On Saturday, the Panthers traveled to Half Moon Bay for the 48th annual Artichoke Invitational. Competing against teams ranging from Marysville in Northern California to Modesto in the Central Valley and Pacific Grove from the Santa Cruz area, the meet attracts a wide array of talent and depth the Panthers would have to contend with… along with the venerable “Cougar Hill.”
Highlighting the day for the Panthers were a quintet of boy medalists… led by freshmen Mateo Malko-Allen, Adrian Licea and Nico Laub-Sabater. Mateo, running in the freshmen boys race, took charge of the race ¾ of the way through and cruised to an :11 second victory. One observer pointed out that afterward, “he looked like he could run it again.” Teammate Adrian Licea, whose promise and talent have been highlighted again and again, finished 7th overall… while fellow freshman Nico Laub-Sabater – whose running experience now totals 1 month – placed 14th to garner himself a hard-earned medal.
Vale Johnson Vigeant and Jurgis Vass completed the 5 person scoring for the Panthers, who as a team finished 2nd overall. Other notables, according to coach Adalberto Gonzalez, were Jonathan Iglesias, Lukas Herz and Connor Deakin.
Joining the medal haul for the boys was sophomore Jeffrey Norris, whose had almost a :30 second PR on the course while finishing 21st amongst the 162 runners in the race.
The girls, many who experienced the gut-wrenching challenge of Cougar Hill for the first time, were equally impressive. Running in the girls freshmen-sophomore race, a pair of 9th graders showed off their mettle while walking away with medals. Summer Graham and Leiah Goode both climbed Cougar Hill fast enough to place them among the leaders in their race and among the best on the team. “Those two, along with Sofia Jackson, have emerged as three of the best 7 runners we have on the team right now,” said head coach Denis Mohun afterwards. “They are fearless and don’t seem to be afraid of a challenge. They needed that today when going up the hill.”
Sofia Jackson was 3rd on the team in the F/S race, while sophomore Mallory Boell continued her solid season finishing 4th for the Panthers. First year runners Julia Runyan, Cally McIntyre, Georgia Rogers, Taryn Fettig and Emilia Podesta also ran very well.
Junior Jordan Cornet was the 7th Panther of the day to earn some hardware. Running in the very-competitive varsity girls race, Jordan finished 12th overall while running almost a minute faster than she did a year ago. Teammate Olivia Lawson was next in 16:50, with fellow juniors Ashley Robarts and Simone Rogers rounding out the incomplete varsity squad. The varsity boys, also running an incomplete 4 man team, saw junior Zax Lieske as the day’s fastest… running 14:04.
Next up for the Panthers is the 2nd of 3 TCAL league meets at Point Pinole Regional Park on Thursday when they welcome El Cerrito, JF Kennedy and John Swett. First race is at 4:00 pm.