The Panthers 2018 invitational season was completed on Saturday at the Mariner Invitational. The meet, hosted by Moreau Catholic High School but contested at Hayward High School, was a huge affair that featured over 1,500 runners in 8 different races. The race is run on the site that the North Coast Section Championships will be run next month so the meet attracts many of the top teams from around the NCS.
For the Panthers, sophomore co-captain Olivia Lawson was the day’s top performer. Olivia placed 15th in the frosh-soph girls race, running a lifetime best 20:38 on the championship course. She finished :37 seconds ahead of Eliza Pease (22:15), with Simone Rogers (23:15) third on the team. Ashley Robarts (23:56) fought off a tad of injury and illness to finish 4th for Saint Mary’s and the sophomore quartet.
The other top finisher of the day was by freshman stand-out Jeffrey Norris. Jeffrey, running in a very fast…very competitive frosh-soph race, ran a lifetime best 17:33 for the 3 mile course. His time was :35 seconds faster than the race he ran on the same course a month ago. Fellow freshman Ryan Painter was 2nd on the team… running 18:54. A trio of freshmen runners followed – Julian Retana, Ryan Wong, and Dominic Storella – all receiving praise from coach Rob Riccardi afterwards.
“I’m really happy these guys came out today to compete. Most of them have never run a 3 mile race and could have easily opted out. Instead, they showed up to what we knew would be a very competitive race and competed hard. I’m proud of those five guys today.”
Likewise, the varsity boys race featured the top runner in California and many of the top runners and teams from around the NCS. “The race was very, very fast,” quipped coach Jeff Rogers. “28 guys ran under 16:00 minutes and 5 guys ran under 15:00 minutes! That’s fast!”
Sophomore Riley Hartney, recently named Athlete of the Week by the Saint Mary’s Athletic Department, seems to be finding his pace and rhythm late in the season. He finished 1st on the team once again… this time posting a PR 17:09. Brothers Zander and Zax Lieske ran virtually neck and neck the entire race… finishing in 17:18 and 17:19 respectively. Max Emerling crossed the line next, with senior Nic Lauxman running his best race of the year to finish just behind Max in 18:24.
Lastly, it must be noted that the top performance of the day most certainly goes to coach Rob Riccardi who won the coaches 2.0 mile race in an impressive 10:08. Running 5:17 for the first mile and in 2nd place, coach Riccardi called upon his inner-most Panther spirit to storm to the front with 3 minutes to go in the race and charge home to victory. Congratulations coach Riccardi!
Next up for the Panthers is the final TCAL league meet against rival Albany. Both varsity teams are undefeated thus far and the meet will determine who wins the regular season league championship. The meet is on Thursday at Point Pinole Regional Park. The first race starts at 4:00.