Girls cross-country has strong showing at Mt. Sac: see story

The drive that propels Claremont distance runner Sydney Hwang was on display Tuesday evening during the cross-country team’s evening workout.

Rather than run with the girls team—where she would be way out in front—Hwang ran with the boys, forcing her to chase, which makes her faster.

The dedication is paying off since Hwang, a junior, recently broke Annie Boos’ school record on the hilly three-mile Mt. Sac course. Sophomore Azalea Segura-Mora also bettered Boos’ time.

Those record times were set last week during the prestigious team sweepstakes race for Division 1 and 2 schools, at the Mt. Sac Cross Country Invitational meet.

Claremont came away with a strong second place totaling 68 points, finishing behind powerhouse Great Oak, 45 points, but ahead of 14 other squads. Hwang took sixth place with a time of 17:31 followed by Segura-Mora, 10th at 17:45, Kalinda Reynolds, 15th at 18:02, Angie Gushue, 18th at 18:05, and Tess Rounds, 19th, 18:06.

The boys team also competed in the team sweepstakes race claiming seventh place, 230 points, out of 18 teams. Junior Vicente Huerta finished 23rd with a time of 15:18 to lead the Pack, followed by A.J. Reyes, 39th at 15:37, Michael Carpenter, 47th at 15:47, Adam Trafecanty, 60th at 15:58, and Daniel Scheider, 61st at 15:59.

Huerta set a personal record at Mt. Sac, which was also the sixth fastest in school history and faster than California state champion Owen Bishop ran last year.

Hwang said her race strategy was to keep the leaders in sight and power up the hills, but she also praised her teammates.

“What made the race special is all five girls had a great race and you need all five for the team to do well,” she said.

Each team fields seven runners, but only the top five times score.

“I have so many good things to say about this team,” said Coach Bill Reeves, “The gap was only 35 seconds from Sydney to Tess—that’s amazing.”

He said the girls posted the fastest time ever for a San Gabriel Valley team on the Mt. Sac course, while beating all other Division 2 teams with a total team time under 90 minutes. The girls racked up five of the six fastest times for Claremont runners at Mt Sac.

Coach Reeves pointed out Great Oak beat Claremont by 30 points at the Clovis Invitational earlier in the month, but the girls had narrowed the gap to just 23 points at Mt. Sac.

Because of the heat this week, the team could not put in as many miles, so Coach Reeves had them work on intervals.

“You have to pick up the time because we are lowering the miles,” he told his team adding, “It’s coming down to the end so stay sharp.”

Claremont is expected to do well in the Palomares League Finals on October 28 at Legg Lake in Whittier. The Pack won both of the previous Palomares League meets, although the boys just squeaked by Ayala in the first one.

It will likely be a long road ahead for the defending state champion Wolfpack runners including a chance to repeat their title later this fall.

—Steven Felschundneff


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