La Jolla Country Day boys impress at state cross country meet

Eighth-place showing best in school history

A trip to Fresno on Thanksgiving weekend turned out to be bountiful for La Jolla Country Day’s boys’ cross country team. The Torreys placed eighth out of 24 teams in the Division IV race at the CIF State Championship meet, the team’s best finish in history, according to coach Scott Sanders.

“You can’t really ask for a better conclusion to the season,” Sanders said.

Four Country Day runners placed in the top 100 individuals in a field of 200 — also a first for the Torreys — and all five scoring runners set personal records on the 3.1-mile course at Woodward Park.

The group was led by junior Lee Klitzner, who hung with the top 10 runners most of the race and finished 19th in 16 minutes, 19 seconds. Dennis Roth was next, finishing 44th in 16:42, and was followed by Alex Fleischhacker (71st, 17:06), Noah Wolfenzon (88th, 17:21) and Jake Mack (119th, 17:41).

Josh Pooley (129th, 17:46) and Phillip Poyhonen (168th, 18:34) rounded out the Torreys’ lineup.

According to Sanders, Klitzner’s time was the fastest ever for a Country Day runner at the state meet, and Roth’s was the third fastest.

The boys’ team from The Bishop’s School finished 19th in the D-IV race, led by Will Wilde Botta, who crossed the finish line 22nd in 16:25. Patrick Hoagland was the Knights’ second finisher, at 101st in 17:28.

La Jolla High’s boys finished 16th of 23 teams in the D-III race. Alex Eve led the Vikings, finishing 40th in 16:05, and Michael Conroy was 50th in 16:15. Andrew Farkas placed 79th in 16:33.

The girls’ team from Bishop’s placed 18th in D-IV, as Leyna Rowan placed 45th in 19:41 and Cara Chesney finished 124th in 21:16.

Country Day’s girls were 22nd in the same race. Samantha Staszak led the Torreys by placing 102nd in 20:50. Staszak set a personal record for 3.1 miles, as did teammates Maggie Taylor (142nd, 21:38), Lily Wolfenzon (145th, 21:39), Alina Wong (156th, 22:07) and Blanca Yanez (188th, 25:46), according to Sanders.

“That five of the girls set (personal records) at the state meet is another terrific step for a team full of potential,” Sanders said.

Gregory Ball covers sports for La Jolla Light. He can be reached at ballgregory@