Valencia XC impresses at prelims


Valencia High continued to make waves in the cross country community Friday at the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 prelims.

The Vikings boys advanced to the section’s finals as a team, posting a collective time of 1 hour, 18 minutes and 57 seconds, good for seventh place in their heat at Riverside City Cross Country Course.

The top eight teams from each of the three heats advanced.

On the girls side, Valencia freshman Hailey Kirsch advanced to the finals as an individual, taking sixth in her heat with a time of 18:08.

“She showed something special early on (this season),” said Valencia coach Leon Maldonado, “and she has not disappointed.”

Kirsch finished third in each of the Foothill League’s three meets this season.

And while the Valencia girls didn’t qualify for prelims, members of the team and lower-level runners still came to cheer on Kirsch. “This was a win for her, but for the girls team, too,” Maldonado said.

Britain Reynolds was the first Valencia boy to cross the finish line. He ran a 15:21.2 to finish 14th. Tanay Suryavanshi finished 33rd (15:44.8), Sebastian Holding took 40th (15:48.5), Gage Davenport came in 41st (15:48.6) and Eric Cheney took 62nd (16:14.3).

Each runner finished with a personal-best time, Maldonado said.

“We need to duplicate that level of improvement if we want to go to the ultimate race in state,” Maldonado said.

The Valencia boys finished second at Foothill League finals, its highest mark ever, and advanced to the Division 1 prelims for the second time in the program’s 23-year history.

Finals will be held at Riverside City Cross Country Course on Nov. 19.

Other Santa Clarita Valley teams will take part in the prelims for divisions 2, 3 and 5 on Saturday.

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