Nobody has dominated Trinity League girls’ cross-country the way Nadia Tabrizi has during her stay at JSerra.
And to think she’s just beginning the second half of the race, better known as her high school running career.
Tabrizi has won the regular-season cluster meet and league finals each of the past two seasons, and the junior will look to defend the first of those titles Sept. 27 at Central Park in Huntington Beach.
What’s different about this season is Tabrizi figures to get challenged in league more than ever, and her closest competitors will likely be those she trains with daily.
The Lions took seven of the top eight spots at the Trinity League finals last November, and only one of those seven runners for JSerra was a senior, Mckayla Giacobetti.
Tabrizi was first on the three-mile course in 17 minutes 50.6 seconds, teammate Tristan Saltonstall was second in 18:00.9, Giacobetti finished fourth (18:54) and JSerra runners Isabella Abusaid (18:57.4), Abbey Guinane (19:00.4), Tristin Szenczi (19:03.9) and Marie Chahrouri (19:04.3) took fifth through eighth to run away with the team title.
The only non-JSerra runner that finished in the top eight at league finals and returns this season is McKenzie Shulman of Santa Margarita.
Chahrouri, Saltonstall and Abusaid, especially, have shown at various times that they can keep pace with Tabrizi. Still, finishing ahead of her in an open competition remains an unmet goal.
Saltonstall finished 10 seconds behind Tabrizi at the league finals last season and was just a second behind Tabrizi at JSerra’s team trials last month on the school’s home course.
Chahrouri, a senior, finished far ahead of Tabrizi in those same trials, covering the 3.06-mile layout in 19 minutes 8 seconds. Tabrizi finished in 19:57.
Two weeks later, Chahrouri finished a half-second behind Tabrizi on the two-mile course at the Fastback Shootout at Arcadia County Park.
Make no mistake, Tabrizi is still the runner to beat for the Lions, and she has maintained that role ever since she arrived on campus two years ago.
In her first team trial as a freshman, she tied for first with Giacobetti, then at the official season-opening Laguna Hills Invitational, she was unmatched on her team, winning her freshman division race with a time that was 45 seconds better than the next-fastest JSerra runner.
She continued to lead the way right up to the Division 4 state finals at Woodward Park in Fresno, when she circled the 5,000-meter course in 18 minutes 59 seconds, finishing 32nd overall and helping JSerra take seventh as a team.
On the same state course last season, she improved her time to 18:15.6 and bettered her finish to fifth, helping JSerra take third in the team standings.
At the Laguna Hills Invitational earlier this month, Tabrizi didn’t go as hard as she has in the past. She won her junior division race in 19:04, which was slower than the year before, when she finished in 18:17, and slower than what she ran as a freshman, when she completed the course in 18:48.
Tabrizi has also put her name in the school’s track and field record books.
At the prestigious Arcadia Invitational last April, Tabrizi ran 10:55 in the 3,200 meters, becoming the first girl in school history to break 11 minutes.
And she’s halfway through her high school track and field career as well.