By Ray Hamill — It’s safe to say Ai-Lan McGoldrick is back.
The Arcata junior won for the third straight week at Wednesday’s H-DNL cross country race at the Arcata Marsh and has established herself as the frontrunner this season once again.
After dominating during her freshman campaign two years ago and winning all seven H-DNL races, including the league championships, McGoldrick managed just one top-five finish in her sophomore season in the spring.
This year, however, she’s back with a bang and has been setting the pace every time she has competed.
The difference, according to head coach James Washington, is that she’s running with more confidence this season.
On Wednesday, McGoldrick finished the 5K course in a time of 20 minutes, 33.12 seconds, running her best time of the season in very windy conditions.
A talented H-DNL junior class took the top three spots, with Eureka’s Charlotte Leonard placing second in a time of 21:23.63, less than a second ahead of Fortuna’s Ella Owsley (21:24.5).
Eureka sophomore Miriam Mende (21:36.23) placed fourth, followed by Arcata sophomore Gabrielle Ducate (21:41.78), who ran her fastest 5K time ever.
The immediate future of the H-DNL appears to be in good hands, with six juniors, three sophomores and a freshman making up the top 10.
Arcata junior Raven Alvarez placed sixth followed in turn by Eureka junior Stasha Leonard, Fortuna sophomore Gabby Crosswhite, Arcata junior Alauna Thompson and Arcata freshman Lillian Cunningham.
Arcata and Eureka were the only schools to field complete teams, with the Tigers (25) taking the win over the Loggers (33) to sweep the day’s team competitions.
For a report on the boys race, see Top three boys all set new PRs in windy conditions at the Marsh …