Vikings Tough it Out in the Brea Invite

Valentina and Sam kicking to the line. -Oct 2, 2022

BREA, CA — The Valencia Vikings Cross Country team headed down to Carbon Canyon Regional Park to compete in the Brea Invite this weekend. Greeted by overcast skies and pleasant temperatures, the challenge for the athletes was the long and varied course. Measured at 3.2 miles, the course traversed through the thick grass of the park, transitioned to dirt paths that ascended to the top of the dam at 2 miles and then a long, gradual, and twisting decent back to the thick grassy finish. Different than other events, athletes were organized into smaller fields run by team position. Varsity races were divided into runners 1 & 2 in one race, runners 3-5 in a different race, with runners 6-7 and JV in a third. Frosh/Soph races were divided into runners 1-5 in one race with runners 6+ in another. With races starting every 10 minutes and having multiple races out on the single loop course, this was not a particularly spectator friendly atmosphere, but the efficiency of the event had the Vikings off to the rest of the Fall Break weekend before noon.

Starting with Boys’ Frosh Soph 6+, Nehemiah Pop lead the Vikes with a 23:05. Conor Landress followed in 24:19 and Emad Ahmed rounded out this small but dedicated bunch in 24:59. In the Frosh Soph 1-5 race, Lincoln Gabbard, recovered from his illness last week, led in 18:55. Alex Basin followed with a tough 19:23, Luis Torres Orrala had a strong finish at 20:30, with Jake Robideau (21:00) and Adam Sandoval (21:08) rounding out the group. The team finished 9th out of a field of 22 teams.

The Frosh Soph Lady Vikings only brought 5 girls out to Brea. Valentina Soto Navarrete lead the group after a controlled first mile and earned a medal finishing 22nd at 24:00; Sam Armitage was nipping at her heals also medaling at 24th (24:04). Sophie Tran (27:17), Gracie Brooke (28:04) and Melody Weber (31:48) conquered the course and helped the Vikings finish 4th in the field.

In the Varsity Boys’ 1-2 Race Ayden Buchanan (16:14) and Tyler Chang (16:36) were the top duo of the event finishing 2nd and 7th, respectively. With times running about a minute slower on this course than others, both of these gentlemen produced strong results this week. The Vikings Varsity 3-5 crew was led by Grant Young finishing 6th at 17:14 with senior duo Davis Simonian and Jake Brooke always battling it out and finishing close at 17:45 and 17:49. Cruz Lanzer led the Vikings in the 6+ Varsity and JV race with a tough 19:17. His consistency this season has been impressive! Jacob Kunz (20:17), Tomi Lessis (22:31), Justin Yuh (22:50) and Damien Turner (23:37) completed the bunch, with the team finishing 3rd in the merged results.

Kami Grossman led the Varsity Lady Vikings with a 10th place finish at 19:41. A solid effort against a small but tough field. Gianna Iezza stepped up in the second Varsity spot and pulled a 22:12; nearly equaling her time from last week on a longer course. Liana Sushinsky also was close to equalizing her time from last week finishing 20th in the 3-5 Varsity race at 22:35. Joon Kim (24:06) and Maria Lopez (24:12) rounded out the scorers as the merge had the lady Vikings finishing 12th out of 27 teams.

Next week the squads are split with the Varsity runners headed up to tackle the state championship course at the Clovis Invitational while the JV and Frosh Soph teams will again take on the hills at College of the Canyons for the SCV Invite.

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