Verdon Repeats, Joyce Finishes 3rd at XC State

Mr. Woolridge, Adviser

After chasing Oakmont’s Karlie Garcia for over three miles of the Division III race at California’s State Championships, Carrie Verdon (12) finally pulled into the lead. The defending champion only held the top spot in the race for a few seconds, but they were the seconds that counted most: The ones that ticked off the clock just as she crossed the finish line.

The come-from-behind victory makes Verdon the first repeat state title winner in the history of the division, and establishes her as a contender for next weekend’s Western Regional Championship.

Megan McMillan (13), Mary Orders (15) and Rachel Johnson (15) managed to break 19 minutes on the Woodward Park 5k course in support of Verdon’s efforts, finishing 21st, 28th and 35th, respectively. Meanwhile, Brooke Martini (12) took over the #5 position for the Cougars, passing a struggling Brighie Leach (15) in the final 400m.

In the end, the defending team champions’ point total of 150 placed them just outside the awards tent, 8 points behind the runners-up, Vista Del Lago, and 3 points shy of the 3rd place finishers from Aptos. Palos Verdes won the team title with 103 points.

In the final race of the day, Thomas Joyce (12) looked as good as his stellar performance of a week earlier, claiming the top time among NCS athletes. His 15:20 finish was enough for 3rd place in the Division III race, and improved his own school record on the course by 11 seconds.

Joyce ran a conservative first mile before surging up to St. John Bosco’s Danny Martinez and shaking loose all but Palos Verde’s Jonah Diaz from the chase group. The strong second mile turned it into a three man race at the front. Though he struggled to keep pace with the pre-race favorites down the final stretch, Joyce’s mid-race courage ensured him a spot among the top three.

Vinson Compestine (12) and Keith Geiger (12) finished 27th and 32nd to keep the squad in contention. At the two-mile mark their team was in 3rd place, with a 30 point advantage over the 4th place school. However, late race struggles by the usually closely clustered Campo pack resulted in a final score of 162, one point short of a spot on the medal stand.