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CROSS COUNTRY: Arcadia junior Moussa shines at Mt. SAC

Published by
Catrina McAlister   Oct 25th 2009, 10:08pm

By Andrew J. Campa, Staff Writer

Posted: 10/24/2009 09:59:54 PM PDT

WALNUT - While the San Gabriel Valley has turned in mixed results over the past few years at the Mt. San Antonio College Cross Country Invitational, a few of the area's athletes decided to own the course this time around.

No one was as impressive, however, as Arcadia High School junior Ammar Moussa.

The Apaches' top runner wrote himself into the Mt. SAC historical annals with his win in the boys toughest team race of the day, the Division 1 & 2 sweepstakes.

Moussa held off a strong charge from Camarillo's Heyden Wooff (second place, 14 minutes, 48 seconds), winning in 14:34.

"I'm so incredibly excited and happy that I was able to get my first big win," Moussa said. "I came in second at Clovis, Stanford and Woodbridge and it got to me. I wanted a win."

Moussa did more than that as his meet-best mark was the third-fastest ever at Mt. SAC by a San Gabriel Valley runner, behind only West Covina's Diego Mercado (14:24) and Duarte's Mohammed Trafeh (14:28).

Overall, Moussa now ranks eighth all-time and his mark is the second-best by a junior, behind Loyola's Mark Matusak (14:33).

"I think the team, overall, had a pretty good day," Apaches coach Jim O'Brien said. "This was the first time in our history that we had five runners under 16 (minutes)."

Arcadia (1:17:50), which entered the race ranked No. 2 in D-1 in the latest CIF-Southern Section poll, claimed third behind Royal (1:16:53) and Dana Hills (1:17:15).

Arcadia's Allen Leung (27th, 15:44) and Sergio Gonzalez (29th, 15:45) also turned in solid efforts.


Not to be lost was the performance of the Apaches girls team (1:38:45), which finished sixth in the D-1 & 2 sweepstakes.

Junior Catrina McAlister turned in another brilliant effort in finishing seventh (17:42).

"I was a little disappointed with my time," said McAlister, who knocked off 2:39 from last year's mark at Mt. SAC. "The good thing is that I still have a lot of races left here."

South Pasadena's Sam Pons also turned in a good showing in the boys D-1 & 2 individual sweepstakes, taking 14th in a mark of 15:10.

Charter Oak sophomore Carly Lake romped to a win in 18:59 in the girls D-2 green race and was awarded a cow bell for her victory.

"It's really important for me to win a bell," Lake said. "The last time I won a bell was in seventh grade. So whenever I run here I always think about that."

The Western Christian boys (1:25:34) entered a heavy field in the D-5 sweepstakes and finished second to Hopi (1:21:22) of Arizona.

"The only team to beat us was from Arizona, which means we did the best in state," Lancers second-year coach Sean Henning said.

Senior Jon Esparza (ninth, 16:28) was Western Christian's top runner.

There were plenty of top-10 finishers throughout the day, including Glendora's Lauren Justus (seventh, 19:01), Damien's John Garcia (10th, 16:37), Rowland's Kristen Galvez (10th, 19:34) and West Covina's Jessica Mendez (10th, 18:36).


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1 comment(s)

2:39 faster than last year?!  Nice job.

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