Cross Country: Success in Sacramento


Cross Country: Success in Sacramento – Caption: Will Stefanou and Jake Alt working hard in Saturday’s race; photo credits Capital Cross Challenge.

Written by Caroline Coen, Journalist

Pacific Grove Cross Country sent fourteen runners to Sacramento for the Capital Cross Challenge last Saturday, September 29th. Runners met in front of Pacific Grove High School Saturday morning at the very early time of 3am to load the cars for the three hour drive to Sacramento. After arriving, the Breakers warmed up, becoming familiar with the course. The distance measured exactly five thousand kilometers (3.1 miles), and the race took place on the Arcade Creek Golf Course. The course was mostly flat, although there were some low-incline rolling hills.

The eight Pacific Grove boys gathered on the starting line for their 8am race, along with the thirty-eight other teams. Pacific Grove’s boys performed extraordinarily well. Junior Will Stefanou crossed the

The Pacific Grove Boys’ Team is acknowledged for their first place victory during the award ceremony.

finish line first for Pacific Grove, clocking 16:15 and taking third place out of the 313 total runners. Senior Jake Alt also placed in the top ten, running the 5K in 16:38 and taking ninth place overall. Freshman Luke Stefanou also broke seventeen minutes, finishing third for Pacific Grove and seventeenth overall with a time of 16:55. He also ran the fastest freshman 5K in Pacific Grove High School history. The final contributors to Pacific Grove’s score were juniors Caleb Torres and Leo Lauritzen, with Torres finishing at 17:21 and Lauritzen finishing at 17:29. Juniors Ray Birkett (17:46) and Robertson Rice (17:55) along with freshman Kieler Troy (19:16) also finished for Pacific Grove, thwarting the runners of other teams by raising their scores. Out of the thirty-nine teams from all over northern California, Pacific Grove’s boys team impressively took home the win with a total of 112 points, beating second place Arroyo Grande (119 points) by the slim margin of 7 points.

A little before the 8:25 am start, Pacific Grove’s six girls lined up for their race. The race consisted of twenty-seven teams and 230 girls. Although the girls’ team did not win, each girl ran her PR (personal

Jake Alt (9th overall) and Will Stefanou (3rd overall) receive their Top 10 Individual Finisher T-Shirts during the awards ceremony.

record). Sophomore Caroline Coen finished first for Pacific Grove in twenty fourth place overall with a time of 20:57. Senior Taylor Biondi and junior Alana Henden also completed the 5K in under twenty-three and a half minutes with times of 23:06 (Biondi) and 23:28 (Henden). Junior Noor Benny ran a PR by over three minutes, crossing the finish line in 24:04. Freshman Madalena Taurke finished in 25:10 and sophomore Selma Ballerini clocked 26:38. Pacific Grove took seventeenth out of twenty-seven teams with a score of 441 points.

Overall, Pacific Grove did very well at the Sacramento Capital Cross Challenge. The team will compete again on Thursday, October 4th in Gilroy and Saturday October 6th at the Pacific Grove Rotary Invitational.