Griffin girls take second in Surf League finals

Sophomores Kaitlyn McQuillen, right, and Hallie Muniz, center, led the Griffins varsity to a second place finish in the Surf League and the Sunset Conference overall standings. Photo by Ted Apodaca

Los Alamitos High’s girls cross country team finished second in the Surf League standings as the Sunset Conference held its finals on Saturday at Huntington Beach Central Park.

Sophomore Kaitlyn McQuillen led the Griffins with a seventh place overall finish in a time of 18 minutes, 42.7 seconds over the three-mile course. Sophomore Hallie Muniz was the second finisher for Los Alamitos at 12th overall, in a time of 19:14.3. The Griffins were just five points behind Surf League champions Fountain Valley who had 72 points.

Huntington Beach was first overall and took the Wave League title with a score of 56 points. They were also led by a sophomore, Makenzie McRae, who finished the course in 17:49.8 and was first overall. Seniors Quinn Roldan and Claire Lewis were 3rd and 4th overall for Huntington Beach.

Senior Chrysti Takayesu, left, and freshman Olivia Bettinger, second from left, look to pass Fountain Valley’s Megan Feitz. Bettinger would end up 18th overall, with Takayesu and Feitz behind her in order. Photo by Ted Apodaca

The varsity girls team had graduated several key runners from last year, so Head Coach Mark Celestin said there was some uncertainty how they would fare with new runners stepping up.

“We’re a brand new team and they really ran well,” Celestin said of the girls varsity.

Freshman Olivia Bettinger was the third Los Al finisher in 18th place in a time of 19:21.7. Senior Chrysti Takayesu followed in 19th overall with a time of 19:22.0. Freshman Trista Candiotty was the fifth scorer for Los Alamitos with a 21st overall finish in 19:27.3.

Also notable was another Los Al freshman, Sydnie Lobo, who finished 24th overall with a time of 19:28.3.

In the boys varsity race, Los Alamitos took third in the Surf League falling just one point shy of Edison. Newport Harbor won the Surf League and took second overall. Fountain Valley took first place overall and won the Wave League title as the Barons finished nearly 30 points better than Newport at 45 overall points. Fountain Valley had four runners finish in the top 9 overall.

When the overall standings are divided into Surf and Wave League groups, scoring finishes change, which allowed for Edison’s top runners to lower their score enough to take second. Essentially about 6/10th of a second kept the Griffin boys from qualifying for CIF prelims.

“The boys had a great season, I know they’re disappointed with the finish, but they had a great season,” Celestin said.

Michael Sandoval, left, and Zachary Nakada, center, look to overtake Newport Harbor’s Jamie Herrera in the final stretch of the varsity race. Photo by Ted Apodaca

Los Alamitos was led by junior Daniel Mastick who finished the course in 16:05.8 to take 10th overall. The Griffins grouped together four finishers to close the gap. Senior Michael Sandoval finished 17th overall with a time of 16:19.8. Right behind him was junior Zachary Nakada at 18th in a time of 16:22 and senior Tyler Austin at 19th in 16:33.9. Senior Aaron Ibarra rounded out the Griffins’ scoring five with a 21st overall finish in a time of 16:38.7.

In the girls junior varsity race, Los Alamitos ran away with the overall title as well as the Surf League championship. All five of the Griffins scoring runners finished in the top 10 overall, as they compiled just 19 points, with second place Laguna Beach scoring 45. The Griffins were led by Kiana Low, who took 1st overall with a time of 20:50.7.

She was followed by Yuki Bengs, who took 3rd overall in a time of 21:19 and Bailey Nadell who finished 6th overall in 21:35.3. Sierra Erlandson was 8th overall with a time of  21:43.1 and Lauren Kim rounded out the five scoring runners with a 10th place overall finish in 21:52.1.

In the boys junior varsity race, the Griffins took second place in the overall standings and second place in the Surf League finals. James Fayette led Los Alamitos with a second place overall finish in a time of 17:00. Junior Sean Macdonald was the second Los Alamitos finisher in 6th place overall, with a time of 17:33.9.

Juniors Joshua Gonzalez (17:48.3) and Kenji Swun (17:49.6) were 11th and 12th overall as the third and fourth finishers for Los Al and Luke Rettich rounded out the Griffins top 5 finishers in 14th overall in a time of 17:50.7.

In the Frosh/Soph race, Los Alamitos again won the Surf League title and was the top finishing team in the overall standings. Seven Griffins finished in the top 10 overall, as follows:

Place Name, Grade

1 Ruby Flaim, 10

2 Hayden Nguyen 9

3 Milly Verdugo, 10

7 Bryn Pagett, 9

8 Thalia Griffith, 9

9 Natalie Lobo, 11

10 Amanda Ferguson,10

The Griffins also won the boys Frosh/Soph Surf League title and were the top overall finishing team. They had six runners finish in the top 11 overall, as follows:

Place Name, Grade

1 Charles Villegas, 10

6 Gavin Ordinario, 10

8 Jaxon Nguyen, 9

9 James Sells, 9

10 Isaac Parhami, 10

11 Lon Monk, 10

The girls varsity had six runners post times good enough to qualify for CIF-SS Preliminaries. They are Kaitlyn McQuillen, Hallie Muniz, Olivia Bettinger, Chrysti Takayesu, Trista Candiotty and Sydnie Lobo.

They will be joined by Ruby Flaim, who won the frosh/soph race and posted a qualifying time.

Two members of the boys team posted finishes to qualify for CIF-SS Prelims, Daniel Mastick and Michael Sandoval. CIF-SS Preliminaries will be held on Nov. 13 at Mt. San Antonio College.