St. Francis senior E.J. Kelly took 28th in the Division V race of Saturday morning’s California Interscholastic Federation Cross Country Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno.
Making his fourth and final appearance at the state meet, Kelly completed the 5-kilometer course in 16 minutes, and 51.3 seconds. He passed up 15 runners over the last mile to notch his best finish in Fresno — he was 29th last fall.
The other three local runners finished outside of the top 50 in their respective races.
Watsonville sophomore Layla Ruiz placed 63rd in the girls D-I race, Aptos senior Josiah Sweet finished 56th in the boys D-III run and Ceiba College Prep freshman Nellie Rubio-Pintor crossed the finish line of the girls D-V race in 64th.
Ruiz, the Central Coast Section D-I runner-up last week, was hoping to improve on her finish from last fall — she took 30th in the same race — but was inadvertently tripped during the first mile and took a messy tumble.
Ruiz, the top freshman runner in Northern California last season, dusted herself off, and battled her way back into the top 100 runners over the final two miles. She passed up 26 runners during the second mile, and another 23 during the third to finish with a time of 19:06.3.
Sweet finished off his four-year varsity career by setting a new personal best at Woodward park. He finished in 16:33.8, shedding nearly 38 seconds off his time from last season.
Rubio-Pintor, a surprise star who this season became Ceiba’s inaugural section and state meet qualifier, finished in 20:49.1.