Special to the Tribune
Alhambra High School sophomore Marissa D’Atri represented the Bulldog cross country team at the CIF State Championships last Saturday, Nov. 28.
Since 1987, Woodward Park in Fresno has hosted the State Meet. This year marked the 29th annual Championships at the same location. There were a total of 1,947 California runners from every section (974 girls, 973 boys) that met for battle over this ultimate cross country contest.
There were also five different divisions. Division I included large schools with more than 2,000 students, while Division IV took the smallest schools with less than 500 students. As a representative of a medium-sized school, D’Atri raced in Division III.
All divisions race the same 5,000 meter distance, mostly consisting of dirt trails with a few tough uphill sections. The top 10 finishers in each race received State medals.
The Division III Girls were the first to run at 8:30 a.m. with 191 girls competing.
Race favorites Stefani Gaskell of Sultana, Chloe Hansel of Las Lomas and Cassidy Haskell of Miramonte started out in the front as D’Atri followed in the second group of runners. By the time the mile mark was reached, Gaskell was in the lead with a split of 5:26.
Approaching the 2-mile mark, D’Atri was approximately in 40th, and she passed two miles in a fast 12:50.
In the last mile she stayed consistent, dropping just a few places back, and surged toward the end of the race, outsprinting three opponents.
D’Atri crossed the finish line in 47th place overall for the second-fastest Alhambra time ever recorded (18 minutes, 55.1 seconds). She averaged a pace of 6:05 per mile.
Only Allie Timbrell has run faster, as she finished the 2014 State Championship race in 18 minutes, 30 seconds.
Gaskell was the Division III girls champion in a blazing time of 17:30.4, while Miramonte’s freshman phenom Haskell took an incredible second place in 17:37.3. Palos Verdes’ Jacquelyn Smith took the bronze in 17:40.0.
With the 2015 Cross Country season in the history books, the Bulldogs will look ahead to the 2016 Track season to continue their achievements.