Culver City Observer -

Culver Cross Country Starts Fast


September 18, 2014

Fred Altieri

Marina McNairy

By Fred Altieri

Observer Reporter

Who wouldn't want to run in The Great Cow Run, one of the best-named athletic events in Southern California? And that's exactly how the culver city High 2014 cross country team began its season at Cerritos Regional County Park to compete against 29 other high schools on Saturday, September 6.

According to the race's website: "The invitational has grown in order to incorporate the theme of the cow due to the history of Cerritos formerly known as Dairy Valley."

The three-mile race was also digitally upgraded as state-of–the-art chip timing was used. Their integrated timing system recorded every entrant via a chip attached to each and who quite fittingly were escorted around the course by the lead bikers adorned as cows.

The first race with three Centaur runners entered in the open division started at 7:15 a.m. The remaining eight races, both boys and girls: varsity, junior varsity, sophomore and freshmen divisions continued throughout the morning in a well-coordinated and organized manner.

The paramedics on location happily reported that not a single runner had to be cared for or administered to by them during the entire event... quite remarkable considering the increasingly warm weather that prevailed.

Culver cross country head coach Tom Fritzius appreciated the effort put forth by his athletes as well as the race's host, Cerritos High School:

"The weather was hot and humid. The initial races on the course were wet and muddy. The course was over long-cut grass and paved park paths. Both of our girls and boys runners exceeded our expectations. The results were more than we expected. It was the first run of the year and for 16 of our kids it was the first run of their life."

"It ran smoothly. The races were run timely. We finished actually a little before we expected to be. Cerritos high school is the school that sponsored the race and they were more than accommodating for any issue that arose during the course of the event whether it was a coach not having the correct runner in a particular race or if a runner was omitted from the final scoring."

Fritzius was able to monitor each of the races from several locations throughout the course: "35 Culver High cross country athletes ran in The Great Cow Run, 25 boys and 10 girls. Of the 25 boys, 11 of them were first-time runners. Of the remaining 14 boys, nine set personal best times on the three-mile course. Of the ten girls, five of them were first-time runners. We had one girl very close to running a personal best time."

Noted were some outstanding performances: "Abraham Vasquez, a junior, ran a 16:23.03 which was a personal best improvement by 31.49 seconds. That's flying when we're talking about that low of a number. Patrick Gardner, a senior, ran a 17:57.68. Matthew Takara, sophomore, ran an 18:41:95 which was a 37.05 improvement on his personal best. A freshman, Max Jordan ran an 18:45.99. Abraham was third out of a total of 210 runners in his race.

Fred Altieri

Abraham Vasquez

"The girls were led by Ez, Esmeralda Sandoval, a senior and team captain. She ran a 22:17.24 and finished 31st out of 170 runners in her race. Rhina Padilla ran 22:27.28 and finished 34th in the same race. Our best freshman was Sterre Hesseling. She ran 23:00.94 and finished 68th out of 197 runners in her race."

As the team prepared to board the bus before heading back to culver city there was a definite sense of accomplishment. Coach concluded: "They were very happy about their outcome. They exceeded their own expectations. We strive to have our kids set achievable goals and just about every one of them who ran exceeded the goal that they set for themselves."


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