Malibu High’s Caroline Pietrzyk continues to run at a torrid pace for the girls’ cross country team. The sophomore notched back-to-back victories at the last week at the first Tri-Valley League meet on Thursday and the Brentwood Invitational. The two wins came less than a week after the Sharks’ rising star established a new course record at the Woodbridge Invitational on September 15, where she finished first out of a field of 126 competitors.
“Caroline’s confidence is growing with each race,” Malibu Coach Karen Costello said after the Woodbridge Invitational. “She’s going to go out with whoever takes the lead and then see what she can do from there. Her work ethic in practice is showing in her races.”
Pietrzyk recorded a time of 18 minutes and 58 seconds on the three-mile cross country course in Irvine.
“Caroline wanted to break 20 minutes. She set a personal record on this course of more than a minute improvement from last year. We were very impressed,” Costello said.
She led the Sharks to an impressive showing at the Woodbridge Invitational. Fifteen out of 17 MHS runners established personal bests in their first three-mile race of the season.
Freshman Charlotte Jackson ran an impressive 21:58 in her cross-country debut, finishing 37th in the freshmen girls race and earning a medal. Other medal winners included Carmen Price (21:37), Emma London (23:12) and Jenna Weinberger (24:00).
Freshman Koi Prakasim was the lone medal winner for the boys’ team with a time of 19:58 in his first ever three-mile cross-country race. Juniors Erik Rosenberg and Dyer Pettijohn broke the 18-minute barrier running 17:46 and 17:50, respectively.
“It was an outstanding day for the Sharks,” Costello said. “The conditions were hot and dusty, but our runners were undeterred. Every one of them finished strong and ran aggressively.”
Malibu began Tri-Valley League action Thursday last week with its first league meet of the year at Carpinteria High School. Pietrzyk ran a 19:39 on the 3.1-mile course to place first as the Sharks finished sixth overall. Jackson and Caitlyn Myers continued their excellent progress and finished 21st and 30th in a group of 51 girls with times of 22:00 and 22:49, respectively.
Pettijohn was the number one runner for the boys team finishing 29th in 19:14. Rosenberg (19:38) and junior Aidan Pasucci (20:12) finished 38th and 41st out of 51 male participants.
“Dyer, Erik and Aidan are forming a solid top three. We have several athletes vying for the fourth and fifth spot. It should all come together in the next few weeks,” said Costello, who is in her first season as the Malibu head coach. “I’m impressed with the improvement. I’ve seen so much in such a short period of time.”
On Saturday, Pietrzyk knocked off almost three minutes from her time of a year ago at the Brentwood Invitational to finish first with an outstanding time of 17:56 on the hilly 2.9-mile course. The freshmen duo of Jackson (20:27) and Myers (20:37) placed 13th and 15th out of a field of 159 runners to round out the medal winners for the Sharks.
Next up for Malibu is the 29th Palos Verdes Invitational this Saturday at the Palos Verdes Estates.