She had impressed the Coachella Valley running community all season, but Saturday, La Quinta freshman cross country star Akemi Von Scherr lived up to the hype, qualifying for next Saturday’s CIF state meet as an individual alongside Xavier Prep’s boys squad among numerous local individuals gunning for a spot in the final meet of the season.
Running in the Division 1 finals, Von Scherr clocked a 17:18 to take 10th overall in the race behind winner sophomore Chloe Arriaga (16:47) from Walnut. Von Scherr was the fourth individual qualifier out of the five moving on to state from Division 1 and one of just three freshmen from all of the CIF Southern Section to advance as an individual to state. It was her fastest race in nearly two months, since her first Desert Valley League meet where she posted a time of 17:12.
The Saints had a much more nerve-wracking morning on the course, tying for seventh as a team in the Division 5 competition with 264 points with Woodcrest Christian. Xavier Prep moved onto state, winning the tiebreaker on the team’s sixth runner who finished 14 spots ahead of Woodcrest Christian’s.
Senior Braulio Ramirez led the Saints on Saturday in 34th with a time of 16:13, followed by Andres Lopez Espina (47th, 16:28), Michael Branconier (59th, 16:49), Adrihel Ibarra (61st, 16:49) and Andres Arias (92nd, 17:19). Jesus Arzapalo’s 119th-place finish in 17:57 clinched the tiebreaker for the Saints.
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The girls Saints squad didn’t fare quite as well, taking 10th in the Division 5 girls race, despite a strong performance and great pack running from the team’s top three of Mia Limon (42nd, 20:19), Alyson McClellan (48th, 20:31) and Bridget Wickstrand (49th, 20:34).
Both Indio’s boys and girls teams were eliminated Saturday, but it was special for both to even be there; it was the girls’ first CIF finals appearance ever, while the boys made their first back-to-back trip ever. The boys finished 11th in the Division 3 race, led by senior Luis Barrera, who finished 24th in 15:24, just nine seconds off moving on as an individual. The Rajah girls took 19th in the Division 3 race, led by senior Marisa Rodriguez, who had one of her best races of the season with a time of 18:23, giving her 21st, another year of narrowly missing out on state – this year by 23 seconds.
Also in the Division 3 boys race, Cathedral City’s team finished 21st, led by senior Andrew Nevarez who ran 15:31 to take 34th, and Shadow Hills individual junior Isaiah Gonzalez finished 93rd in 16:18.
Alongside the Rajahs in the Division 3 girls race, Shadow Hills sophomore Nyah Chavez recovered from falling twice to finish 45th overall in 19:03. Chavez and Gonzalez both set record marks as the only Knights to ever run in the CIF finals.