Fourth time’s the charm for a group of San Lorenzo Valley High School seniors who took home their first California Interscholastic Federation Division IV cross country title last weekend.

“Finally,” said senior co-captain Claire MacMillan with a big smile on her face. “We have been working for this for so long. I am really proud of my team.”

The SLV girls cross country team demolished the competition, scoring 86 points from their top five scoring runners. Laguna Beach took second with 189 points and Big Bear High School third with 195 points.

Senior captain Anna Maxwell led the way by winning the individual title in 17 minutes, 8 seconds, breaking the Division IV girl’s course record at the Woodward Park 5-kilometer course in Fresno on Saturday, Nov. 30. The win was the first for the group of seniors in their fourth trip to the state finals.

“It was super-emotional because we’ve been working on it for so long with our core group of senior girls,” Maxwell said.

For Maxwell personally, the cross country state title had been one of her goals.

“It’s something that’s eluded me for a few years,” she said. “It was really special to share it with the team.”

Maxwell ran away from the field and finished far ahead of second place Caroline Pietrzyk of Malibu High School who finished in 17:52.

MacMillan ran a strong final race, taking fourth in state in 18:17. Freshman Abbey Meck finished eighth overall in 18:56, senior Abby Sherman was 34th in 19:50 and senior Jessica Jensen was 41st in 20:02. Other SLV runners were junior Jessica Germany, 56th in 20:25 and freshman Katie Lamb, 81st in 20:46.

“It was a pretty fast start,” Meck said. “We usually go out pretty hard in all our races. (Coach) Rob (Collins) drills that into us.”

Meck, one of SLV’s top runners all season long, said having a motivated group of seniors has spurred her to be better.

“It was nice because there was always someone to push you,” Meck said.

It was the first team title for this group of seniors, and the fifth girl’s title in school history all during Head Coach Rob Collins 14-year tenure at SLV.

“The kids all worked hard,” Collins said. “To us this was a redemption year.”

In 2012, the girls won the Central Coast Section title, but a combination of ailments resulted in a 15th place finish in state. This season, they swept through the CCS and State meets with few challengers.

On the boys side, senior Jacob Hicks finished 26th overall in 16:26 to cap off his cross country career.

Scotts Valley boys take 5th

The Scotts Valley boys and girls teams each competed at the state meet with the Falcon boys a strong finished 5th overall in Division IV with a strong team performance.

Junior Nick Heath ran the top time, finishing 18th overall in 16:32, followed by sophomore John Ross in 16:38, senior Scott Edwards 40th in 16:52, junior Draven Hawk, 45th in 16:58, sophomore Luke McCartney 46th in 16:59 and non-scorers, senior Brett Klotz in 17:37 and junior Porter Wesson in 18:14.

For the Falcons, it was the highest finish by the team in school history, after finishing 14th in 2012.

Yreka High School won the boys title with 102 total points.

The Falcon girls took 17th overall and were led by senior Valerie Morrison’s 14th place finish in 19:07. Morrison’s time was more than a minute and a half faster than her finish in the 2012 race when she took 82nd overall.

Other Scotts Valley runners included junior Hayley Herberg (72nd in 20:40), sophomore Mikaela Inman (20:43), freshman Kaylee Craft (80th in 20:46), sophomore Maddy Barton in 21:11, senior Courtney Clark in 21:46 and sophomore Katelyn McNulty in 22:07.

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