Varsity girls’ cross country team at CIF section finals

Varsity girls’ cross country had its CIF Southern Section championships at the Riverside City Cross Country Course Saturday, Nov. 18.  As a team, Walnut did not qualify for the CIF State Championship, but sophomores Chloe and Emma Arriaga will compete individually in the next stage.

Walnut placed 15th out of 24 schools in the Division 1 race. Chloe placed first individually with a time of 16:33. Finishing in seventh place, Emma clocked a time of 17:10. Senior Karina Galvan came in at 109th place at 19:19, followed by sophomore Naomi Nakamura and freshman Amanda Ghibaudo, who placed 134th and 139th respectively. Junior Julia Garcia finished at 155th, and senior Erika Lopez placed 159th.

“I was really nervous for this race because I wanted our team to go to state. We never had a Walnut girl’s team reach state before, only individuals,” Lopez said. “Since this is my last year, I wanted us to do well. The one thing I learned from this race was that even though we didn’t make it to state as a team, we tried our best and that is all what matters. We just have to move on and be grateful for the opportunity [of] reaching CIF sectionals.”

The races took place at a three-mile track on a former golf course, which differs from the natural hills of Mt. SAC, where the event is normally held. The Riverside course incorporated more flat terrain and less changes in altitude.

“I mean, running on a different track didn’t really affect my time, but it was definitely easier than the Mt. SAC course,” Garcia said. “The one at Mt. SAC was bumpier and harder to navigate, so I guess it kind of benefited us all to be able to run at the Riverside course.”

The Mustangs were dissatisfied with their performance but will continue practicing to come back stronger next year. This was the last competition of the season for girls’ varsity. Chloe and Emma will represent Walnut at the state level for the CIF Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno on Saturday, Nov. 26.

“One thing that I needed to work on was my mentality. I think that, as a team, we were all pretty nervous because we knew that the race was really important,” Garcia said. “But I think that, in the end, I performed pretty well and I paced myself nicely, and I want to work harder in the future.”

By Ashley Liang, Staff writer
Photo courtesy of Chloe Arriaga