Cross Country (Boys & Girls)
"Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." Romans 5:3-5
Crean Lutheran High School Cross Country Mission Statement
Crean Lutheran athletics constantly strives to build our programs around Christ and through "excellence in athletics." The athletic department has created an acronym which stands for who the cross country team models ourselves after:
Saints finish 16th at CIF Finals and Garrett Miller earns All State HonorsCongratulations to the boys team for finishing their season with a 16th place finish at the CIF Southern Section Finals for Division 4. Garrett Miller earned 5th place in the event and qualified for the State Championships held in Fresno on 11/24. There, Garrrett earned all state honors by finishing 9th in the State for our division. This was the second time Garrett was able to achieve a top 10 finish at the state meet.
- 2020-21 Season Wrap Up
- Season Results & Team History
- Team Records
- News Articles
- Why Cross Country?
- College Athletes
- Previous Articles
Crean Lutheran cross country teams celebrate successful seasons
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9Crean Lutheran High School’s girls and boys cross country teams relied on their team verse for success in the abbreviated season, said Coach Robby Cherry. “This verse motivated us all year long to keep working hard even when we didn't see results. This lesson is even more valuable in the rest of our lives and in our walk with Jesus,” Cherry said. The teams were ready to go in February when the seasons launched.
“We were blessed to have a long training buildup and from the first race onward we were already at our best,” Cherry said. “Crean Lutheran was one of the first schools in the state to host meets for cross country and we were blessed to help other schools have opportunities to compete as well.”
The Saints top girls runner Kaela Brenner ran the fastest time of the day in the team’s opening meet with an 18:20 time. “Kaela ran consistently all year and finished second in the Empire League individual merge overall,” Cherry said. “Kaela also led our girls team to a fourth place finish in the Empire League, two spots up from last year's finish in the league.
“Although our girls team came in largely inexperienced, they did very well and improved all season long. Runners Emily Reed, Tannis Bailey, Skyler Rauch, Julia Cuddyer and Allison Bae each regularly ran in the top five scoring positions this season. Margaret O'Brien and Lesley Warren also added depth to our varsity team.”
The boys team was led by freshman Hayden Rivas, who ended the season with a 15:56 PR (ninth grade school record). “The boys team greatly improved overall from last year finishing third place in the league officially and second place in the merged results at our league finals event,” Cherry said.
“Juniors Gavin Burkhart, Jeremy Lauro and Ethan Miller were key top scorers for us in nearly every meet. Each of them showed great improvement from past seasons and moved up our league standings considerably. We are very excited that our top seven runners this year were all under-classmen and have the opportunity to come back even stronger next season.” In addition, the two programs had five runners earn All-Empire League honors: Kaela Brenner, Emily Reed, Hayden Rivas, Gavin Burkhart and Jeremy Lauro.
|Girls Academy League Championships||Boys Academy League Championships|
CIF Finals Team Accomplishments - Division 4
|15th (2010) - Div. 5*||11th (2011)|
|7th (2012)||2nd (2012)|
|12th (2013)||8th (2013)|
|16th (2015)||14th (2015)|
|23rd (2017)||5th (2016)|
State Championship Team Accomplishments - Division 4
Crean Lutheran Cross Country Makes Headlines
- Garrett Miller - Orange County Register Athlete of the Week http://www.ocregister.com/2017/11/06/orange-county-boys-cross-country-athlete-of-the-week-crean-lutherans-garrett-miller/
- Cross country round-up: Crean Lutheran boys shine at Mt. SAC Invitational http://www.ocregister.com/
2017/10/24/cross-country- round-up-crean-lutheran-boys- shine-at-mt-sac-invitational/
Cross Country Notebook: Woodbridge Classic Another Successful Event
- The boys Saints team was ranked 57th in the state of California (all divisions included) in prepcaltrack.com annual "Hot 100" team rankings. http://www.prepcaltrack.com/2017/08/27/boys-teams-hot-100-51-to-60/
- OC Varsity Article: CIF State Boys and Girls Cross Country
- OC Sidelines Article: Crean Lutheran Sweeps Top Honors at Academy League Finals
- Irvine World News: Crean Lutheran cross country teams capture league tittles
- Irvine World News Article: Crean Lutheran Enjoys Strong Run
- Irvine World News Article: Saints Finish in the Top 20
- OC Register Article: Two Crean Lutheran Runners Advance
- OC Varsity Article: Crean Lutheran Claims Team Titles at Academy League Finals
- OC Register Article: Crean Boys Set to Compete for Division 4 Title
- OC Register Article: Brink Selected Boys Cross Country Coach of the Year
- 1. Faith and Character Development
- 2. Academics
- 3. Collegiate Running Opportunities
- 4. Long Term Health Benefits
- 5. Making Friends and Building School Spirit
I am a big believer in the mission statement of Crean Lutheran High School: “Proclaiming Jesus Christ through excellence in education”
It is my primary goal to integrate this message (the message of the gospel) into the sport of cross country. I hope to teach life lessons and find teachable moments to help develop all the student athletes on the team.
Practically, we do this daily through sharing our theme verse and praying and weekly with a team devotion centered on a theme for the year. We also integrate our schools acronym CHRIST into everything we do.
(Commitment, Honor, Responsibility, Intelligence, Sacrifice, Teamwork)
It is my goal that every athlete who goes through our program will grow in faith and in character and will become better students, citizens, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, etc. I believe that the sport of cross country, because of its innate challenges, is a great arena to practice and develop perseverance, teamwork, trust, and community.
Combined Boys and Girls GPA by year
2018 - 4.04
2017 - 3.82
2016 - 3.88
2015 - 3.77
2014 - 3.6
2013 - 3.5
2012 - 3.6
Each and every year our cross country team earns some of the highest average grades among any team in the school. We have had multiple Valedictorians (2013, 2016, and 2019) on the cross country team as well. Because cross country causes students to form disciplined work habits and sleep habits, many student athletes in cross country achieve more academic success than their peers and form disciplined habits that can continue on to college and beyond.
Many studies have also shown that participation in high school sports generally can have a positive impact in academics.
While not every runner has the ability to compete at the college level, we have been blessed with several runners on our team who have gone on to compete in collegiate cross country, many with athletic scholarships:
- 2010 Alexandra Sciarra (Biola)
- 2013 Michael Sciarra (The Masters College)
- 2014 Maddie Beavers (Westmont College)
- 2015 Tyler Arnold (Concordia University Irvine)
- 2015 Lauren Maurer (USC)
- 2015 Sean Pino (Lipscomb University)
- 2016 Mandy Reyes (Biola)
- 2016 Shannon Howell (Biola)
- 2016 Ariana Sciarra (The Masters College)
- 2018 Craig Odenwald (Westmont College)
- 2018 Peter Weiss (George Fox University)
- 2018 Emma Lottman (Westmont College)
Long-distance running can have an amazing positive benefit on a person’s health. Cardiovascular health is extremely important and can have an impact in many other areas of life. Learning the discipline to train consistently and to workout for long periods of time can really help a person to develop their cardiovascular system.
Tthe discipline of making good choices with regard to rest (sleeping) and eating are also incredibly important for health.
It is my goal that sudent-athletes who go through our program would gain good healthy habits that they can continue and sustain throughout their lives.
Last, but not least one of the most important roles XC plays in the life of our runners is in the area of social development and in growing friendships! Most of the athletes on the team are friends with each other. They spend a lot of time together at practice, but for many athletes the people on the team are their best friends outside of practice as well. If your student-athlete does not know many people going into the school year, they will know about 30 athletes by the end of the summer and will gain many close friends as well. Additionally athletes on the team will be part of something bigger than themselves a school community which supports other teams as well.
Mr. Robby Cherry - Cross Country Head Coach
"I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5
Bachelors of Science Degree
Education- Instructional Leadership
8 years in education (math)
11 years in coaching (cross country and track & field)
Hello and blessings to you in the name of Jesus. My name is Robby Cherry and I am entering my eighth year teaching at Crean Lutheran High School. I am excited to be returning to Crean Lutheran and feel extremely blessed to be teaching in this rich Christ-centered environment.
I will be entering my eighth year of teaching math here at Crean Lutheran. This year I will be teaching AP Calculus AB and BC. In addition to these classes I will also be involved in our school's math club, which is an outstanding academic club offered at Crean Lutheran led by some of our very own students. I am also honored to serve as Crean Lutheran's Math Department Chair. In this role I will be leading our math department to fulfilling our school's mission of proclaiming Jesus Christ through excellence in education.
This will be my eighth year coaching cross country and track and field at Crean Lutheran, and my third year as the Head Cross Country Coach and Head Track and Field Coach for the Saints. Overall, I will be in my eleventh year coaching these sports at the college or high school level. In particular I was a graduate assistant coach at Lipscomb University for two years and an assistant coach at Biola University for one year before coming to Crean Lutheran.
Please read below to find out more about myself and how the Lord has brought me here.
I feel privileged to have received a Christ-centered education from Westmont College, in Santa Barbara. At Westmont, I pursued my passion of studying mathematics and competing in cross country and track and field, but also grew in my faith tremendously. After four years of studies, I earned a bachelors of science degree in Mathematics. In addition to a degree I also met my wife Elizabeth, whom I have been married to for six years now! Together we have two children Lauren and Cameron who are a joy and amazing blessing to us.
Upon graduating I took a Graduate Assistant Coach position at Lipscomb University (a Christian University in Nashville, TN). This position consisted of two years of assistant coaching at an NCAA Division I University as well as two years of studying to earn a Masters degree. After completing the program I earned a Master’s Degree in Education with an emphasis in Instructional Leadership.
Having received degrees both in education as well as in mathematics, I felt a strong calling to teach math and coach at the high school level. In 2011 I was fortunate to be called not only to teach, but also to coach here at Crean Lutheran High School. I can’t describe what a perfect match Crean Lutheran has been for me over the past few years. It is clear to me that God is sovereign over bringing me to this place for His purposes. It is my hope reflect God's love in this place through education.
(949) 916-0897 ext. 2104
garrett miller, class of 2019, westmont college, track & field and cross country
robert morris, class of 2019, concordia university irvine, track & field and cross country
craig odenwald, class of 2018, westmont college, track & field and cross country
peter weiss, class of 2018, george fox university, track & field and cross country
mandy reyes, class of 2016, biola university, track & field and cross country
ariana sciarra, class of 2016, the master's college, track & field and cross country
sean pino, class of 2015, lipscomb university, track & field and cross country
tyler arnold, class of 2015, concordia university irvine, track & field and cross country
lauren maurer, class of 2015, university of california, cross country
Crean Lutheran girls and boys cross country teams look to continue success
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7
Crean Lutheran’s girls and boys varsity cross country teams are looking forward to continuing their success during the 2019 season under Coach Robby Cherry. The cross country teams will both be following their bible verse this year. “For our team, this verse is a helpful daily reminder for us to stay focused on our mission and our goals as a team,” Cherry added.
“The mission is to proclaim Jesus Christ through excellence in cross country. That is, to compete to the very best of our abilities in a Christ honoring way. We hope that through cross country athletes would learn the value of hard work, teamwork, commitment and integrity. And just as Paul received a crown of righteousness for remaining faithful, so we hope to be rewarded with personal growth and team success that student-athletes would be able to take with them in their lives ahead."
The Saints hope to utilize their experience for success. “I'm very excited that the majority of our core team from last year is still in tact,” Cherry said. “We finished fourth last season in league and we are returning four varsity runners including seniors Arianna Kochan (captain), Payton McGaffigan (captain) and Maddie Luther as well as junior Julia Cuddyer. “Arianna is our top returning runner from last year with a 15th place finish at league finals (the 10th fastest returner).”
Crean Lutheran will be adding two sophomores, Emily Reed and Kaela Brenner, who “both are coming off of outstanding track seasons where they ran long distance events,” Cherry said. Brenner was the Saints’ MVP for track and field last year and “certainly has the potential to be one of the top cross country runners in our league this year,” Cherry said. Cherry said he has high expectations for the Saints. “I am hoping that our team can earn a spot into CIF post season with a top three finish in league this year,” he said.
Crean Lutheran has had quite a run since 2011, finishing either first or second in league every season. “Our senior class, led by the trio of CJ Koerber, Michael Vasquez and Anthony Fitzgerald are going to try to continue that tradition this year,” Cherry said. “While most of our top runners from last season did graduate, I am excited to see how our senior class can respond and create a team of their own.” CJ Koerber and Michael Vasquez, who according to Cherry, ”had breakout track seasons this past spring,” will look to continue that success in cross country.
The Saints also welcome Fitzgerald, who is primarily a swimmer. Cherry said he hopes Fitzgerald “will be able to duplicate his success from last season to help his team succeed this year.” Athletes who are vying for the final varsity positions include Charlie Wagner, Gavin Burkhart and Gavin Paul. “But I would not be surprised to see someone else break into the top five this season,” Cherry said.
Cross country season features many personal bests by Crean Lutheran athletes
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7
Many Crean Lutheran High School cross country athletes set personal bests this season.
“In total 33 of 37 athletes on the team ran their fastest time ever this season,” said Coach Robby Cherry.
The runners accomplished another important goal, he said. “Our team was very focused on our mission all season of proclaiming Jesus Christ and I believe we succeeded in running the race marked out for us,” Cherry said.
“Our team was also able to serve our community with a service project in connection with Charity on Wheels, an organization which helps to serve the homeless community of Orange County. We were able to worship with this community while also helping to serve them food and distribute clothing.”
In competition, the boys team finished eighth and the girls team was ninth in the small schools division at the Orange County Championships which had more than 20 teams. Crean Lutheran’s Kaela Brenner was first team team all-league.
“The boys team was consistently led by the duo of seniors Michael Vasquez and CJ Koerber, each of whom improved by over a minute and broke into the school's top 10 list while breaking 16 minutes for three miles,” Cherry said. Also contributing were Gavin Burkhart, Charlie Wagner, Ethan Miller, Andrew Sheha and Gavin Paul.
A number of other girls contributed. “Seniors Arianna Kochan, Maddie Luther, Julie Koyamatsu, Ciera Rasmussen and Payton McGaffigan all played a role in our team’s success. Arianna has been consistently our number one or two runner over the past three years,” Cherry said. “Junior Julia Cuddyer and sophomore Emily Reed also contributed on the varsity team.”
Crean Lutheran girls cross country runners show determination and dedication
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7 Crean Lutheran High School’s girls cross country runners worked hard since last summer to prepare themselves for the start of the season, which was delayed until February due to COVID-19. The Saints held their first ever on-campus meet on Saturday, February 6.
“This year’s girls cross country team has been dedicated to training together since August of 2020,” said Coach Robby Cherry. “Over that time our girls team has shown tremendous improvement and we are hoping that we can continue to improve as a team this season.
“Our team verse this year for cross country is Galatians 6:9, which says ‘And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.’ This verse is a key for our team’s growth and success this season as we reflect on how daily commitment is key for our development.
A number of girls are leading the way for the Saints, Cherry said. “Our girls team is led by junior Kaela Brenner who specializes in middle distance running, but has shown that she can also compete at a high level in cross country as well,” Cherry said. “Kaela is amongst the best cross country runners in the Empire League and is also amongst the top runners in our CIF division as well. Emily Reed (junior) and Julia Cuddyer (senior) are the next top returning runners for the Saints.
“As we develop we are going to depend on Julia’s leadership as our sole four-year cross country athlete on the girls side. New additions to our varsity team this year include sophomore Tannis Bailey, junior Allison Bae, sophomore Skyler Rauch, junior Margaret O’Brien and senior Lesley Warren.”
Crean Lutheran boys cross country runners ‘doing the right things’
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7
Crean Lutheran High School’s boys cross country runners and coaches set some goals for the season, which was delayed until February because of COVID-19. Crean Lutheran hosted its first on-campus meet Saturday, February 6.
“This year's boys cross country team has been all about growth, culture development and consistency in the midst of an uncertain season of life,” said Coach Robby Cherry. “Since August of 2020 our boys cross country team has been training consistently and developing successful habits, routines and mindsets that are helping us to become an excellent program.
“Our theme verse for this season is Galtians 6:9 which says, ‘And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.’ This theme verse has been a helpful reminder for me to focus on consistency and on doing the right things and trusting that the outcomes will follow. More importantly, this verse reminds us to remain faithful in our walk with Jesus and to not give up.”
Cherry said he is optimistic. “We believe our team could finish in the top three in the Empire league this season,” he said. “Our goal for the boys team this season is to have four boys run under 17 minutes for three miles in the same race and have a team time under 83:45.”
Some individuals are expected to lead the way, Cherry said. “This season we expect our team to be led by freshman standout runner Hayden Rivas who has burst onto the scene as one of the top runners in the Empire League this year,” he said. “Jeremy Lauro (junior), Gavin Burkhart (junior) and Ethan Miller (junior) have each made great strides this season as our 2-3-4 runners and David Whitney (freshman), Russell Mo (sophomore), Lucas Tanikawa (sophomore) and Bobby Westerfeld (sophomore) have each contributed on the varsity level this year as well.”