Willow Glen's Abdalla a champ


By Phil Wong
Special to the Mercury News

Willow Glen junior Mohamed Abdalla won his division -- with teammate Marcos Corona not far behind -- at the CIF state cross-country championships at Woodward Park on Saturday.

Abdalla won the boys Division III category, finishing the 3.1-mile course in 15 minutes, 26 seconds. Corona took fourth (15:40).

Central Coast Section runners took home two other medals: Valley Christian-Dublin senior Robbie Knorr won the boys Division V race in 15:49, one second ahead of second-place Brian Cole (St. Helena). In the girls Division III race, St. Ignatius sophomore Katy Daly took a bronze (18:23).

Abdalla, who won the CCS Division III title, outran Fawad Khan of Palos Verdes, who took the silver in 15:32. Rounding out the top five were Allan Lloyd of Burroughs (15:36), Corona, and James Tracy of Del Campo-Fair Oaks (15:43).

``The leaders were all pushing me for the first mile,'' Abdalla said. ``I managed to open it up, and then I was pushing myself.''

St. Ignatius finished sixth in the Division III team competition, with help from senior Matt Snyder, who took eighth at 15:50. Willow Glen was ninth (226).

In the girls Division III contest, Daly was stuck behind a duo from Corona del Mar-Newport Beach: Sarah Cummings and Shelby Buckley, who finished one-two.

``My plan was to keep my pace for the first mile and see how I felt,'' said Daly, who added of Buckley, ``I tried to keep up with her -- I didn't know what to expect.''

Coach Wendy Regalia praised Daly's performance.

``She executed the plan we had for her today perfectly,'' Regalia said. ``The goal was to go with the leaders the first mile, use the hills the second mile. The third mile she ran really strong.''

Leland's Stephanie Barnett finished 14th (18:15) in the Division II competition. Los Gatos took sixth as a team, with Kaela Townsend leading the way (18:46).

Half Moon Bay freshman Samantha Hamilton took fifth in Division IV in 18:32, with Valley Christian's Jennifer Bergman finishing seventh (18:42) and Carmel's Thea Lee ninth (18:44). Carmel took second in the team competition.

Results in Scoreboard, Page 16D.