PaliHi Cross Country Continues to Excel

Forty-six runners from Palisades High School competed in the varsity, junior varsity and freshman competitions at the Bell-Jeff Invitational in Griffith Park on Sept. 30.

“We ran really well,” said head coach Bob Macias.“I’m happy with our development.” The girls varsity team of Sarah Bentley, Kimia Samandi, Brittany Darro, Jessica Bierschenk and Skylar Smith took first out of 20 teams.

Overall, sophomore Sarah Bentley finished first out of 148 runners with a time of (18:21.4), which is a 6:15 pace, and senior Kimia Samandi took fifth (19.12.3).

PaliHi cross country coaches are Bob Macias, Rob Hockley and Gwendolyn Twist.

“At Bell, we didn’t have Elisa Kim or Miranda Shriver,” Macias said. “Our depth really helped us.” Kim was a member of the 2016 city championship team and Shriver, a freshman, was mentioned in the October 1 LA City Cross-Country Rankings.

The Pali girls are ranked No. 1 because they “return four of top five (all under 19:30 at Pierce) and add a frosh under 18:00 at Woodbridge.”

Pali’s JV girls team of Ilaria Stewart, Sophia Klotz, Molly Tenenbaum, Maya Datwyler and Alicia Sigworth took second out of 16 teams.

At Bell-Jeff, the Pali varsity boys took third out of 14 teams, with two freshmen, two sophomores and three juniors competing. Given that the team’s top two seniors were out with injuries, third “was a pleasant surprise,” Macias said.

Brent Smith, a junior recovering from stitches in his foot, finished 13th out of 99 with a time of 15:42.6, a 5:21 pace. Junior Ryan Breitman was 30th with a time of 16.25.30, sophomore Alec Steward ran 16:17.9, freshman Lucas Schriver (a twin to Miranda Schriver) ran 16:28.2 and freshman Mason Cadden clocked 16:33.5.

According to the rankings, the boys are now ranked third (behind last year’s City Champion El Camino Real and Granada Hills) with the notation: “At full strength should contend for top two at finals.”

Updating the status of his injured seniors, Macias said “Finn [Crawley] and [Ben] Hammer are back, but not at full strength,”on Oct. 11. Last year, both ran in the city finals and Hammer advanced to the state meet.

“No one can touch us in league,” Macias said, noting the last real challenge before the city finals will be on October 21 at the Mt. San Antonio Invitational.

League finals will be Nov. 2, city prelims on November 7, and city finals on Nov. 18, all at Pierce College.

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