The varsity cross-country team finished in fourth place at the CIF Southern Section State Championships on Nov. 25 with a final score of 137 points and an average race time of 15:53.
This year was the Cubs’ first time running in Division I against schools such as Great Oak and Dana Hills.
The first Cub to finish was Senior Co-Captain David McAndrews in 23rd place with a time of 15:45.5, only 42.5 seconds away from the first place finisher. Immediately following McAndrews were Seniors Joshua Ma and Liam Jamieson.
Senior UC Berkeley commit Shane Bissell finished the race in 92nd place due to a sprained ankle suffered less than a mile into the race. Bissell was projected to finish within the top five for the Cubs had he not sprained his ankle.
The only underclassman who placed for the Cubs was Sophomore Anthony Stone. Stone finished with a final time of 16:01.1.
The final gap for the Cubs was 15.6 seconds, the lowest gap among all teams. In cross-country, the gap is defined as the total time between a team’s first place finisher’s time and the team’s fifth place finisher’s time. The Cubs ran as a team, sticking together throughout the race’s entirety.
McAndrews said, “Although we did not achieve our goal of winning state and going to nationals, the outcome does not negate all the hard work and memories we have accumulated over the season. The seniors are all thankful for the opportunity to represent Loyola at each race. We are truly going to miss competing as a team.”
Head Coach Lalo Diaz said, “ The boys ran an incredible race. Unfortunately, we lost our best runner, but the six remaining runners were strong enough to carry the team, and we still took fourth in the state of California.”
In order to qualify for the state championships, the varsity cross-country team also competed in the CIF Regional Championships on Nov. 18.
For the third consecutive year, Loyola again finished in fourth place behind Great Oak, Roosevelt and Dana Hills, the same exact order as the state championships. However, the Cubs had the individual first-place finisher in Shane Bissell.
Bissell finished with a time of 14:39.4, and he broke the course record in doing so. Bissell ran neck and neck with a runner from Crescenta Valley throughout the entire race, but Bissell’s final kick of the race led him to a victory margin of .5 seconds.
Bissell said, “Earlier in the season, I was struggling to stay with the front pack and found myself trying to make up time at the end of the race. However, as the season progressed, I saw my teammates learning how to run smarter races which forced me to do the same. At the end of the day, I just had a little more left in the tank than the other guy.”
Behind Bissell was senior Brandon Cobian. The final score for the team was 175 points, and the team averaged a course time of 15:13.
Diaz said, “Next year is going to be on the shoulders of some really inexperienced runners because we are losing six of our top seven guys from the state meet. These guys will not be rookies, they will still be juniors, but they lack experience from big time meets. They are going to have to step up.”