Junior Anthony Grover of J.Serra and sophomore Audrey Suarez of Mayfield won Division IV State Cross Country titles Nov. 24 at the 32nd annual CIF state meet in Fresno.
Grover successfully defended his boys’ D-IV title, covering the 3.1-mile course at Woodward Park in 15:21.8, six seconds ahead of the field and nearly 10 seconds better than his winning time last year. It’s the third time in the last four years a Lion has won the D-IV state title (Andrew Burkhardt won in 2015), and the first time since Loyola’s Elias Gaydon won three straight (2008-10) that a local Catholic school runner has repeated as state champion.
Grover’s senior teammate, Peter Herold, finished fifth after leading at the two-mile mark. As a team, the Lions were sixth in the D-4 standings, with Cathedral 11th. Suarez, third in the 2017 state meet, led by four seconds after two miles and sustained most of that lead to the finish line, winning the girls’ D-IV crown in 17:44.3 (The top six finishers were all non-seniors). Besides being Mayfield’s first-ever state cross country champion, Suarez is the first local Catholic school girls’ state champion since Sacred Heart’s Sabrina Lopez won the D-IV title in 2008.
The Cubs were seventh in the D-IV team standings and J.Serra was 10th, led by seniors Nadia Tabrizzi (14th) and Isabella Abusaid (29th). Chaminade freshman Maddie Gutshall placed 19th.
Loyola posted the highest team finish of any local Catholic school, fourth in the D-II boys’ race, as senior Roberto Ruelas was 16th, junior Anthony Stone 24th, and senior Mason Ratkovich 28th individually. And in the D-III girls’ race, Santa Margarita’s team was 11th, with sophomore Kendall Saeger 21st and senior Sophie Getz 29th.
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