October 24, 2011
By John Olivo
Class of 2013
The Ojai Valley School cross country team competed in the Mt. SAC Cross Country Invitational last week, turning in strong
performances in what is billed as the world’s largest cross country race.
In the boys’ race, junior Tim Waian put on a strong showing, running the tough and hilly three-mile course in 20 minutes flat. Junior Louis Medel, sophomore Kermitt Davis, and senior Marlon Ponce also placed well in the varsity race.
But it was the girls’ race that had held the most excitement for the day.
Senior Reika Kijima took first place in the varsity Division V race with a time of 19:06, which was one of the fast times for any girl on the grueling course.
Reika out-kicked the reigning Condor League cross country champion, Melanie Reimer of Thacher, in the final 50 meters to take the top spot.
Reika said she wasn’t even expecting to win or even place, but that she used her strength in the hills to pull out the victory.
“People started slowing down because of the stress of the hills and I had enough energy to finish the race,” she said. “It’s something that I can really be proud of after finishing in second so many times before.”
The Mt. Sac invitational is held over two days and draws more than 20,000 middle school, high school and college runners from around the nation.
OVS cross country coach Fred Alvarez expressed pride in his team’s fine performance.
“This was a strong showing for both our girls’ and boys’ teams, and I’m extremely proud of the overall effort,” he said.