Kenan Pala Powers Way to Memorable Performance at Mt. SAC Cross Country Invite
Sage Creek’s Stormy Wallace achieves top overall girls performance during Friday’s competition
By Erik Boal, DyeStat Editor
The 73rd Mt. SAC Cross Country Invitational on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 22-23 at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif. attracted more than 430 teams and 12,000 runners at one of the largest and most prestigious high school meets in the country, and the opening day of prep competition nearly produced an all-time boys record to cap the 45-race schedule and showcased dominant performances by the top female competitor in San Diego, as well as the elite girls program in the section this season.
Kenan Pala of Francis Parker, a Yale commit, clocked 14:24.9 in the Division 3-4-5 individual sweepstakes race to eclipse both the San Diego Section and Division 5 all-time marks, along with the #5 performer in meet history.
Pala lowered the 2013 section record of 14:27 achieved by Tal Braude of Torrey Pines, along with taking down the Division 5 mark of 14:33 held since 2002 by Tim Nelson of Redding Liberty Christian.
Pala prevailed against Max Sannes of Big Bear, a Division 4 state title contender who clocked 14:48.3, and Division 3 championship favorite Isaiah Givens of Pasadena (14:54.7). They were the only sub-15 performances achieved Friday.
Cathedral Catholic, led by a sixth-place finish from Blake Levy (15:24.2), secured the team title with 139 points. Pala helped Francis Parker earn runner-up with 148 points.
The Division 3-4-5 girls team sweepstakes race was a long-awaited coronation for Sage Creek senior Stormy Wallace, who had finished fourth as a freshman and sixth as a sophomore, before being denied an opportunity to compete last year at Mt. SAC as a result of the cancellation of the meet because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wallace lowered her 2018 effort by nearly 25 seconds to achieve the fastest girls performance of the day at 17:25.3, leading three athletes under the 18-minute barrier, along with sophomores Payton Godsey of Oaks Christian (17:53) and Arielle McKenzie of La Canada (17:58.6).
Sage Creek also finished second overall with 97 points, ahead of Division 4 rivals La Canada (105) and Oaks Christian (117) – the only lineup with three scorers in the top 10, as Grace Geyer (18:19.8) was fourth and Sarah Colebrooke (18:38.4) placed eighth – but the team competition was another example of the depth of Cathedral Catholic, the top-ranked Division 3 team in the state.
Alexandria Pena (18:30.8) and Lexi Arambulo (18:31.2) finished fifth and sixth for the Dons, who placed five scorers in the top 20 – including four under 19 minutes – to prevail with 57 points.
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More DyeStat Mt. SAC HS XC 2021 race reports, photos and videos HERE.
Find more Mt. SAC HS XC Invite meet info HERE, including maps, course video, results and more!