The CIF Cross Country Championships were held at Balboa Park Nov. 22, during which two La Jolla High School (LJHS) students — senior Lauren Roberts and freshman Max Ippolito — qualified for the State Championships in Fresno, Nov. 29.
Roberts finished 10th in the Division IV school race, and Ippolito finished 13th in the boy’s race. Cross Country is a team sport, so qualifying individually is only accomplished by establishing a top-five time in the CIF finals. This is the first time in more than 30 years that a LJHS freshman has qualified for State Championships, with Ippolito running 17:48 in the hill-oriented 3.1- mile (5,000-meter) race. He set a school record the week before, running 16:50 in a flatter version of a 3.1-mile race in Western League finals.
In Fresno, Ippolito was one of 20 freshmen in the 202-runner field of the State Championships. He had a personal record of 16:52 minutes over the 3.1-mile route, finishing 75th and fifth as a freshman.
Roberts was 93rd of 201 runners with a 20:53 over the same course.
LJHS head cross country coach Robert McCarthy and assistant coach Amy Kuehl trained both the boys and girls programs this year.