Boys’, Girls’ Cross Country Races To CIF, State Championships


Elizabeth Choi

The boys cross country team prepares to compete at the 30th annual Brea Invitational on Oct. 1. The course featured nature trails and a redwood forest that made the meet unique.

From morning practices at 6 am to training under the 100 degree sun, Brea Olinda Cross Country has been displaying their annual season success with their three major races: Orange County Championships, Mt. Sac Invitational, and Brea Invitational. 

Orange County Championships

The Wildcats’ latest wins were at the Orange County Championships on Oct. 14 at Oak Canyon Park in Irvine. The varsity boys cross country team swept the competition and won first place with a time of 16:10.28. The junior varsity boys cross country team placed third, Austin Yamamoto, junior and junior varsity boys runner, won first place individually with a time of 16:54.4.

The varsity girls cross country team placed third overall with an average time of 20:08.87, and the junior varsity girls cross country team placed fifth at 21:48.67. “A lot of our girls stepped up and we did pretty well as a team with a lot of freshmen. The course was a matter of mental state, whether you can push through or not. We all surprised ourselves with what we were capable of,” Laci Armenta, junior and varsity girls cross country runner, said. 

Brea Invitational

Brea Olinda Cross Country hosted their 30th annual Brea Invitational at Carbon Canyon Regional Park on Oct. 1. This meet had a unique layout with crowded lanes and a steep hill placed in the middle of the race. Thirty schools and 1,000 runners from all over Southern California competed against each other in hopes of placing. 

The varsity girls cross country team placed sixth overall with an average 3.2 mile time of 21:44, and the varsity boys cross country team placed fifth overall with an average time of 17:26.

Runners were separated into ten races including girls/boys varsity and girls/boys freshmen and sophomores. The 3.1 mile course was laid out through nature trails and a redwood forest. Runners have to endure the hill leading up to the top of the dam, which is placed at about the two mile mark and cross the finish line.

“The course was awesome going down to the redwoods. Every runner on Brea did great, [everyone has been] training, working hard all through [our] coach, Dreux Valenti. But all in all, I’m proud of everyone,” senior and varsity team captain, Dominick Garcia, said.

Garcia placed sixth out of 49 runners, with a time of 16:34.7 in the boys’ varsity 1-2 race.

Many runners were sick or injured, but the team still managed to run a great race. Senior and varsity team captain, Michael Galentine said, “The race today overall wasn’t terrible. We’ve all been sick and considering how rocky the training [recently] has been, I think we all performed really well.”

Galentine ran in the varsity 3-5 race and placed 21st out of 75 runners with a time of 17:53.

Freshman and varsity girls cross country runner, Mia Luna, said, “I feel like I had a pretty good race, of course [there’s] always room for improvement but I felt prepared. We represented Brea well!” She ran in the girls varsity 1-2 race and placed 16th out of 35, with a time of 20:29.9.

Mt. Sac Invitational

The Mt. Sac Invitational at Mt. Sac College on Oct. 21 was the same course as the CIF Preliminaries and CIF Finals. The varsity boys cross country team completely swept overall, running 10th and 15th-18th, and the varsity girls cross country team placed seventh overall. 

In order to prepare for races, Luna said that spending time with the team before and after races created a very comfortable and safe environment where everyone was welcomed. Armenta said, “To get ready for the race, Mia Luna and I did our usual 15 minute warm up and kept it chill talking about strategy, what to expect, and what to look out for. There were parts where I felt like the race was never going to end but I ended up doing decently well. I’m excited to see what’s in store for us.”

Armenta placed 18th and medaled within the top 20, with a time of 20:51. 

“As far as the team goes, we’re looking forward to [future races]. So bigger and better things are coming for us,” Galentine said.

The Wildcats will compete at the CIF State Cross Country Championships at Woodward Park, Fresno on Nov. 26.