Cross Country makes progress at Golden West Invite

Freshman+Michael+Moody+cruises+ahead+of+the+competition+at+the+Golden+West+Invite+on+Friday%2C+Sept.+25.+Photo+credit%3A+Roy+Garza

Freshman Michael Moody cruises ahead of the competition at the Golden West Invite on Friday, Sept. 25. Photo credit: Roy Garza

It was a day of ups and downs for the Warriors Friday morning, with some running their personal bests and others struggling with the conditions at the Golden West Invitational in Huntington Beach.

El Camino tied for eighth out of 16 teams in the men’s race, while the women were seventh out of 13 teams in another strong field, according to results from directathletics.com.

“There’s still some teams we should be beating right now, but we’re getting there,” freshman David Hodges said, who finished second for EC.

Freshman Solomon Kanehailua was the Warriors’ top runner, placing 20th overall with a 22:10 time, followed by freshmen Hodges (35th; 22:30), Michael Moody (58th; 23:04), Jacob Helfgott (63rd; 23:12), and Chance Weston (81st; 23:35), according to results from directathletics.com.

Coach Dean Lofgren knows there are still things the team needs to work on.

“Overall, our time gap from first to fifth is way too big, and they know that,” Lofgren said.

While not the best race, Hodges noted an improvement from the week before despite not feeling 100 percent, attributing the heat to his discomfort.

“I didn’t prepare properly, I was really dehydrated and halfway through the race I started to fall apart,” Hodges added.

Meanwhile, the women had two strong performances at the top despite not finishing in the top five as a team.

Sophomore Hannah Griffie has emerged as EC’s top runner, placing first for the Warriors in each of the three meets this season.

According to results from directathletics.com, Griffie finished 28th overall with a 21:03 time, and was followed closely by sophomore Xiomara Perkins (40th; 21:22), who set her own personal record.

“I PRed (personal record), so it was really fun, I feel like next time I can get into the 20’s,” said Perkins, who is in her first year running cross country.

Freshmen Jennifer Villarreal (59th; 22:48), Jacquelin Rodriguez (61st; 22:54), and sophomore Jackie Rodriguez (79th; 24:20), rounded out the top five for EC, according to results from directathletics.com.

“I think that we did great. For the girls’ side, I feel like if we were a little bit closer together it would’ve been better, but we had some girls who were injured contribute,” Perkins said.

Sophomore Jackie Rodriguez was one of those who had to step up, and in her second race coming back from injury took a spot in the top five as sophomore Judith Torres dropped back after suffering from a “side stitch,” according to Lofgren.

“They’re capable of running more together on any given day,” Lofgren added.

As for the runners, Perkins and Hodges were both “confident” about their team’s chances for state, and their hope is that the team can improve and advance that far.

Up next for the Warriors is the Irvine “Brubaker” Invite on Oct. 9th, at Irvine Regional Park.

Update: Years were added to the runners, comments from Coach Lofgren were added.