St. Francis High boys win state cross-country crown

Lars Eng/Special to the Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Eng finished 11th at the state meet.

Despite its domination of the Central Coast Section, the St. Francis High boys cross-country team didn’t expect a runaway win at the state championships – not with Dublin in its division. The North Coast Section champs beat the Lancers seven weeks earlier on the same course.

“That race was a wake-up call,” St. Francis junior Eric Eng said of finishing 40 points behind Dublin Oct. 7 at the Clovis Invitational. “We came into Clovis a little too confident; it kind of humbled us. It showed us what we needed to do and how hard we needed to work.”

That humility and hard work paid off: The Lancers claimed the state Division II title by drubbing Dublin by 54 points Saturday at Fresno’s Woodward Park. Their time of 78 minutes, 42 seconds ranks as the eighth-best performance by a Division II team at the state meet, according to the California Interscholastic Federation.

“We knew we needed a good race to win the championship,” Eng said, “and we ran really well.”

Five St. Francis runners finished among the top 30. Senior Shyam Kumar led the Lancers (third, 15:23), followed by Eng (11th, 15:37.4), junior Colton Colonna (14th, 15:40.4), sophomore Juan Pablo Garcia (15:58.8) and junior Daniel Skahill (16:02.4).

Eng and Skahill ran personal-best times on the course by approximately 20 and 10 seconds, respectively.

The Lancers’ season won’t end in Fresno, however; they have landed an at-large berth in the NXN National Championships. The meet, slated Saturday in Portland, Ore., is limited to 22 teams.

“We’re the first CCS team to make nationals,” Eng said. “We’re ecstatic.”

LA boys take 10th

The Los Altos High boys placed 10th in Division I and set a school record in the process with a team time of 1:21:42.

Junior Owen MacKenzie paced the Eagles with a 14th-place time of 15:32.7.

“It was the first state meet for all our runners except Owen, and we are really proud of how they stepped up and handled the pressure of such a fast and competitive race,” Los Altos assistant coach Steph MacKenzie said. “It’s easy to get overwhelmed your first time, but they all ran well.”

Two more Eagles finished in the top 100: sophomore Adam Sage (56th, 16:12.7) and junior Rian Lawlor (66th, 16:15.9).

Los Altos’ top six runners are set to compete in the West Regional Saturday at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut.

SF girls finish 19th

Paced by Madeleine Coli, the St. Francis girls placed 19th in their division at state. Her time of 19:52 was good enough for 103rd in Division II. Fellow senior Haley Torsney came in 106th (19:56.3).

Local individuals excel

Junior Naomi Donovan, the lone Los Altos girl to make state, placed 31st in Division I with a personal-best time of 18:38.2.

Both of Mountain View High’s qualifiers set personal records running in their respective Division II races. Serena Myjer finished 25th on the girls’ side with an 18:42.2, while fellow senior Daniel Frees was 64th among the boys with a 16:25.9.

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