Harker runner Corey Gonzales, grade 11, won the Division 4 CCS Championships on Saturday, blazing through 2.95 miles in 15 minutes and 34 seconds to fend off 87 other runners. Gonzales and four others ran a speedy 5:00 first mile. The field narrowed to three during the second mile when Gonzales pushed ahead with a series of short bursts. Going into the third mile, Gonzales ratcheted up the pace, sprinted up “Cardiac Hill,” opened up a 30-meter lead and pulled away, winning by four seconds. One veteran coached called his performance “one of the best competitive races I have ever seen run at Crystal Springs.”
Freshman Niki Iyer also qualified for the state meet, finishing third with a time of 18:01. One of Niki’s idols, Anna Maxwell of San Lorenzo Valley, sprung out to an early lead, en route to a 16:53 mark, the fifth-fastest time in the course’s history. Iyer wisely let Maxwell go and ran a swift first mile to take second place early on. Immediately before the 2-mile mark, Valerie Morrison of Scotts Valley caught up with Iyer, making this the first race of the year where a runner caught Iyer from behind. Iyer drew even with Morrison, and the two remained neck and neck until the final 600 meters, when Morrison pulled ahead. Iyer still beat a number of other top 10 state-ranked runners, and her first mile time, 5:34, would have won the league track 1600m race. Senior Claudia Tischler also competed in the race, finishing in 20th place with a 20:01.
Iyer and Gonzales will compete in the California Cross Country State Championships on Saturday, Nov. 30 at Woodward Park in Fresno.