Senior Michael Gimbel edged out 4 other runners to win the Division 4 varsity race in 16:27 at the Mt. SAC Invitational on Friday, thereby earning one of the bells awarded to each race’s winner. Peaky and Robbie ran most of the race together but Peaky sprinted ahead at the finish to clock in at 16:45 in 15th place while Robbie was 3 places behind at 16:56. The top 3 were all under 17 minutes on one of the toughest courses in California. As big as those performances were, the most significant may have been freshman Drew Jack’s 17:35 that was good for 44th place. But the problem all season has been the lack of a 5th man. Another freshman, Yuvan Wickramasinghe, sees himself as that guy. Yuvan used a strong finish to take 81st place (out of 147 runners) in a time of 18:50. Yet another freshman, Kenny Lee, ran 18:49 in the freshman race.
So, lets go through the big race. Michael, Robbie and Peaky ran together until they hit the first set of inclines known as The Switchbacks. At that point, the boys were running in about 15th to 20th place. Gimbel accelerated up the long Switchbacks and gradually improved his position. By the time he hit Poop-Out (the steepest grade on the course), he was right behind the leaders. Peaky and Robbie followed about 100 yards behind. Less than a minute later, Drew was using Poop-Out to pass another runner.
Coming off Reservoir, it was hard to tell that Michael was in the lead since his race had overtaken runners from the previous race. Peaky and Robbie rounded the curve from Reservoir to the airstrip together but Peaky, with his patented sprint to the finish, accelerated and began passing other runners on the airstrip. Robbie, now recovered from his gift of blood two weeks before, followed. Drew Jack then appeared coming down Reservoir in the top third of the field of a varsity race at Mt. SAC. An incredible performance by a freshman.
These performances now set up what could be a much closer race against Temple City than had been indicated by the first two league meet performances. The League Finals match-up against Temple City in two weeks will be a legitimate fight for CIF. (see CIF preview)