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King Cross Country:Race Results 2016

King Cross Country

Monday, December 12

Saturday, November 5
Quick Links
Summary of Season times, 2016

Invitationals:  Cool Breeze,  Lowell   Woodbridge   CBU Lancer   Riverside 

Big 8 Meets:  League #1   League #2   League Finals

Prelims B G  
Finals - B G   

Saturday, December 24

After a tremendous season of accomplishment and improvement over her freshman year in the sport of cross country, the Riverside Press Enterprise has named Lauren Peurifoy (Sophomore) their Athlete of the Year for girls cross country. She finished 25th at the Nike National meet, second at the California State Championships, second at the CIF Southern Sections and was undefeated in league. She 

is the third King Cross Country runner to receive the accolade, Hanna Peterson and Lane Werley were selected in 2010. Read the article here.

For the excellent season and contribution she made to the team’s success in 2016, Rebekah Pendleton (senior) was awarded First Team All Inland Empire by the Press Enterprise as well. Rebekah finished in the top 25 finishers of both the Southern Section D1 Final and the State Championships. Read the article on the First Team selections here.

Sunday, December 4
“It’s the most fun I’ve ever had!” Lauren Peurifoy exclaimed with her trademark smile stretching the boundaries of her face, eyes lit up for even more emphasis. “This is the best thing that’s ever happened to me!”

This … well that would be her 25th place finish in the 2016 Nike Cross Nationals (NXN). It was a spectacular race for the precocious and likable sophomore that concluded an equally spectacular if not improbable season

There under a beautiful canopy of Portland sky, basking in the glow of an almost perfect performance on her first national stage, her words tumbled out as fast as she runs, trying to keep pace with the emotion of the moment. Those of us graced with the honor of watching it all unfold smiled and laughed and beamed along with her as the past and the present converged in a swirling river of grace.

As a freshman, Lauren ended her season 80th in her heat at CIF Prelims which came one week after her 23rd place finish at the 2015 Big 8 league finals. Nothing of 2015 seemed to indicate she’d be standing at the finish line of NXN speckled with mud and bubbling with giddy joy.

But 2016 was a totally different story and gradually grew the idea that maybe NXN was a possibility. The lowest finish of Lauren’s season was 8th place at Woodbridge, a meet that had several of her future NXN opponents on the course with her. The Lowell, CBU and Riverside Invitationals were all victories and the Big 8 league ended without a loss as well. She was the CIF D1 runner up and then pulled that feat off again the next week in Fresno, punching her ticket for NXN in the process. “Before this season, when it came to NXN, I would have been like ‘Maybe in a couple of years.’ It means so much” she told

Through it all, as the accolades and attention began to build, she remained humble and gracious, quick to give thanks and spread the credit around. In the big season surge, she never lost sight of her teammates, helping and encouraging them to rise with her. And they did, the team finished sixth at the State Championships.

Remarkably, there in Oregon, Lauren’s joyous humility remained even in the midst of hundreds of friends who used social media and text to shout out props for a race in which she placed ahead of every Californian and ran in such a way that it looked like going big on a national stage is something she’s used to.

“I was just hoping to place in the top 40 so I could have a doughnut” she laughed.

While Portland’s famous Voodoo doughnuts may have been a tasty reward, the NXN experience was even better. Nike pulled out all the stops, flying 400 teenagers from across the country into Portland for three days of fun and pampering. Adorned from head to toe with designer Nike gear each runner received, the athletes met current Olympic athletes, hung out at the stunning Nike World Headquarters and were treated to perks usually reserved for the pro athletes they got to meet.

It would be understandable amid all of the swag and star-sightings (on Friday night Lauren was randomly selected from all 400 student-athletes for a “selfie” with seven Olympians that danced across the twitter-verse for a couple of days) that the race would be an after thought. But true to her form, race-day came and Lauren went about her business of racing with a poise that is beyond her years.

While the eventual race winner Brie Oakley (Grandview, CO) went out to a large lead and never relinquished it, Lauren settled into the chase pack and stayed in that group of 25 (in a field of 200) for the duration of the 5k course (3.1 miles). The championship course was exactly that. It meandered across the Glendoveer golf course beneath towering pines and over gently rolling terrain. With her new Nike spikes digging into the turf and mud, she made the most of her first National Championship race and crossed the line to finish her season with a race and a memory that she’ll likely not soon forget.

Portland Oregon is a long way from Riverside. It’s different in almost every way. Which perhaps makes it the perfect place to end Lauren’s 2016 season which was as different from 2015 as a national championship is from a league race.

If you don’t believe it, just ask Lauren. You’ll recognize her. She’s the one covered in a smile and some Portland mud.



Sunday, November 27
Lauren Peurifoy and Rebekah Pendleton in the lead pack at 800 meters

FRESNO: The 30th annual California State Championship was held in near-perfect conditions Saturday at Woodward Park in Fresno.  Five CIF Divisional races saw hundreds of teams from across the state converge for a chance to compete on the sport's biggest stage.  King's girls -- a team few would have predicted five months ago to be among that number -- took the line in the Division 1 race and came away with a stunning 6th place finish in the field of 23 teams.

Their race was the result of poise, tenacity and faithful preparation.  With several nationally ranked teams pulling the pace along, the race went out fast and the girls from King gamely went with it.

The results were fantastic.

Lauren Peurifoy, who has had an individual season like few others in the state this season, went into the race ranked 2nd, behind Southern Section champion Chloe Arriaga of Walnut.  The two immediately went to the lead  along with an escort of Clovis-Buchanan and Davis runners, crossing by the mile mark in 5:22.  Lauren held that leading position until there was less than a quarter mile to go when Olivia O'Keefe from Davis made a big move to the lead.  Lauren's kick brought her back close, but she ran out of real estate and finished second by less than a second, the State Runner up.  O'Keefe boasts of some serious lineage, her's is the third State title in the family.

Behind her, equally incredible races were happening to her teammates.  In the absence of Kathryn Hammar - King's #2-3 girl all season before a broken foot sidelined her two weeks ago - the rest of the scorers were doing great work.  Rebekah Pendleton charged across the 5K course and ran perhaps her best race of her four years.  Her 18:23 time was the fifth fastest King mark in our history on that course, but more importantly, she scored in the two-spot in 27th place, 23rd in the scoring.  It was a massive effort by the girl whose fire and passion fueled the team all season.  

Kela Mavhera - just a freshman - ran like a veteran, posting King's 10th fastest all time mark at Woodward Park at 19:13.  A tremendous race!  It was Allison Janes' close finish right behind Kela - just three spots - that seemed to have nudged the team into that 6th place finish.  While the score is an accumulation of five runners, Allison kicked past five runners in the last thirty meters of the race!  King would ultimately finish ahead of Vista Murrieta by one point!  Allison's 19:14 time is the 12th fastest all time for King.  

Amanda Sosa was the fifth scorer, also posting a time on King's all-time Woodward Park list (#23), and racing a second studly effort in the last two weeks to finish the scoring for the team in excellent fashion.  Joelle Ramos and Skylar Smith also raced well in the 6-7 spots, both finishing with outstanding races in 125th and 126th place respectively, in a field of 199 runners.

The team finished with 242 points, ahead of Southern Section and IE rivals Vista Murrieta and Yucaipa, both of which bested King in the Southern Section finals last week in Riverside.   The girls entered the contest ranked 9th in the division state-wide, seventh in the Southern Section alone, and came out of the race in 6th.  Magical indeed!  

Historic as well.  The last time King sent a full girls squad to State was in 2009, coincidentally, the team current coach Carrie Soholt raced on.  That year, the team finished 12th. This year's squad ran a 94:15 team time (combined times of the first five finishers), setting a new 5K course team time school record and eclipsing the 2009 squad's time by 1:30!   Statistically, this group is the fastest and most accomplished team in King High's 18 year history. 

The California State meet also serves as a qualifying race for the prestigious Nike Cross Nationals (NXN) meet held December 3 in Portland, OR.  Lauren's time of 17:29 was the seventh fastest time of the entire day with all five races combined.  Her accomplishment garnered her an invitation from Nike to compete in NXN.  She becomes the first girl in King's history to earn such an honor, and the first runner since Lane Werley competed at Nike twice in 2009 and 2010.  Her Runner Up finish is also the highest State finish of any King runner of either gender in the school's history.

Indeed, history tends to put things in perspective.  An unheralded group back in June, this team came together with some faith in the possibility of big things ... even bigger things than most dared expect.  They worked hard, improved, and tenaciously hung together through the dog-days of October.   When adversity struck in the form of injury, they refused to be swayed and instead demonstrated a greater poise than they had ever shown.  With integrity, they encouraged each other and remained focused through a long, grinding season with no guarantees of anything in the future.  They clung to the faith that it could work out if they just kept at it.

And then there they all were on Saturday at the State Championships, drenched in sweat and smiling from ear-to-ear, basking in a magical ending to what was an historic season.

Results   XC Stats   Photo Gallery    The Press Enterprise story   Woodward Park All Time List

Saturday, November 19

The CIF Finals were held in Riverside, the first time in over 30 years that the meet has been run on terrain other than the storied layout of Mt.SAC.  

The change of venue - and the course itself - has been a topic of conversation, garnering much of the story in the preceding weeks as coaches and fans alike debated the merits and demerits of changing venues.

The cross-town drive for King was a welcome convenience, but the meet itself gave the Wolves an opportunity to write a new story of their own.

While racing at CIF Finals is an annual goal and target for the King program, given where the teams were at coming out of 2015, such an accomplishment here in '16 was certainly going to be nothing short of challenging.  

As has been noted previously, this year's boys team was made up almost entirely of a group that had essentially no varsity level experience before the first race back in September, the Cool Breeze Invitational in Pasadena.  But to their credit, they put aside that reality and began moving toward the goal, one week at a time.  

In a field of 24 teams at Finals, the team entered with a seeding in the top 20.  The race went out fast and King's top scoring group, Jonathan Moncada, Mario Machuca, Chris Barba and Austin Dai positioned themselves appropriately.  Moncada was leading the group finishing 58th overall, just off his course PR in 15:38. Mario Machuca capped off his four years with a PR of 15:46, running a really nice effort. Austin Dai PR'd as well to finish his last high school race, taking third for King in 119th place. Chris Barba was right behind him and Aman Rana was there also, just two seconds back to finish the scoring at 495 points for 21st place.  Cameron Boydd was the sixth runner for King and Andrew Simpson, restrained by a leg injury that significantly limited his ability and mobility was seventh for King.

The team was victorious though, for given where they were last year, this race symbolized a tremendous advance and accomplishment.  To move from the JV ranks into the elite teams of the Southern Section is no small thing.

While the girls brought five experienced varsity runners into 2016, this year has been a transformation for them as well.  In 2015, they bowed out at Prelims, missing a spot on the Finals starting line by one place.  

But 2016 has been a year for these girls to write a different story, just like the boys have. Their fifth place finish at September's Cool Breeze Invitational seemed to be the first hint at what a year of growth can do. From that race they earned a ranking in the top 6 of the Southern Section Division 1 and began thinking and talking openly about a goal to make State.   Why not? It's a new year.

But adversity reared it's head just two days before Finals when it was diagnosed that Kathryn Hammar -- , whose contribution to the team's success this season has been almost immeasurable -- had a stress fracture in her foot, requiring a cast. Undeterred, the group came around their hurting teammate with compassion and support, and then steeled themselves with resolve to make it to State anyway. For Kathryn, for each other.  

Kathryn's contribution continued on race day, even with her leg in a cast.  With a handwritten card for each teammate, she made her move toward State not with her legs, but with her hands and heart.  That gesture of incredile integrity, was accompanied by similar hand-written notes from senior Carolina Avalos, lovingly wishing the girls the best of outcomes.  

With hearts full, all that was needed was to race.

And race they did.  Lauren Peurifoy, ranked second individually in the Division going in, showed again what a different runner she is this year from last. From the gun, she and Walnut's Chloe Arriaga set the pace for all others, coming by the mile Lauren did, at 5:22! She held on despite the burn to finish in 2nd place, the CIF Runner up at 16:56 and over two minutes faster than she did last year at Prelims.  Her finish is the highest of any King girl at CIF Finals in our 18 year history.  

Behind her, her teammates were running with purpose and resolve.  The mid race score had King in 6th place, one ahead of the final State berth.  Rebekah Pendleton, another key returner who has helped transform this team, was putting down one of her best races of her career.  She finished with a 35 second improvement off her course best at 17:46, but more importantly, was a very important low score of 18 points.  Freshman Kela Mavhera ran great again in the third-spot, dropping a 22 second improvement, while Allison Janes ran a course PR of 12 seconds in 74th.  Closing the door on the scoring and doing so in an inspiring way was Amanda Sosa.  Amanda has struggled all season, but stepped up in a huge way to finish 5th for the Wolves, running a course PR, and being a difference maker in the advance to State.  How wonderful, and what a testimony to not giving up!  Joelle Ramos and Ashley Haring were the 6th and 7th place runners for King to advance their careers and carve out some valuable experience.  Collectively, the team ran the second-fastest team time in school history, just behind their own school record set at Woodbridge this year.

Life is all about taking what you've experienced and then growing and learning from it.  The past for these two teams is now dramatically different than their present.  We'd like to believe that is due, in part, to the faithFULL pursuit of excellence that leaves the past behind and aims for big targets and full rewards.  

For the boys, that sweet reward was going from JV to Finals in a single year.  For the girls, their reward is State, which is a long way from the good league team they were in 2015.

Amazing what a difference a year can make.

Results:  Boys  Girls  Photo Gallery 



Saturday, November 12
For the first time in six seasons, both of the cross country teams punched their tickets for the CIF Finals. On a warm morning at the Riverside City Course, the teams competed in one of three heats for their Division, looking for a top-8 finish which would put them into the coveted CIF Finals to be held November 19.

The boys were the first to go and their presence in the meet was of much interest. This team, as has been noted, lacked any varsity experience when the season started. Of the seven who toed the line, only one, Jonathan Moncada had ever competed in the CIF Championships. Jonathan was brought up for the Prelims last year but did not compete in the Finals.

So this was a rookie group of sorts. But they didn't race that way.

Executing their strength - pack racing - the top five racers settled into a nice group in the upper third of the field, crossing the mile mark at 5:09. Over the last two miles that pack would break up slightly, with Moncada leading the charge, but they were able to hang together well enough as Andrew Simpson, Chris Barba, Austin Dai and Mario Machuca finished within eight points of each other. All five guys crossed the line under 42nd place and gave the team the needed points to secure 6th place (of 20 teams) and a spot next week at the CIF D1 Finals.

The 2016 girls' team has been a different story than the boys, in that they came in with a host of returning varsity runners and have been ranked 5th all season in Division One. A qualifying standard of eight teams in their heat at Prelims gave the team a sense of security that a very bad day would be required to somehow miss the opportunity.

But they didn't have a bad day. Far from it.

Racing without normal low-scoring Kathryn Hammar, the team worked well in her absence. Lauren Peurifoy won the race easily and Rebekah Pendleton finished seventh. Freshman Kela Mahvera had another great race in 21st place. But whatever was missing from Kathryn's absence seemed to have been made up in the stellar race by Allison Janes who closed the usual gap behind Kela to just a sliver, 5 places. Joelle Ramos moved up nicely, despite an aggravating head cold to finish the scoring. The team finished with 100 points, exactly in the spot - second place - that was predicted with the number-2 ranked Arcadia High School also in the heat. Arcadia won with 76 points.

So it was a two-fer for King. Six years have passed since both squads were able to advance to CIF Finals in the same season, making the accomplishment a sweet one. It is the result of a faithful pursuit of excellence. This is the third straight year for the boys making Finals; the girls were last at Finals in 2013. Finally, underscoring the quality of the Big 8 league, all three boys teams and all three girls teams that moved on from the league level qualified for the CIF Finals.

 Results     Girls     Boys    Photo Gallery 

Wednesday, November 2

At Andulka Park in Riverside, the girls from King won the school's 13th league title and did it in undefeated fashion.  

One might say it was a “Peur-fect” ending to the league season as the victory was spearheaded by sophomore Lauren Peurifoy who remained undefeated in league this season.

She earned the League MVP honor by winning the race and made some personal amends for a disappointing 24th place finish last season as a freshman. That lesson in 2015 was a great teacher here in 2016.  

"It motivated me to push through the pain in my legs" she said afterward, though to many observers, the brisk pace she held over the 2.9 miles seemed to be effortless. She finished in 16:42, an average of 5:46 per mile. 

Cross Country is the ultimate of team sports however, and Lauren's low point needed a strong team effort behind her to secure the championship. And that is exactly what the group did.  

Freshman Kela Mahvera had a monster race, dropping 38 seconds from her course best and finishing in 4th overall. Senior Rebekah Pendleton looked just as strong with a 25 second improvement to finish 3rd, the  

highest finish of her four year career.  Kathryn Hammar battled heroically through a nagging foot injury to finish in 10th and Allison Janes posted a 29 second course improvement to finish in 12th.  All five scorers were therefore in the top 12 and put up an impressive 30 points to Santiago's 53. Amanda Sosa and Joelle Ramos were 6th and 7th for King respectively, and like their teammates, they improved dramatically on the course from six weeks ago.   It was truly an excellent performance by all seven racers.

Lauren's MVP, league title race was 11th time a girl from King has earned the accolade; the last time was in 2013 when Ruth Wiggins pulled it off.   


The 2016 version of the Big 8 is as good as its ever been, and the 2016 varsity team of King is as inexperienced as its ever been.  Not one of this year's team had any varsity experience prior to the season and so had to learn as they went.  Catching up to the horses of the Big 8 league is no small task.  It takes a faithful dedication to the integrity of good training, and this year's team of boys from King made a strong effort to do just that.  

Behind the CIF third-ranked team of Roosevelt, King's Seven had finished in second the last two races, just a handful of points ahead of Corona.

In this Final, the race took on great urgency in the opening half-mile, as the pace quickened in comparison to the prior tour of the Andulka layout.  Both Santiago and Corona were right in the mix with King but the third mile belonged to Corona as they seemed to find another gear and moved up nicely over that span to snag second and move King into third.   Mario Machuca led the way for King before Andrew Simpson stepped to the fore over that final mile.  Both would finish nearly side-by-side in 12th and 13th for second-team All League honors.  Jon Moncada was next to cross the line in 15th, Austin Dai in 17th and Chris Barba, 18th.  That kind of packing of five scorers, just 35 seconds apart usually is enough to get a team a high finish.  But Corona was able to put two across the line ahead of Simpson and those lower points helped gain the Panthers an advantage and they beat King for second place by six points.  Garrett Vasta and Aman Rana were 6 and 7 for King and both ran improved on the course from the last time there.

Despite the third-place finish of this race, the final league standings leaves King tied for second with Corona based on the two previous contests in which King placed in front of Corona. King's boys have finished in the top two of league in all but two of King's 18 years of existence.  


Both the JV teams were runners-up.  The girls were led by freshman Ashley Haring who finished second overall with a really fine race and PR of 1:06 for the course.  Skylar Smith was next across the line, followed by Jenna Bernath, Mackenzie Peters and Monica Cervantes to finish the scoring.  Arianna Runyan, Skye Hutchinson, and Faith Chick completed the race in the top 21 to earn medals for their efforts.

The boys second-place finish was paced by Cameron Boydd in seventh while Dathan Chann and Daniel Lopez finished in 9th and 10th respectively, both with times that were faster than the last race at Andulka. Roman Hernandez, freshman Nikko Guzman and Jose Cervantes were also able to finish in the top 21 to earn a medal.

So the 2016 league season ends well.  All four teams finished in the top two places of the Big 8.  The varsity teams will now move on to CIF, in which they hope to place high enough at the November 11th preliminaries to earn a spot at the CIF Finals. 




Saturday, October 22
riverside 2016

The third annual Riverside Invitational brought in close to 50 schools, including several ranked teams trying to get a course preview and learn its nuances prior to the coming CIF Prelims and Finals that will be held on the location.

For the ladies, ranked sixth in CIF Division 1, they were greeted by some stiff competition from within and without the division that was a welcome challenge after about a month of competition that really hasn't tested them. Lauren Peurifoy was again dazzling, as she took the lead from Erika Adler of Northwood-Irvine after the mile mark and never relinquished it.  She had a 15 second advantage at the finish line, running a course PR of 17:07 to win and lead the team to a third-place finish.  Yucaipa, one of the best in Southern California and D3 power Northwood took first and second while the girls from King ran very well and scored 93 points for third, well ahead of ranked Long Beach Poly.  Kathryn Hammar had another great race - something she's done a lot of this season - finishing in sixth and sub 18:00 for the three mile course. It was her second-fastest 3 mile time of her career. Her dramatic improvement over last year, like that of Lauren's is a big reason the girls team is where it's at in CIF.  Rebekah Pendleton was 11th with a solid rebound race from the last time on the course, Kela Mahvera was 34th and Allison Janes wrapped up the scoring in 43rd. Their team time of 91:07 (combined times of first five finishers) was second on King's all time list only to this same group's school record set back in September at Woodbridge.  Joelle Ramos and Mackenzie Peters both had PR efforts to finish out the varsity team.

The boys varsity was missing a usual front man Mario Machuca who was taking an academic test, but the boys passed their athletic test with a great collective effort, finishing 7th overall. Jonathan Moncada and Chris Barba had strong races in 24th and 25th place respectively.  Barba dropped 26 seconds from two weeks ago on the course.  Andrew Simpson and Austin Dai were the next two across the line, both racing well and Cameron Boydd scored in the 5th spot for King for the first time this season.  Aman Rana and Garrett Vasta were 6th and 7th for the team. With sixteen teams in the race, the team's 7th place finish without Mario was a very good finish for the team.

The JV and frosh-soph races were full of individual efforts that made the morning one to remember for dozens of King runners. In fact, there were a number of high-fives and smiles after the races concluded as teammates showed great integrity by celebrating each others' achievements.  Matt Somody had a nice course PR, while senior Austin Adams ran his last invitational of high school with a great effort that netted a 1:40 improvement on the course from the last time King was on it. Riley Figurate also had a significant improvement off the prior race on the course.  Roman Hernandez and Tony Lorenz also had nice improvements. Michael Munoz had a really good race, leading the frosh-soph squad. Jose Cervantes also had a good drop in time.  Daniel Wilbert improved almost 90 seconds on the course as well! In all, there were 42 King runners who had a course, season or personal goal accomplished on the day.

It wasn't just the guys who finished with excellence though, the girls had a great day as well. Faith Chick continued her improvements with a second great result in as many races. Sydney Grossi had a nice PR as well on the course. Sydney Magno made her season debut after a faithful rehab from a broken leg four months ago and smiled at the accomplishment as she cross the finish line. Amanda Sosa ran King's seventh-fastest time of the day to lead in the girls frosh soph race. In all, over half of the team surpassed their personal goal or course personal bests on the day.

With the meet, the conclusion of the 2016 season is upon them.  "FaithFULL" has been the goal and the challenge all season long.  The rewards of faithfulness are what every athlete pursues, and today, for many, the fullness of that pursuit seemed to come into focus.

Results   Boys   Girls   Photos

Friday, October 14

RESULTS:  Boys   Girls

EASTVALE:  In the second of the three Big 8 League meets, the outcome was deja vu all over again, as King placed identically to the first round three weeks ago. The girls varsity won, the boys varsity and both JV squads finished in second of the six schools.

Lauren Peurifoy ran out to an early lead over Centennial's Rylee Penn and never relinquished it, winning by a large margin, avering 5:50 per mile over the 2.97 mile course.  Kathryn Hammar, Rebekah Pendleton, Allison Janes - who had one of her best races of 2016 - and Kela Mahvera were the final scorers that helped move the varsity girls one step closer to the program's 13th league title if they remain faithful to this output of talent and competitivenss through the league final slated for November 1.

Roosevelt's boys are one of the fastest teams in CIF Division 1 and they showed it on Thursday running comfortably and putting most of their scorers across the line before some in the league had put one across. The King boys ran well, despite the lopsided score and finished in second, ten points ahead of Corona who was third.  Jonathan Moncada led the way for King, but a nice pack of Wolves finished close behind his 9th place finish, with Austin Dai in 10th, Mario Machuca in 11th, Christopher Barba in 16th and Aman Rana in 18th.

The JV races were exciting too.  In the girls contest Mackenzie Peters had the lead almost to the end before finishing second with a near-lifetime best race.  She led the scoring for King who finished with 39 points to Santiago's 30.  Given the 18 point gap between the two teams in the first race of the season, this was a nice improvement!  Also in the scoring was a great break through performance by Faith Chick who finished fourth for King and 13th overall with a lifetime best time for the distance! 

Andrew Simpson returned from a season-long injury to run well and lead the JV team that finished a distant second place to Roosevelt.  Dathan Chann had an excellent race, going 17:09 over the 2.97 mile course.  Statistically it was the third-fastest time of his career and he looked strong doing so!  Daniel Lopez was the third runner for the Wolves. Michael Munoz and freshman Nikko Guzman were the final two scorers for King. 

The early weeks of October are always the toughest of a cross country season.  In that challenging span, the sport acts like a teacher of sorts, forcing its students to learn about tenacity, persistence and commitment.   Competing well in the face of adversity and strong opponents like those the Big 8 serves up each season, takes resolve and an integrity of will that won't crack.  

With just two races left before CIF begins, the question will be just how committed the 2016 teams will be to finish well and keep on keeping on. 

Saturday, October 8
girls team 2016 cbu

The CBU Lancer Classic, hosted in part by King High School moved to its third location in six seasons and held occupancy at the Riverside City Course.  After a bye-week, King welcomed the opportunity to race again and took well to the competition of fifteen schools; so much so that they were complemented by a Chaparral High coach for their character and integrity as they cheered for athletes from other schools. 

The girls varsity was victorious, winning handily over Chaparral.  Lauren Peurifoy was unchallenged over the 3.0 mile race, winning it from wire to wire.  Kathryn Hammar had a very good race to finish second and was followed by Rebekah Pendleton, Allison Janes and Joelle Ramos, all of whom scored for the Wolves.  Amanda Sosa, Mackenzie Peters and Skye Smith also competed in the varsity race.  Kathryn Hammar - who raced only three times in 2015 due to injury - showed what perseverance is all about with a 3:45 improvement on the course over last year.  Mackenzie was 1:49 faster than 2015, Lauren 1:41 ahead and Skye dropped 44 seconds from a year ago.  Impressive improvements!

The boys were not at full strength, but that just allowed some younger guys to move up and experience the varsity level for the first time.  The pursuit of excellence is not dependent on what the starting lineup looks like!  

Dathan Chann and Michael Munoz were two sophomores who toed the varsity line for the first time and did very well in their debut; Dathan finishing seventh for the squad.   Up front, Aman Rana was hard-charging and led the Wolves for most of the race before relinquishing to Mario Machuca who finished six seconds in front of Aman, while they both finished in the top ten overall. Chris Barba, Austin Dai were nicely placed near each other making a good "pack attack" by the front four.  Garrett Vasta, who has faithfully trained all season without missing one workout, finished the scoring set and brought the team in across in second place behind Long Beach Poly.  Cameron Boydd was sixth for the Wolves followed by Chann, Munoz and Daniel Lopez.

Long Beach Poly ran away from the field in the boys frosh soph, but King was gamefully in second and with a few of the normal frosh-soph leaders in the varsity race, the younger boys did a great job.  Matthew Castro looked very confident in 9th place, but a solid pack of freshman Nikko Guzman, Jose Cervantes and Jacob Haas all finished in a line with Jacob Call only seconds back from them with a sub 18:00 time.  It was a very good team effort.

Ashley Haring was third in the girls frosh soph race; a race that fellow freshman Jenna Bernath led for some time.  Jenna would finish in sixth and was followed by Faith Chick, Sydney Grossi and Lydia Xu.  Together, the five scorers combined for 48 points, but the race was won by Riverside Poly with 44.  The race ended up being 2.8 miles in length as the leaders were led to a shorter path to the finish than the course was designed for.  Still, despite the truncated distance, this group of young runners did quite well!

The JV races unfortunately started just as the temperatures were getting quite warm, but that didn't seem to affect Carolina Avalos who ran 1:25 faster on the course than she did a year ago to win the race. It is likely the best race the senior has ever had!  Carissa Avila ran well too, finishing just her second race of the year and doing well.  Her time of 21:35 was 1:33 ahead of 2015.  Connor Sharp was 18th overall with another fine effort. 

While the CBU Lancer-King Classic isn't a "headliner" of invitationals, it was a good fit for King coming off a week of rest and just five days before the second Big 8 League meet.  Learning how to compete well regardless of the circumstances, or the "buzz" a meet may -- or may not -- create is an important part of the process. 

Results   Boys  Girls 

Friday, September 23
King hosted the opening meet of the Big 8 Cross Country season in a format in which all six schools compete simultaneously in four level races, girls JV and varsity, and boys JV and varsity. The races were held at Riverside’s beautiful Andulka Park and featured a 2.9 mile course that was spectator friendly while the harriers traversed a grassy course in a great setting.

The varsity races headlined two highly ranked CIF teams; the boys of Roosevelt entered the meet the number-three team in Division One while the girls of King toed the line the #5 team in the Division.

Following the amazing lead of sophomore Lauren Peurifoy, the King girls are a team unlike any King has had in decade. Peurifoy and the group have been rewriting the record books and have improved dramatically from 2015. Lauren ran easily at the front and gapped her nearest opponent by a large margin by the mid-mark which allowed her to easily cover the last half of the race. Kathryn Hammar, who was injured all of the 2015 campaign showed what patience through adversity can do, as she roared to a third place finish with an outstanding race. Rebekah Pendleton, 9th grader Kela Mavhera and Allison Janes finished out the scoring five and ended the meet with a 28-53 advantage over Roosevelt, with Santiago, Centennial, Corona and Norco following behind.

The Roosevelt Broncos galloped away from the field in the boys race and won easily; making the race for second place a strong battle between King and Corona. King prevailed on a solid pack attack, placing all five scorers in front of Corona’s 4th scorer and all seven racers in front of the Panthers’ last scorer as well. Mario Machuca had another fine race to lead the Wolves, followed by Jonathan Moncada, Austin Dai, Aman Rana, and Garrett Vasta.

The JV boys lost a nail-biter with Roosevelt prevailing by a single point 34-35.  Still, the team ran a terrific second-half of the race, even taking the lead for some time before relinquishing it to Roosevelt at the line.

Daniel Lopez, Roman Hernandez and Dathan Chann were the top three scorers for the Wolves. On the girls JV side, Joelle Ramos was the leading runner for King in a team race that saw Santiago win the race with relative ease.

This was the second year and the second race on the course, allowing for great comparisons of what a year of hard work and growth can accomplish.

Of the 83 athletes on the cross country roster (both genders), 30 athletes had the opportunity to look over their historical shoulders and aim at a personal record (PR) on the Andulka Park layout. Of those 30, 26 came home with PR’s; a number of them were by quite a margin. Isaiah Cunningham dropped 3:00 off his 2015 time, Jacob Haas 2:52, Matthew Castro 2:26; Brendan Belknapp 2:26, Jefrey Ortiz 2:22.

On the varsity level, Mario Machuca and Garrett Vasta improved 1:29 and 1:17 respectively. 

The girls had just as fine a day. Junior Chloe Morris improved a huge 3:46; Peurifoy 2:36; Carolina Avalos 1:51, and Faith Chick 1:40.

Aerobic sports take an immense of patience, faithfully applied for a long time. Improvement comes, but the work must be in place and time must elapse before the sweet reward is tasted.

For the King Cross Country teams, that sweet reward took some of the bitter taste away from the scores that put other teams ahead of them in the first of the Big 8 meets in 2016.

Results      Team Scores

Sunday, September 18

NORCO:  The King cross country teams contested the large, competitive and popular Woodbridge Invitational for the second-straight year on Saturday.  The historic Orange County meet was for the first time hosted in Norco and the short drive to face great competition was certainly a draw.

The meet is also known for starting in the late afternoon and fnishing under the lights. Dozens of races of all levels are held throughout two days of racing, and are capped off with super-talented "Sweepstakes" varsity races that boast many of the top schools in Southern California and from other states.  Under that spotlight, teams are bathed in light and can see clearly the areas of strength and ways to improve.  

King's girls varsity, which is enjoying one of the best starts to a season in many years, found themselves in that very "sweeps" race and showed poise amid some extremely fast racing (the winner finished under 16:00 for three miles!) and the incredible hype of night-time competition.  Lauren Peurifoy continued her torrid racing with an 8th place finish and another dramatic drop to her own school record at 16:46 for three miles.  Rebekah Pendleton and Kathryn Hammar had two more personal records (PR's) and put themselves in the top four fastest senior runners in King History. Kela Mavhera made an improvement on her own freshman record and Allison Janes ran her fastest time ever to round out the scoring and finished off the first-ever sub 90:00 team time in school history!  They placed 9th (of 21) in the studded field.  Three of those teams were from other states, (AZ, TX, CO), which made a comparison against Southern Section and potential State rivals a bit more encouraging. 

The boys were in one of four varsity races and ran a terrific team effort that brought home the victory.  Mario Machuca, Austin Dai, Chris Barba and Jonathan Moncada were side by side with just over a mile to go and racing in the top 10 spots.  The final and fifth scorer Garrett Vasta made a strong move over the last five minutes of racing to push the team into victory, beating Clovis High School (Fresno) by 10 points.  The team time of 78:08 is the fourth fastest combination time (top five finishers) in school history.

While Woodbridge unapologetically highlights the varsity races at the end of the evening, it also keeps a competitive arena alive with grade level races that non-varsity runners can excel in.  

For King's many younger and first-year athletes, those races were the perfect ground upon which to learn more about themselves, the sport and the pursuit of excellence.  Mackenzie Peters found herself near the lead of the sophomore race, an experience she's never had before at the high school level, and finished 6th overall.  Joelle Ramos had a good performance to lead the JV squad, while Jenna Bernath led the way for the freshmen. The boys had a good day in the grade level racing. 

 First year sophomore Michael Munoz  had a breakthrough race to finish second for the Wolves in the sophomore race behind the good racing of Roman Hernandez.  Munoz's time was the 9th fast of all King runners on the day, Hernandez had the number-eight mark overall for King.   Nikko Guzman made his season debut with a leading 18:18 mark for the freshman team. Connor Sharp in the junior race continued his improvement with an 18:01 race, the fastest three-mile time he's ever run.

Woodbridge's lights serve a bit like spotlights. Against thousands of other runners, many of them quite good, the King kids were given a view of what is possible by high school runners.  Excellence in the sport is clearly on display and certainly draws a greater hunger by some as they aspire to bigger performances.  The spotlight can also reveal weaknesses, areas that need improvement. The lights that shined down on the King cross country program Saturday night illuminated both and will compel the athletes to remain faithful to pursuing their potential in the remaining weeks of the 2016 season.

 Results   Photo Gallery  Updated all time records

Sunday, September 11
peur-pendleton lowell16

The plan since last May had been to travel to Monterey’s “Early Bird Invitational” but brush fires in the last two weeks precipitated the host school canceling the meet and leaving King searching for a “back up plan”.

Fortunately for the 52 athletes scheduled to make the trip, the Lowell Invitational in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park was slated for the same day and a quick request to get a late add was granted.  Plan B was set in motion and King extended their trip 120 miles further north to compete in the meet for the third time in the last decade.

The Lowell Invitational certainly doesn’t meet the criteria of any so-called Plan B or "back up". One could argue that the course, weather and grandeur of the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco is one of the best settings in all the state for a cross country invitational. The 44th running of the invitational here is 2016 was no exception.

Into that environment King brought their A game and after 6 divisional races in which the King Wolves competed well, a number of the members of the King High contingent were fielding the question from spectators and athletes alike: “where is King from?”

The freshmen boys were the first off the line, racing over a 2.1 mile distance. Austin Fortenberry led for King with an 18th place finish and a medal awarded for his effort with Tommy Lu coming across second for King. The team of precocious 9th graders, finished 8th out of 20 teams in the race. Hector Ruvalcaba and Aiden Garcia were next while Mitchel Machuca and Luis Kekula were the final scorers. Jenna Bernath, Mackenzie Peters and Ashley Haring were among the leaders of the girls’ frosh-soph race and the three ran in the top 20 places of the field throughout the race and finished 17-18-23 respectively; all with very nice races. Lydia Xu, Sydney Grossi and Arianna Runyan rounded out the scoring to take the team to 7th place of 24 teams. These young ladies gained great experience as they learn the sport of cross country.

Roman Hernandez, Daniel Lopez and Dathan Chann asserted themselves in the sophomore race right from the gun and as a result they pulled their teammates to a commanding victory that saw a margin over second place of 41 points. Hernandez was 4th overall, Lopez was right on his heels in 5th and Chann crossed in 9th. Joseph Landeros and Matthew Castro were the final two scorers but their low points (22, 24) made the team victory a visible reality that spawned the aforementioned questions from spectators … “where are you from?”

Once the freshmen and sophomore races were complete, the course was changed to its 2.93 mile version and the varsity and JV races were on. The A-game of King kept rolling with a tremendous team win in the girls’ varsity contest.  Lauren Peurifoy, who is perhaps the most improved runner in the state, showed her Northern Cal neighbors what So-Cal was introduced to last week in the Cool Breeze invitational.

Midway through the race she went past the pre-meet favorite Niki Iyer from Harker High - a young lady who was third in the State 3200 meter track final last June -- and scampered away to win by 21 seconds in 17:08, the second fastest time in the history of the course! Equally impressive was the racing going on behind her. Rebekah Pendleton finished 4th and showed she means business in this, her senior season. Fellow senior Kathryn Hammar who spent most of 2015 working out of an injury, put down another great race to cross the line in 7th. Allison Janes was next and was followed by sophomore Amanda Sosa to finish the scoring group and by 22 points over St. Francis. 22 teams scored, and Joelle Ramos and Skye Smith at 6-7 for the Wolves were faster than the 6-7 finishers of all but one of those teams. Great depth on display!

King’s boys are new to the varsity level this season as the 2015 squad was made up entirely of seniors. So this group who is getting a bit of “baptism by fire” in 2016 is having to figure out how to compete at a higher level than they did in the past. Plan A is to dive right in and that’s what they did. With last week’s top runner, Andrew Simpson not racing due to injury, the group stepped up nicely with Mario Machuca leading in 10th place, looking very strong in the process. He was followed by Chris Barba and Austin Dai who have been training well for this moment and it would appear they are capitalizing off that faithful preparation. Jonathan Moncada had a very nice race to finish as King’s number-four while sophomore Garrett Vasta nailed a terrific second half of the race, moving up nicely to finish just steps behind Moncada. Newcomer to the sport, Cameron Boydd was 50th in a field of 2016. These “rookie” varsity runners again showed tremendous poise on a big stage and finished second behind Palo Alto. In the JV races, Carolina Avalos was the first for King to cross the line in the girls’ race, junior Chloe Morris was all smiles after her very gratifying personal performance. Fellow juniors Karissa Bardin, Carissa Avila and Alexandria Cobb all had solid performance. Brandon Villacres and Connor Sharp were the only two King runners in the boys JV race and both had really good races.

Following the team celebration over such fine performances, the 52 kids from King got to see and pose for pictures at the famed Golden Gate Bridge and enjoy dinner, the sights and shopping at Peir 39 which was humming with like-minded tourists. If you have to fall back to Plan B, San Francisco surely isn’t a bad option. Making it even better is when the teams can bring their A Game to the venue, leaving many wondering, “Where are you from?”

Results  Full Meet Results  Photo Gallery story

Sunday, September 4

King kicked off their season at the "Cool Breeze Invitational" hosted by Claremont High School on the beautiful golf course next to Pasadena's Rose Bowl.  It was the first time for the program, attracted by the late afternoon start and a conclusion under lights for races in the cool breezes of the Pacific.  The setting and weather produced a record setting run for the girls varsity and good early-season marks for the entire team.

Sophomore Lauren Peurifoy who has been training faithfully all summer and with great motivation, showed what a solid summer of work can do as she catapulted herself to a 4th place finish in the fastest varsity race of the day but also to the top of King's record books.  Her time of 16:59 over three miles crushed the old school record at 3 miles of 17:17 set back in 2010 and is over two minutes faster than Lauren's best mark in 2015!  Lauren's scorching run set the table for her teammates to follow and collectively, the top five scorers of Peurifoy, Rebekah Pendleton, Kela Mahvera, Kathryn Hammar and Allison Janes ran a school record team time (cumulative times of the first five finishers for the team) at 91:25.  The girls finished 5th out of 25 teams.  Pendleton's 18:08 was number-4 all time on the senior list, Mahvera's 18:30 set a King record for freshmen all time.  Indeed, it was a record-setting run for the ladies!

The varsity boys are a "new team" as the 2015 squad was made up completely of seniors which left this 2016 grouping in the frosh-soph or JV ranks a campaign ago.  But with the new season comes a new responsibility of handling the varsity level of work, commitment and race-day competition regardless of the background.  The program's pursuit of excellence demands that each new team rise.

So, like the girls, this team was entered in the fastest race of the day and though very green to this setting, they handled themselves well under the lights and pressure of a big race. Led by Andrew Simpson, the team finished 11th of 29 teams and seemed to exhibit poise on this stage they have yet to get used to.  Mario Machuca and Chris Barba were the next across the line, followed by Austin Dai and Jonanthan Moncada to finish up the scoring.

King's two teams - boys and girls - were spread across 8 total races.  The freshmen girls were led with nice debuts by Ashley Haring and Jenna Bernath.  For the boys' Austin Fortenberry and Luke Freese were the top two freshmen for the Wolves.  At the JV level, Aman Rana had the 8th fastest King mark on the day to lead that group.  Dathan Chann and Roman Hernandez looked very strong and determined in the sophomore boys' race, while Arianna Runyan started her rookie season in style with a 15th place finish in the sophomore girls race.

The first meet of the season got off to a good start. With records set by the ladies and strong, competitive efforts spread evenly across the lineups for King, the Cool Breeze Invitational may just prove to be the wind in the sails of the team as they head deeper into the seaon of 2016.

Results   Meet results (check out your second lap movement!!)     Photos 


King Cross Country


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