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Norwalk girls cross country wins rare Suburban League cluster race


By Loren Kopff

While the Cerritos High and La Mirada High girls cross country teams have historically dominated the Suburban League, there is now some competition for those two squads. Norwalk High picked up 28 points and easily outdistanced La Mirada by 23 points in the first league cluster meet last Thursday afternoon at Cerritos Regional Park.

It was the first time since 1994 that a Norwalk girls cross country team had won a league meet. Senior Samantha Huerta of La Mirada won the race with a time of 18:59 but the next four spots were occupied by Norwalk harriers. Sophomore Misty Diaz crossed the finish line at 19:45 followed by senior Jennifer Melendez (19:49) and sophomores Ruby Galindo (19:50) and Alejandra Ramirez (20:41).

The top Cerritos runner was sophomore Brianna Katsuda, who came in seventh place with a time of 21:05. Two spots later was senior Catherine Lin at 21:58 while sophomore Laura Soto was 12th with a time of 22:14. The Lady Dons finished in third place with 60 points. Artesia High and John Glenn High did not field teams as Mayfair High finished in fourth place with 94 followed by Bellflower High’s 131 points.

On the boys side, Cerritos took home first place with 42 points and was led by junior Bill Chuang, who came in first with a time of 16:34. A pair of La Mirada juniors-Johan Cervantes and Vicente Funes-were the next runners to complete the race at the same time at 17:02. Norwalk junior Alberto Cano was fourth at 17:12 while Cerritos sophomore Jaineel Patel rounded out the top five at 17:17.

Sixth and eighth places were occupied by Norwalk juniors Edwin Munoz (17:32) and Salvador Alcantara (17:38) while the leader of John Glenn’s squad was junior Jose Guerrero, who finished in ninth place with a time of 17:39. In 10th place was Cerritos junior Alex Yao (17:50) and four seconds later was his teammate, senior Derrick Kwon (17:54).The leader of Artesia was senior Dominic Gonzales, who was the 12th runner to finish at 17:57.

Norwalk picked up 51 points, good for second place while La Mirada had 55 points and Artesia 135 points.

Cerritos will participate in the Southern California Invitational at Guajome Park in Oceanside on Saturday while the Norwalk girls team will travel to Fresno for the Clovis Invitational on Saturday. The second league cluster meet will be on Thursday at La Mirada Regional Park with the league finals back at Cerritos Regional Park on Nov. 5.


Artesia was hoping to go to 2-0 in the Suburban League but instead was blasted by league-leading La Mirada 63-0 last Friday night at Atkins Stadium. The Pioneers, who have been blanked three times this season, dropped to 2-4 overall and will face Mayfair tonight at Ron Yary Stadium on the Bellflower High campus. Artesia has not defeated Mayfair in over 17years.

Cerritos was off last week and will seek its first victory this season when it hosts Norwalk tonight at Hanford Rants Stadium. The Dons (0-4) have scored just five touchdowns this season, three on the ground, one through the air and one on a fumble return.

Gahr High, also away from action last week, will begin San Gabriel Valley League play at Lynwood High tonight. The Gladiators are 2-3 and have lost two straight against Lynwood after winning the previous five over the Knights. Last season’s 60-18 loss was the worst against Lynwood in at least the past 13 meetings.

John Glenn (0-6) fell to Bellflower 33-12 last Friday and will be off tonight while Valley Christian High surrendered 13 second half points to St. Anthony High and lost to the Saints 20-17 last Friday night. The Crusaders (4-2), who have lost consecutive games by a combined five points, will begin the Olympic League with a homecoming game against Village Christian High tonight at Crusader Field.


Despite losing all three pool play matches in the Ocean View Tournament last Saturday, Artesia won a pair of playoff matches in the bronze division and brought home a tournament plaque. The morning began with Jordan High sweeping the Pioneers 25-15, 25-21 as senior outside hitter Juliann Ramos had five kills and four aces while senior libero Janette Lee had five digs and three aces. The Pioneers were then swept by Sunny Hills High 25-15, 25-17 as Ramos had six more kills and Lee added another seven aces and six digs.

Artesia was then moments away from sweeping Avalon High in the final pool play match but the Lancers rallied late in both sets and came away with a 27-25, 25-22 victory. Artesia turned an 11-9 deficit into a 15-12 lead thanks to three straight aces from Lee, one from senior opposite hitter Britney Alvarado and a kill each from senior outside hitter Brianna Garcia and junior middle blocker Clarissa Gonzalez.

Later in the set, Ramos had consecutive aces to tie the set at 19-19 and a double hit violation on Avalon allowed the Pioneers to force the seventh tie at 23-23. Artesia would stave off set-point two more times before the Lancers scored the final two points on a serve into the net and an ace.

Three straight aces from Garcia in the second set put the Pioneers up 7-5 and three more aces from Lee had her team in front 15-13 moments later. But Avalon scored five straight points down the stretch to erase a 19-17 deficit. Gonzalez had six kills in the match while the team recorded 17 aces.

In the playoffs, Artesia swept Wildwood High 25-16, 25-21 behind Garcia’s eight kills and four aces and Wiseburn-Da Vinci High 25-17, 25-16 as Alvarado had six aces. The Pioneers (5-10 overall, 0-4 in the Suburban League) will visit Whitney High this evening before hosting La Mirada High on Monday and traveling to Mayfair High on Tuesday to complete the first round of league play. Artesia will then host Bellflower High on Thursday. The five victories are the most since posting 10 in the 2010 season, the last time the Pioneers reached the postseason.

Cerritos swept La Mirada 25-21, 25-23, 28-26 this past Tuesday to improve to 6-4 overall and 3-1 in the league. The Lady Dons hosted Norwalk on Oct. 8 and will travel to John Glenn High and Mayfair on Tuesday and Thursday respectively. Gahr High improved to 2-0 in the San Gabriel Valley League after defeating Warren High 25-18, 27-25, 22-25, 17-25, 15-6 this past Tuesday. The Gladiators, who are 10-7 overall and winners of five straight matches, visited Paramount High on Oct. 8 and will entertain Downey High on Tuesday in a battle for first place. Gahr will go to Dominguez High on Thursday.

Glenn has won two straight five-set matches, the last one a 19-25, 25-19, 25-18, 17-25, 15-12 triumph over Bellflower this past Tuesday. The Lady Eagles (5-10, 2-2) visited La Mirada on Oct. 8 and after their match with Cerritos on Tuesday, will be off for one full week.

Valley Christian High hasn’t played since Sept. 26 but travelled to Village Christian High on Oct. 8 for its Olympic League opener. The Lady Crusaders (13-7) will host Maranatha High on Tuesday before going to Whittier Christian High on Thursday.

Whitney High dropped a 25-13, 25-8, 25-14 decision to Crean Lutheran High this past Tuesday and will host St. Margaret’s High on Tuesday before heading to Oxford Academy on Wednesday.