Cross Country Sweeps League


Nina Rogers, Lynsye Mendez, Farrah Gascoine, Melanie Falkowski, Morgan Zevnik, Tess Brobeck, Fiona McCue, Colette Reed, Zoe Carlton, Kaitlin Ryan, Morgan Falkowski, Sierra Read, Claire Anderson, Rylee Goode, Isabella Yencho, Rhiannon Seely, Middle: Abigail Kimball, Kirra Moore, Jessie Rose, Abigail Williams, Yuwa Tennen, Isabela Reichel, Audrey Sutton, Isabella Rivault, Meri Banos, Mara Williams, Sage Miller, Sydney Read , Bottom: Kate Maddux, Hannah Williams, Giovanna Palazzo, Meike Casolari, Sydney Schaefgen

Willie Rounaghi, Editor-In-Chief

At the Sunset League finals, the LBHS girls cross country team claimed their eighth consecutive league title. The Breakers, ranked 4th in Division 4, dominated their competition in the Wave League with the lowest score of 28; the next best score came from Huntington Beach, who trailed the Breakers by 31 points.

Despite joining the team half way through the season, junior Jessie Rose led the whole Sunset League field with a time of 18:00.3 minutes on the three-mile run.

“This year, I was planning on focusing on water polo, but I missed running too much. I came back to cross country half way through the season and knew nothing was going to come easy. I am working hard to get my racing form back, while still balancing water polo. The cross training, although sometimes difficult, has been working for me,” said Rose.

Senior Morgan Falkowski, who finished 2nd in the Wave League Meet, has had an impact on the team that goes beyond her fast times. Her leadership off the track along with the leadership of the other seniors has proved invaluable.

 “Sierra Read, Kaitlin Ryan and I are the seniors this year. We are role models on the team, and I believe we have set great examples of working hard, of not taking shortcuts and of being kind. Once we’re gone, I’m confident that the team will continue to build off of those examples,” said Falkowski.

While Rose and Falkowski contribute incredible finish times, it is the Laguna team’s depth that has set them apart from other teams. In cross country the top five runners’ placements are added up, so it is essential for a team to be well balanced. Among the Wave League teams with which Laguna competes, the Breakers had 4 of their 5 runners finish within the top 10 of the 26 runners.

The team, led by upperclassmen, has greatly benefited from the contributions of standout freshman Nina Rogers. She finished 6th in the meet, making her the 3rd fastest runner on the team. Her performances highlight the bright future she holds in this sport.

“Not only is she a great runner, but her speed also pushes each girl on the team to be faster. She’s only a freshman, so she has so much potential for the rest of her high school years. I wish I wasn’t graduating, so that I could stick around and see her progress to her senior year,” said Falkowski.

Although the girls program hasn’t reached the ultimate goal of bringing home a CIF or state title, the team has multiple top ten finishes in the last several years, including placing 2nd in State in 2013 and 4th in State in 2014. This consistent success points to the persisting positive culture of the team set by head coach Steve Lalim and past runners.

“The team works hard, they work together and they are committed to reaching the goals set in the beginning of the season. We have high expectations each and every season. We expect them to work hard every day, do all the little things, and be a good teammate,” said Lalim.

Following the boys CIF and state title run last year, the girls team, ranked 4th in division 4, looks to make a playoff run for themselves.

“I think it was not only awesome for them, but beneficial for us girls. The boys helped us realize that we should be focusing on our team goals throughout the entire season. Their success motivates us to run faster and to be a better team,” said Falkowski.

Along with the added motivation from the boys team’s success, the tight-knit culture that the coaches have pushed for has created an environment that allows players to thrive and fulfill their potential.

“Our coaches have always wanted to promote inclusivity on the team, ranging from freshmen to seniors. This year especially, the inclusive culture is so prominent. The best thing for a cross country team to succeed is when the team really knows and trusts each other,” said Falkowski.

Coming off of a huge showing at the Sunset League Finals meet, the Breakers’ hopes are high heading into CIF on Nov. 23.

“The league meet really fired up our team. We are more than excited to go into the next few weeks of CIF confident and ready to compete. Doing well at league put us in a determined/winning mindset, as we approach CIF,” said Rose.