Randy Angel

Mira Costa to host first Bay League cross country meet

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Brooke Inouye (left) and Olivia Hacohen will lead Mira Costa’s girl cross country team when the Mustangs host the first Bay League meet Thursday. Photo by Ray Vidal

By Randy Angel

Following quality cross country invitational meets, the top Bay League teams will compete in the first league meet of the season, featuring a highly-competitive girls race.

Mira Costa will host the meet Thursday beginning at 2 p.m. It has moved the location from Polliwog Park to the high school campus to showcase its new field.

The girls varsity competition will include three CIF-Southern Section top-ten teams. In Division 1, Mira Costa is ranked No. 3 and Redondo No. 9 while Palos Verdes holds the No. 1 spot in Division 3.

Palos Verdes’ Grace Catena holds the best time among local runnesr this season and is ranked 27th in state in the 3-mile (16:55). She is coming off a victory at the Palos Verdes Invitational where teammates Samantha Steman (4th) and Emme Schaefer (8th) also placed in the top 10.

“The first Bay League meet is really just a stepping stone towards Bay League finals for the varsity teams,” Palos Verdes head coach Brian Shapiro said. “But for the younger runners it’s a chance to gain more race experience. Any varsity team with aspirations of a Bay League Championship needs to finish in the top three at this meet. Within the race, you might see teams working on team strategy and racing tactics.”

Mira Costa is led by Brooke Inouye and Olivia Hacohen, who helped the Mustangs finish 8th at the Desert Twilight XC Festival in Casa Grande, Ariz. on September 29.

Both girls set personal records at the meet with Inouye (18:28) placing 24th and Hacohen (18:34) 28th among the 195 finishers.

Redondo’s girls team placed 8th in the Danner Championships race at the Portland XC Invite.and were led by Lila Copeland (17th, 18:37) and Molly Ann Hastings (38th, 19:19).

On the boys side, Mira Costa’s Xavier Court is considered the favorite after setting a personal record of 15:01 while finishing 7th in a field of 232 at the Desert Twilight 5,000-meter race.leading the Mustangs to 5th place in the Sweepstakes race.

Court is ranked 10th in the state for the 3-mile race (14:26) and 8th for 5,000 meters (15:10).

Redondo’s boys are led by Benjamin Tait whose time of 16:08 helped the Sea Hawks place 2nd in the Division 1 race in Portland.

Palos Verdes is ranked No. 2 in CIF-SS Division 3 and is led by Ian Irish who has a personal-best time of 14:55 in the 3-mile event.

“Xavier Court and Grace Catena have posted the most impressive individual stats of the season so far, but at this meet you might see them trying to work together with teammates,” Shapiro added. “Many of the stronger runners are in the midst of heavy training blocks and this is a time of year with a lot of illness on campuses, so you never know what you might see. All of the schools have some great individuals, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see any of them up in the front of the race.”

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