Redondo girls run to elusive Bay League title

Redondo’s Cara Ulizio, Lyndsey Mull and Rachel Bush fight for position against eventual champion Rebecca Mehra of Palos Verdes. Photo by Ray Vidal

Redondo’s girls cross country team is running on all cylinders heading into the postseason and, no matter the outcome, the team has already achieved its main objective of winning a Bay League championship.

After a close finish to rival Mira Costa in the first Bay League meet, Redondo regained its stride to capture the second league race with a close victory over Palos Verdes showing the league it should remain the front runner in the highly-competitive Bay League race.

The Sea Hawks left no doubt Wednesday when Coach Bob Leetch’s squad ran away with the league title. Redondo’s four-runner pack finished directly behind individual winner Rebecca Mehra of Palos Verdes. Mehra completed the 2.9-mile course at Entradero Park in Torrance with a time of 17 minutes, 20 seconds.

Cara Ulizio (2nd, 17:30), Rachel Bush (3rd, 17:32), Lyndsey Mull (4th, 17:34), Kayla Ferron (5th, 17:40) and Anique Villegas (12th, 18:37) led Redondo to a 26-point finish, ahead of Palos Verdes (39), Mira Costa (64), West (114) and Peninsula (117).

Also running for the Sea Hawks were Alexis Thibodeaux (14th, 18:37) and Ruth Barry (33rd, 21:45).

Mira Costa’s girls were led by top-ten finishers Kelli Sugimoto (6th, 17:48) and Jenna Tong (7th, 17:59). Other contributors included Sarah Locke-Henderson (15th, 18:50), Abby Hong (16th, 18:50), Kellie Jeong (20th, 19:20), Emma Lautanen (22nd, 19:31) and Vivien Cherrette (26th, 20:00).

Kelli Sugimoto led Mira Costa’s girls team with a 6th-place finish. Photo by Ray Vidal

Redondo entered the final league meet ranked No. 3 in the CIF Southern Section Division 2 poll behind Semi Valley and Saugus. Mira Costa is ranked No. 8 while Palos Verdes and West hold the No. 1 and No. 7 spots, respectively, in Division 3.

Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut will host the boys and girls prelims and finals of the CIF Southern Section-Ford Cross Country Championships, presented by Farmers. Other local girls team entering Saturday’s prelim races include Bishop Montgomery (No. 5) and El Segundo (No. 11) in Division 4 and Chadwick (No. 2) in Division 5.

The finals are scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 19 followed by the State Championships to be held at Woodward Park in Fresno on Saturday, Nov. 26.

In boys competition, Palos Verdes (No. 1, Div. 3) easily outran the competition for its Bay League crown, recording 25 points to defeat Peninsula (55), Redondo (63), Mira Costa (73) and West (127).

Jonah Diaz captured the individual title with a 15:06 mark. Diaz is the state’s top-ranked cross country runner in Division 3.

Redondo was led by top-ten finishers Evan Malone-White (7th, 15:39), William Tait (8th, 15:42) and Tyler Caracoza (9th, 15:47). Also running for the Sea Hawks were Garrett Klatte (19th, 16:02), Dustin Herold (20th, 16:03), Alex Guzman (24th, 16:24) and Andrew Lopez (29th, 16:38).

The Sea Hawks are ranked No. 5 in Division 2 followed by Peninsula (No. 8) and Mira Costa (No. 10). West joins Palos Verdes in Division 3 competition and is ranked No. 7. Chadwick is ranked No. 5 in Division 5.

Leading Mira Costa’s squad were Adam Perez (6th, 15:33) and Zach Adler (10th, 15:50) while Sammy Nunan (17th, 15:59), Travis Taylor (18th, 16:02), Dillon Shambaugh (22nd, 16:17), Justin MacDonald (23rd, 16:20) and Pablo Diaz (31st, 16:39) helped the Mustang’s cause.

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