls CIF teams. Marina ran most of the way with sophomore Sharmayne Siu.
The girls have now made the Finals two consecutive years. Their 9th place finish this year was a significant improvement over their 14th place finish in 2011. Do you sense the momentum?