Warriors’ cross-country opens season at Palomar Invite


Freshman David Hodges leads the pack for El Camino at the Palomar Invite. Photo credit: Roy Garza

The El Camino men’s and women’s cross country teams each started its seasons Friday at the Palomar Invite in Oceanside, where the women placed third and the men finished sixth last Friday.

The women came in third out of nine teams (65 points), behind Santa Ana on a tiebreaker (65 points), and Orange Coast (48 points).

The Warriors were led by sophomore Hannah Griffie, who finished 11th overall with a time of 21:50.

“It was hard, it was hot. It wasn’t my best time but I was happy with it overall,” Griffie said. “I feel like we did good as a team, better than last year.”

EC had a tight pack, with all five scoring runners placing in the top 20 overall.

Griffie was followed by Xiomara Perkins (12th; 22:00), Jennifer Villarreal (13th; 22:25), Judith Torres (14th; 22:31), and Jaquelin Rodriguez (16th; 22:44) to round out the top five.

“I think that this is a good prequel to what’s to come, because we’ve never finished so close to each other so I think we’re going to have a good season,” Griffie said.

Coach Dean Lofgren was impressed with the performance from the women.

“The women had been running very close together, and they did today and that was their main strength,” Lofgren said. “Third in that field was quite good, the two teams ahead of us are two of the highest ranked in southern California and in the state.”

Lofgren’s team came into the race ranked 11th and 14th for the men’s and women’s divisions, respectively, according to cccaasports.com.

EC ran a young team on the men’s side Friday, with all five runners who scored points for the Warriors being freshman.

“The guys are quite inexperienced, all of them are running their first 4-mile race,” Coach Lofgren said.

David Hodges led the way for EC, placing 15th overall with a 22:31 time, followed by Solomon Kanehailua (16th; 22:37), Chance Weston (35th; 23:24), Michael Moody (38th; 23:31), and Jacob Helfgott (42nd; 23:42) to complete the top five.

“I felt alright, it’s a good starting point to see where i’m at and to see where our team is at,” freshman Kanehailua said.

The Warriors had five women and two men earn medals on Friday, where the top ten freshman and sophomores won medals in each race.

Coach Lofgren was encouraged by the team’s start, and believes the team will get better as time goes on.

“There’s a lot of room for us, for improvement, and we will, once they get some experience,” Lofgren said.

The Warriors will compete again next Friday, Sept. 18 at the Southern California Preview Invitational in Mission Bay, San Diego.