Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lady Warriors Wrap Up Record Breaking Season at California State Championship

Woodward Park, Fresno - For any high school runner the pinnacle of the cross country season is the State Championship. It is the furthest you can go into your season where at one moment the best runners in all of California gather at one place to see who, amongst the masses, is the best of the best. There are no polls or rankings, just one race, one opportunity and no excuses.

This is the heart and soul of cross country.

For the 5th time in 6 years the Lady Warriors competed in the most competitive running event in the State after securing a 2nd place in the CCS Division III Championship. While the race proved to be challenging for many of the Warriors the day was not without individual victories.

The top finisher for the Warriors was Senior Morgan Lira who was running in her 4th State Meet. She joins Jennifer Bergman, Julie Wallace and Emily Blaha as the only runners in school history to compete in 4 State Championships.

Starting strong, Lira crossed the mile in a mob of runners in about 35th position after a blistering first mile of 5:36.  Holding that position through 2 miles she put on one last push for the finish running down over 20 runners in the last half mile to finish 15th in a time of 18:39. This is her best finish at the State Meet in her high school career.

Ashley Lara was the second finisher for the Warriors in 20:59. Battling the nerves of her first State Meet she went out with the pack at 6:28 for the mile and moved through the last mile to finish 148th in 20:59. Karen Mac was next to cross for the Warriors finishing 155th in 21:13.

Shannon Luu had a breakthrough performance running a 36 second best to finish in 21:40. Her time ranks her #22 all-time for the Warriors but more importantly sets the stage for next year’s team as all 5 returning runners to next year’s team have run under 7 minute pace for the 5k course this season.  Kellianne Connolly rounded out the scoring finishing 182nd in 22:09.

Running in the 6th position for the team was Jessica Xu. One of the top runners for the Warriors the entire season Xu shattered her personal best running 19:21 at the CCS Championship and solidified herself as one of the best ever in school history. In the week leading up to the State Championship she came down with a pain in her knee that persisted through the end of the week and into the race. Limping through the 5k Jessica’s resilient character to never quit helped push through the pain. It was hard to take finishing in 22 minutes, nearly 3 minutes off of her time at the CCS Championship but her perspective changed from a time goal to finishing her first State Championship.

Isabel Garcia who sits #5 all-time for the Warriors running 19:38 as a sophomore in 2009 was unable to come back from a hamstring injury suffered last year. She gave a strong effort running 23:08 in her 3rd State Championship.

This season marked one of the most successful ever on record for the Varsity Girls team as they set the school record for team time at Crystal Springs and placed 2nd at the CCS Championship, their first highest finish since moving up to Division III in 2008.   The girls finished the season ranked 10th in the San Jose Mercury News Poll.

It was a great season for the Warriors as they set the tone for the future.  The Varsity Girls return five of the top seven girls to next year's team: Karen Mac, Ashley Lara, Jessica Xu, Kellianne Connolly, Shannon Luu.

Full Results: CLICK HERE
Girls DIII Race Photos: CLICK HERE

Girls Results - State Championship (5k)

Team Record: Jennifer Bergman 17:45 2008

Mile 1 Previous Best

Morgan Lira 12 18:38 5:36 18:25

Ashley Lara 9 20:59 6:28 20:29

Karen Mac 10 21:13 6:26 20:25

Shannon Luu 10 21:40 6:50 22:16

Kellianne Connolly 11 22:08 6:24 21:26

Jessica Xu 10 22:19 6:26 20:32

Isabel Garcia 12 23:08 6:50 19:38

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