The Half Moon Bay High School cross-country team had a strong showing at the 2019 Central Coast Section Championship and the girls participated in the state meet.

The boys team, consisting of James McEachen, Conner Moore, Nick Moore, Kohei Tanaka, Josh Warner-Carey, Kenny Jones and Harrison Nash, finished in seventh place in the CCS meet, capping off a strong season. The girls team finished in third place and qualified for the state championship in Fresno over the weekend. 

“It was fun to see when the girls got to state, because all seven of the girls were rookies. They’ve never been to state,” said varsity cross- country coach Paul Farnsworth. “This is the first time Half Moon Bay High School has gone to state since 2014.

“Next year, they will go with a little bit more understanding,” he continued. “Their eyes were as big as silver dollars when they got there. They got out there and ran hard. I’m so proud of them.”

At the CCS championship, the girls varsity team was led by Kendall Mansukhani who placed fifth and Claire Yerby who snagged 13th place. Following hot on their heels was the freshman contingent of Jayda Bodas, Olivia Vargas, Anna Bikle, Natalie Curthoys and Julia Minkstein. 

“All of our freshmen came in really close too,” said Farnsworth. “They did way better than anyone ever expected them to do. There’s no way we would have made state without them doing that.” 

After eating a hasty Thanksgiving dinner, the girls team headed up to Fresno where they would compete at the state level, against the best of the best.  “I was really excited to be there,” said Mansukhani. “Not a lot of teams can make it that far. It’s obviously fun going on trips with them.

“We’ve gotten along really well. I’ve personally had ups and downs with injuries,” she continued. “The team and the rest of the running community, girls from other schools, all make it worth it.” 

Indeed, injuries would impede Half Moon Bay’s bid for the state title. A foot injury flared up. Although Mansukhani did her best to tough it out and finish the race, the injury prevented her from finishing with the expected results. 

As is the case with great teams everywhere, Mansukhani’s teammates helped pick her up. 

“Claire Yerby had a phenomenal day. She came in 21st overall and led the team,” said Farnsworth. “We had a number of freshman girls who came in and four of them were varsity runners at the end of the year. 

“They were legitimate varsity runners because we finished third at CCS and made it to the state team. I knew they were going to be good when I saw them in eighth grade. When I saw them run last year, I was like, ‘Oh my, if these girls run, we are going to state.’”

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