Canyon Cross Country’s First Meet at the Pat Hadley Memorial Invitational


Jillian Para, Writer

On the morning of Sept. 7, Canyon cross country raced in their first meet of the school year. For many of these athletes, races have become routine and a big part of their lives, but for the freshmen, this is their first large race for the season. Due to the race being three miles long, the athletes needed lots of preparation so they can show up feeling their best. The night before the “big race”, the teammates gathered together for a pasta party. Pasta parties are important for these runners because it is a way for the teammates to bond and relax before a race, all while eating lots of pasta and “carbing-up”. During the pasta party, freshman, Keira Potter, was discussing the race with her teammates and said, “I am pretty excited to start off the cross country season, but I’m nervous because its my first one, but I feel like I’m prepared since we’ve had a few [races] during the summer and I know how to keep myself hydrated and well rested.”

Teammates enjoy their dinner at a pasta party, the day before the race.

The Pat Hadley Memorial Invitational took place at Tri City Park in Placentia. The three-mile course was not meant to be easy. The race consisted of multiple inclines and rugged terrain such as loose dirt, holes, thick grass, and small shrubs to run through. Although the race took place in the morning, the warm weather was still able to impact the athletes during it.

Starting off the meet at 8 a.m., the Senior Girls Race had the coolest weather. After finishing her race, senior Jessica Schempp, said, “I was feeling pretty nervous before the race started, but it was overcome by excitement quickly after our team huddle. And when the race started, I was feeling ready to go and the top three girls, including me, were together for that first mile and in the second one we broke off a little, but is still motivating to see them up ahead of me and we finished up strong.”

Senior Girls Race Highlights:

  • Scored second place; got 54 points (the lower the points, the better)
  • Average time was 20:57
  • Isabella Rubalcava came in second place
  • Three Canyon athletes made top seven.

Senior Boys Race Highlights:

  • Scored fifth place; got 121 points

    Senior Jackson Coney running hard during his race.
  • Average time was 17:10
  • Jackson Coney came in fifth place
  • All six boys came in the top 56 out of 107

Freshman Girls Race Highlights:

  • Scored first place; got 24 points
  • Average time was 21:53
  • Keira Potter came in fifth place
  • Three girls finished within 14 seconds of each other
  • All five athletes came in the top 20 out of 75

Freshman Boys Race Highlights: 

  • Scored seventh place; got 152 points
  • Average time was 20:14
  • Three boys finished within eight seconds of each other

    Sophomores Grace Walker (left) and Teagan Carr (right) about to start their last mile of the race.
  • Largest race overall with 114 runners

Sophomore Girls Race Highlights:

  • Scored second place; got 36 points
  • Average time was 19:32
  • Only two points from first place
  • Emma Hadley came in first with almost a minute lead
  • All seven girls came in the top 50 out of 94

Sophomore Boys Race Highlights:

  • Scored tenth place; got 231 points
  • Average time was 20:42

    Junior girls before their race.
  • Ethan Florez came in second place
  • Second largest race with 113 athletes

Junior Girls Race Highlights: 

  • Scored second place; got 40 points
  • Average time was 21:19
  • Sarah Paino came in first place
  • All five girls came in top 34 out of 66

Junior Boys Race Highlights:

  • Scored second place; got 46 points

    Junior boys pose for a photo before the start of their race.
  • Average time was 16:44
  • Connor Albin came in fourth place
  • Four boys finished within four seconds of each other

One of cross country’s hard working athletes, freshman Jude Abatangelo, said, “I think my race went well; definitely better than last time, I felt like I gave it my all. I think it was good, I liked all the encouragement and I think next time I’m gonna work on trying to get my sprints out faster.” 

After all races were finished, all the girl athletes on Canyon rejoiced because they had gotten first place overall and won the meet! The boys team was also very excited to find out that they got second place in the meet overall, and had beat Valencia by 5 points! The cross country coaches were very proud of their athletes. Eager to talk about his race, freshman Colin Moody said, “It went really good, I dropped four minutes off my PR (personal record), so it’s just the hard work that I put in throughout practices recently and I felt like it really paid off and it was really fun.”   

This is going to be a great season for cross country!