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It's Run of Her Life for Siraki

Mt. SAC Invitational: Hoover senior shatters course record by 17 seconds, stunning field with 16:38 clocking.


WALNUT — Senior Anita Siraki of Hoover High didn't just break the girls' course record in the Mt. San Antonio College Invitational cross-country meet in Walnut on Saturday.

She annihilated it.

She obliterated it.

She destroyed it.

In a performance that left herself, her coach and numerous spectators shaking their heads in disbelief, Siraki clocked 16:38 over the 2.95-mile layout to better the previous course mark of 16:55 set by Julia Stamps of Santa Rosa in 1995.

Stamps is regarded as one of the best cross-country runners in state history, but the undefeated Siraki turned in a performance that had several experts comparing it to Melody Fairchild's 16:39 clocking to win the 1990 national title at San Diego's Morley Field.

Fairchild's effort, which gave the then-Boulder, Colo., senior a 59-second margin of victory, is considered the greatest cross-country performance ever by a U.S. high school girl.

Siraki's time was doubly impressive because she had been battling a cold since Tuesday night.

"I kind of lost hope [of setting a course record]," said Siraki, who ran 16:58 in win the Southern Section Division I title at Mt. SAC last year. "I wasn't even expecting this today."

Siraki, Natalie Stein of North Hollywood and Laura Jakosky of Agoura were among nine runners who came through the flat first mile in 5:27. But Siraki surged into the lead shortly thereafter as the course headed up some switchbacks.

She had an eight-second lead on Amber Trotter of Ukiah at the base of aptly named "Poop-out Hill" at 1 3/4 miles and her lead was 11 seconds when she came through two miles in 11:17.

Siraki knew she was on a course-record pace at that point, but she never expected to run a time that would have made her the No. 5 runner on the nationally ranked Canyon boys' team.

"I knew I was going for the record [after I ran hard up the switchbacks]," she said. "But I had no idea I was running as fast as I was."

Trotter, a junior, finished second in 17:10 to move to fifth on the all-time course performer list while seniors Stein and Jakosky set career bests of 17:23 and 17:42 in third and fourth.

There were several other noteworthy efforts by runners from the region.

Canyon, the No. 9-ranked boys' team in the nation by Harrier magazine, placed second to No. 2 Long Beach Poly in the team sweepstakes.

Senior Ozzie Pina of Long Beach Poly placed first in 15:09 to lead the Jackrabbits to a 67-125 victory over the Cowboys, but Canyon's top five runners all ran career bests over the Mt. SAC course.

Senior Nick Zoetewey was fourth in 15:13 with junior Luke Llamas seventh in 15:19, junior Jameson Mora 11th in 15:23, sophomore Ryan Morgan 17th in 15:35 and sophomore Mark Bingham 86th in 16:39.

The cumulative time of those five runners gave Canyon a team time of 78:10 to move the Cowboys to fifth on the all-time Southern Section list.

Quartz Hill was fourth and Canyon sixth in girls' team sweepstakes.

Clovis Buchanan totaled 116 points to upset No. 6-ranked Felton San Lorenzo Valley by a point.

Peninsula was third with 129 points, followed by Quartz Hill with 133, Santa Rosa Montgomery with 142 and Canyon with 149.

Tarah Novelli of Quartz Hill was 18th in 18:49.

Junior Jazmin Treadway was 10th in a career-best 18:22 for Canyon with sophomore teammate Brenda Stevens 13th in a career-best 18:26.

In the boys' individual sweepstakes, sophomore Phillip Reid of Rio Mesa ran a school record of 15:28 to place sixth.

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