By JIM CROWHURST
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
UKIAH — Ukiah’s Paul Holden and Arcata’s Chloe Pigg showed why they are both state-ranked runners as they each won their races Saturday at the Yoshaany Rahm Invitational at Ukiah High.
Holden went straight to the lead from the gun and never looked back. His final time over the 5,000-meter course was 16:02, surpassing the meet record and his own school record. Only three boys have covered the course faster, all three in North Coast Section championship races.
“The conditions were perfect,” said Holden. “I wanted to run as fast as Scott Baughs.”
Baughs ran 16:01 in 2003 for San Ramon Valley. Baughs went on to be the 2008 NCAA Div. II cross country champion. Bauhs is also the youngest American to run under four minutes for the mile and under 28 minutes for the 10,000 meters, both of which he did in 2008.
“I thought I’d be running with Efren (Reyes, of Piner), but I felt too good to stick with him. This gives me a lot of confidence for league and state,” said Holden. “Runners can usually run the Spring Lake course a minute faster than this one.”
Only Piner’s Luis Luna and Ukiah state champion Ryan Mack have run under 15 minutes at Spring Lake.
Reyes finished second in 17:03, with San Rafael’s Joey Morris at 17:20.
Rounding out the top 10 were Arcata’s Jose Lopez 17:29, Sonoma Valley’s Christian Tose 17:32, Ukiah’s Noah Taxis 17:35, San Rafael’s Jonathan Kaufman 17:40, Sonoma Valley’s Christian Martinez 17:47, Ukiah’s Beau Brown 17:48 and San Rafael’s Kevin Martinez 18:00. Ukiah won the team competition by one point over San Rafael, 46-47, with Piner in third with 60. As they did last year, the Prospectors ran without any seniors.
Pigg, Arcata’s freshman sensation, who is ranked fourth in the state in Division 4, was almost as dominant in her race as Holden was. Pigg (19:28) finished well ahead of Mendocino star runner Erin Thomas (20:09).
“This is a really cool course,” Pigg said, “and I had a lot of fun with it. At the state finals. I’d like to be one of the fastest 20 from all the divisions.”
Thomas who was fourth at the Ukiah meet last year, likes this race as well.
“I knew she was really fast so I didn’t try and stay with her, but I really let myself go all out on the downhills, which kept me close early on,” Thomas said.
Arcata dominated the team score with a near perfect 17 points as their top five finished in the top nine overall, with Elise Ford third (20:26,) Zoe Zieger fourth (20:32,) Sara Davis sixth (21:30) and Vera Heidman seventh (21: 47.)
Piner’s Palmona Romero (fifth, 21:08) and Mayra Villa (eighth, 22:08) helped their team to second with 65 points. Sonoma Valley’s Gianna Biaggi led her team to third, finishing ninth in 22:20, while Aracta’s Alyssa Koski was 10th in 22:54, followed by Ukiah’s Katherine Wong at 22:58.