By Leonard COUTIN
Rosemont Middle School cross-country scored well in the L.A. 84 Cross-Country Festival held Saturday in South El Monte in the Whittier Narrows recreation park. The 2K (1.25 mile) course was laid out so the runners covered one large loop around the park, finishing 50 meters from where they started in front a large crowed of spectators. This year’s course was completely flat – not the traditional up and down courses with switchbacks that previous sponsors used.
Rosemont boys placed well in the 11-plus and 13-plus divisions. In the 13-plus category, they took three of the top 10 spots. Colin Fitz Gerald took first (6:45) with Logan Neil, last year’s winner in the boys’ age 12 category, placing second (6:58) and Zachary Johnson taking eighth (7:22). Rosemont runners captured the first place title in the Ages 13-plus Division, a sweet victory over their biggest rival, Millikan Middle School.
In the 11-plus division, Rosemont’s Nicolas Schluep took first place honors (7:44). Teammate Erik Faeustle placed third (7:45).
In the girls age 13-plus division, Rosemont’s Caitlyn Couch, who took first place last year in the age 12-plus division, outdistanced her closest competitor by almost half a minute. Couch clocked an impressive 7:34 with London Alexander of Palms placing second running a neat 8:00. Rosemont’s Ashley Bayles took seventh with a time of 8:35.
Couch was pleased with her time.
“I felt great! I woke up ready to run and happy to run for my school,” she said. “I wanted to get a mile time of 5:20 and a time faster than last year; unfortunately it didn’t happen. It was a slightly harder course than last year.” The course presented certain challenges this year including gopher holes that created an uneven terrain.
She said, “The last half mile was on the sidewalk, which made it easier to run – unlike the first half.”
Couch credited constant conditioning as a key to her success on the course.
“I practiced on Mondays and Wednesdays with the L.A. Falcon cross-country team and on Thursdays and Fridays I practiced with my Rosemont team, and did running games, such as freeze tag.”
Running, well, runs in her family. Her dad Jim is a coach who works with the Falcon track and field program.
“My dad has been a great influence to me,” she said. “He told me when he was younger how he qualified for the Olympic trials but missed going to the games One day I would like to make it to the Olympics to show him that I was really listening [to him].”