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Warriors fourth among league girls cross country teams

Four all-league runners including first team for Petersen

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

Fallbrook High School's girls cross country team finished fourth at the Valley League championship meet Nov. 4 at Guajome Park and fourth in the final league standings while Fallbrook senior Abby Petersen finished sixth among individual runners for a berth on the all-league first team and senior Avery Lynas, junior Cynthia Mills, and freshman Mia Cyr earned Valley League second-team recognition.

"It went great. All of our girls got a PR (personal record), so every single one of them improved," said Fallbrook coach Ciera Holland. "It's really good to see that."

The formula for the Valley League team cross country league championship gives 25% for positions at each of the two league cluster meets and the other 50% for the positions at the league championship meet. Fallbrook was third and Valley Center placed fourth at the Sept. 29 cluster meet at Guajome Park while Valley Center took third and Fallbrook was fourth Oct. 13 at Kit Carson Park.

Cross country team scores add the positions of a school's first five finishers; the sixth and seventh finishers from each team are not scored but can add points to opponents' totals.

Mission Hills and San Pasqual each had 53 points at the league championship meet with Mission Hills being given first on the tiebreaker of the faster sixth runner. The two teams had also tied at the second league cluster meet and Mission Hills also won that tiebreaker. Mission Hills defeated San Pasqual by four points in the first league cluster, giving the Grizzlies the league championship and the Golden Eagles second place in the final league standings.

Valley Center scored 71 points at the league championship meet, securing third place for the Jaguars. Fallbrook's fourth-place total at the league meet was 84 points. Escondido and Ramona had alternated fifth and sixth place at the league cluster meets; Escondido had the fifth-place score of 108 points at the league final while Ramona accumulated 142 points.

Individual league champions are determined solely on the results of the league championship meet race, and Valley Center sophomore Emily Giron earned that championship with a time of 19:26.9 on the 5,000-meter (3.1-mile) course. Petersen's sixth-place time was 20:27.0; San Pasqual junior Kali Striegler was fifth at 20:24.6 and Mission Hills senior Isabella Cooper had the seventh-place time of 20:30.5.

"She did great," Holland said of Petersen. "She's so dedicated, really hard-working."

Last year, the league championship meet was held on a 3.05-mile course at Kit Carson Park. Petersen finished fourth and had a time of 20:45.7.

This year's first league cluster meet at Guajome Park utilized a 3.05-mile course. Petersen had a time of 20:32.82 for fourth place. She was ill Oct. 13 and did not run in that league cluster.

"Abby got sick in the middle of the season, and she's recovering well," Holland said.

Petersen had not fully recovered by the league championship meet. "It was just kind of a test race to see how I would do," she said. "I was just proud that I finished it."

The top 10 finishers in the league championship race become members of the all-league first team while the next 10 finishers are placed on the all-league second team. Despite her illness, Petersen once again had a Valley League first-team performance.

"It was a good race. I was just reading my body and doing what I needed to do to finish the race," Petersen said.

Petersen earned a berth on the Valley League first team for all four of her high school years. She was fourth in the November 2021 league championship race at Guajome Park with a time of 21:23.9 for 5,000 meters. The coronavirus shutdown delayed the start of the 2020-21 CIF seasons and there was no Valley League championship meet, so the coaches selected the all-league runners and gave Petersen as well as Lynas first-team accolades.

Lynas finished 11th in the 2023 league championship race with a time of 20:47.2. Mills had the 16th-place time of 21.07.7. Cyr completed the course in 21:14.4 for 19th place.

Junior Anicka Hanewinckel had a time of 23:23.6 to finish in 38th place and junior Litzy Lopez posted the 39th-place time of 23:34.9.

Cyr placed second among freshmen at the league championship meet. "She did awesome," Holland said.

Last year, Lynas was seventh at the league championship meet with a time of 21:32.3 and Mills took the 20th position with a 22:55.0 performance. Lynas was injured during her sophomore year and did not compete in the November 2021 league championship race.

"I'm proud of the girls and all the work they put in," Holland said. "A lot of Fallbrook girls pushed themselves."


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