With three meet wins under their belt, the varsity cross-country Cubs, led by head coach Lalo Diaz, added to their success at the Bellarmine-Jefferson Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 24, with the top five Cubs placing in the top 10 in the race. Senior front runner Charlie Sherman led the way for the Cubs, finishing second overall in 14:35. Freshman standout Anthony Stone broke the 34 – year – old freshman course record by over 30 seconds, finishing fourth for Loyola and ninth overall with a time of 15:05.
Reflecting on the season to date, Coach Diaz said, “We have had four meets so far: the Cerritos Invitational, Rosemead Invitational, Mt. Carmel Invitational, and Bell-Jeff Invitational. We were victorious in all four. We are on our way to defending the state championship.”
The gap between the top five runners was 31 seconds, a season best for the Cubs. Along with tight packing, Diaz recognizes another strength for the team is its depth, or the amount of underclassmen on the team. Diaz said, “I am very proud of the depth on our team. After Charlie Sherman, it is a dogfight for 2-10. Our future bodes well because we will bring back 10 of the top 12 runners.”
Junior David McAndrews believes the team has the caliber to face stronger teams. He said, “In regards to the rest of the season, I think the team is ready to race against tougher competition. It’s a long journey to State, but we are so competitive in nature that we have trouble staying patient.”
The Cubs have been consecutively ranked first in Division II for the last three weeks. According to Rich Gonzalez, manager of Prepcaltrack.com and the CIF Southern Section cross-country rankings, Loyola has the potential to be the second team in Loyola history to earn back-to-back State Titles. The Cubs are also ranked 19th in the nation in the most recent poll.
On, Sept. 28 the team won the first Mission League cluster meet and will compete the second Mission League cluster meet on Tuesday, Oct. 11.