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West’s Lily Ball leads the pack on her way to win against El Segundo in the girls’ cross country dual meet at West High School in Torrance on Saturday, February 20, 2021. (Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

The first cross country dual meet in the South Bay was held on Feb. 20

It was a cross country season unlike any other.

Due to L.A. County guidelines put in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic, teams were only able to compete against one other team and the season was shortened to one month.

Still, those involved wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Feb. 20 was the first day of cross country competition in the South Bay.

“We hadn’t raced in a year and we hadn’t raced in cross country in a year and half,” Palos Verdes coach Brian Shapiro said. “So many of them improved a lot and came into their own.

“There was a lot of unfamiliarity with the other schools in the league, but it was nice to see some familiar faces that we haven’t seen in awhile.”

The PV boys team swept the Bay League (Peninsula, Redondo and Mira Costa).

“On paper, we were the strongest group and this year I would consider them Bay League champs,” Shapiro said, “but to them, they’re just excited for a chance to run some races.”

Seniors Owen Ladinig (15:11.51) and Colin Lantz (15:18.75) finished second and third, respectively, Saturday in a 26-29 win over Mira Costa.

PV’s Ladinig, Jon Ward, Hunter Dunlavey, Matthew Farnsworth and Lantz were the top five finishers against Redondo.

Ladinig, Ward, Dunlavey and Farnsworth posted the second- to fifth-place times in PV’s win over Peninsula.

In the girls races, Mira Costa went 3-0, led by Dalia Frias, who led the field in each of the races.

West Torrance and El Segundo kicked off their schedules in a dual meet, with West’s Joshua Murray winning the boys race.

“It was frustrating and emotionally draining,” he said that day of the wait to start the season. “But I felt like all of that frustration is being paid off with us getting to have a season.”

The running doesn’t end. The track and field season begins Saturday.

“The cross country and track seasons have never overlapped before,” Shapiro said.

For the start of the track season, competition will be limited to dual meets only.

“Hopefully things will progress to where we will be able to move into league gatherings and also some small scale invitationals,” Shapiro said.

 

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