Cross county: Arcata dominates Yoshaany Rahm Invitational

By JIM CROWHURST
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

UKIAH — Arcata got its money’s worth Saturday, traveling down the Pacific coast to compete in the the Yoshaany Rahm Invitational cross country meet at Ukiah High School.

The Tigers rode home at the end of the day with both the boys and girls championships from the event.

The Arcata girls showed the talent and depth that helped them place second at last year’s state meet, taking the top four spots.

But in the boys race, Arcata also won the top spots but not without having to give all they could to keep Montgomery from those victories.

Montgomery’s Christian Friday took the pace out in this race with Arcata’s Jose Lopez and Brandon Kelsey following not far behind.

The girls race was decided early when junior Elise Ford took the lead shortly after the start. She never relinquished it, clocking 21 minutes flat over the challenging 5,000-meter course.

Teammates Sara Davis and Vera Heidmann ran just a few steps behind her most of the race.

“Sara was right with me and she is ruthless,” Ford said. “I was a little worried on the hills with her there.”

Davis (21:14) finished second with Heidmann (21:22) and Zoe Ziegler (22:20) completing the top-four sweep for Arcata.

The rest of the top 10 included San Marin’s Michelle Bollinger (22:28), Montgomery’s Lauren Ray (22:36), Ukiah’s Katherine Wong (22:38), Cloverdale’s Angela Romero (22:48), Montgomery’s Molly Kinahan (22:49) and Arcata’s Iona Mahoney-Moyer (22:51).

The boys race took shape early as well with Friday’s surge.

“I wasn’t trying to break them early on,” Friday said, “just looking to see if they could stay with me. It was cool to go at it with them like that. I never really find myself in the front like that.”

Friday’s pace took Lopez and Kelsey with him.

“I scoped out the completion before the race and figured Friday was the one to work off of,” Lopez said. “Brandon and myself worked with each other to keep him close.”

The last half of the race had a few lead changes, but as they entered the stadium for the finish, Friday was back in the lead, with Lopez close behind.

With 200 meters left, Lopez made his move to pass Friday, but with 50 meters to go Friday closed right back up to Lopez before the Arcata senior made one last burst to seal the win.

“It excited me that he came back at the end,” Lopez said.

The team competition was just as close with Arcata edging Montgomery in the nine-team field, 32-35.

The boys top 10 comprised of Lopez (17:04), Friday (17:04), Kelsey (17:13), El Molino’s Brian Schulz (17:44), Montgomery’s Stuart Lovelace (17:46), El Molino’s Brady Lane (17:46), Ukiah’s Beau Brown (18:04), San Marin’s Connor Fleching (18:09), Arcata’s Kellen ONeill (18:13) and Montgomery’s Alex Hiltebrand (18:13).

Arcata’s girls won with a score of 20 to Montgomery’s 56 even though last year’s top runner Chloe Pigg took the day off.

Check out Jim Crowhurst’s running blog here

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