Cross Country PCAL League Finals

By: Ethan Robinson and Mateo Dichoso

On Saturday, October 29, the Monte Vista Co-ed Cross Country team met with sixteen other teams at the Palo Corona Regional Park for their PCAL league finals race. The park just opened this year for high school running events, making this the first ever league finals meet to be hosted here. Teams from both the Mission and Gabilan divisions showed up for a shot at the league title and a chance to qualify for the CCS Championship race at Crystal Springs. MVC’s day began at 9:30 with the JV boys race. They were led by senior Matthew Harris, who finished 16th place out of 48 competitors with a time of 20:58 for the 3.2 mile course. He was followed by Alex Ursino, who ran a strong 21:15 despite only being a freshman.  As the sun came out, the Varsity girls team took to the line in the hopes of sending a few athletes to the CCS Championships. Despite only having four runners, the team performed well. In an impressive display of perseverance and teamwork, senior Caelan Gilliam and sophomore Kylie Bruneli finished third and fourth out of 63 runners in the Gabilan division, with times of 21:20 and 21:35 respectively. These times were more than fast enough to qualify them for CCS. The most highly anticipated race began at 10:50 with the boys varsity. The team was poised to qualify for CCS due to their position on the PCAL rankings, and they earned their spot at CCS with a dominant performance. Senior James Ponzio won the race with a remarkable time of 16:47, beating out his rival Aiden Tarantino from Carmel by a solid 12 seconds. “He kept pace with me really well throughout the whole race,” Ponzio said, “but I had a gap on him from the start and I was just able to maintain it.” Ponzio’s time officially stands as the course record for the Palo Corona race. Because the boys varsity was fast enough to qualify, the seven boys will be joining Gilliam and Bruneli at Crystal Springs on Saturday, November 12, for the Central Coast Section Championship race.

Gabilan division top nine varsity boys. MVC James Ponzio on the left. Photograph by: Lisa Ponzio
Mission division top nine varsity girls. MVC Kylie Brunelli and Caelan Gilliam in the middle. Photograph by: Lisa Ponzio