The Union Mine cross country teams competed in heady company last weekend, taking a trip south to run in the Mt. SAC Invitational, one of the world’s largest cross country event.
The invitational held true to its billing, staging 104 races over two days with more than 16,000 high school athletes competing.
“It was amazing to see the precision of so many races in one day considering there were only seven minutes between each race,” Union Mine coach Jay Aliff said. “The Diamondbacks ran extremely well with many of our athletes posting best times of the season on a very challenging course.”
All the races in Southern California are three miles; in Northern California the frosh/soph courses are just two miles. The Union Mine girls sophomore team had no problem adapting and earned the highest placing of the Union Mine teams, taking fourth.
The team was led by freshman Michelle Gonzales, who took sixth and earned a medal with an impressive 20 minute, 34 second time. Mikaelyn Praker and Alyssa Mastropieri ran together and finished in 38th and 39th place respectively. Madi Aliff took 51st and Jordan Caldwell completed the scoring for the Diamondbacks.
Despite missing three of their top runners the varsity girls also ran well, taking 11th place behind veteran Sierra Davies, who finished in 21:50, her best time of the season. Emily Trujillo also cracked the 22-minute barrier, running a 21:55. Sequoia Williams was right behind her in 22:06 while Kate Randall and Quinn Beattie rounded out the team scoring.
The boys varsity team was also missing two of its top runners, but still took 21st. Colton Aliff was the top harrier across the line for the Diamondbacks, with a season-best 17:54, the first time this year he’s come in under 18 minutes.
The boys sophomore team times were not recorded but the boys took 10th place behind Kevin Ralphs’ 20th place showing. He was followed across by Jon Detillion in 42nd.
The trip south was not all about competing. The day after the race the team enjoyed a perfect day at Disneyland before returning home Saturday evening.
“If the Diamondbacks can record the same times on the Willow Hills course this week and in two weeks, things will work out perfectly for us in the postseason,” Aliff said.
Varsity girls: 51-Sierra Davies, 21:50; 55-Emily Trujillo, 21:55; 63-Sequoia Williams, 22:06; 82-Kate Randall, 22:20; 115-Quinn Beattie, 24:50.
Varsity boys: 63-Colton Aliff, 17:54; 96-Cory Gutierrez, 18:36; 121-19:23; 140-Mitch Woods, 19:50; 162-Jon Michael Green, 21:26; 165-Hayden Moore, 21:47; 170-Scott Santana, 23:16.
Soph girls: 6-Michelle Gonzales, 20:34; 38-Mikaelyn Praker, 22:57; 39-Alynssa Mastropieri, 22:58; 51-Madi Aliff, 23:32; 108-Jordan Caldwell, 26:35. Soph boys (no times available): 20-Kevin Ralphs; 42-Jon Detillion; 65-Durand Smiley; 69-Will Winter; 73-Smiley Quinn.