Given the suspension of athletics in the county, the Daily Journal decided to dive into our 20-year archives to bring readers some of our favorite stories over the years.

NOV. 9, 2015 — Neither Ryan McAuliffe nor Annalisa Crowe consider cross country their first sport. Yet the two were both wearing gold medals Saturday at the 2015 Peninsula Athletic League Championships at the Crystal Springs Cross Country Course.

Crowe — a senior at Menlo-Atherton — got her name in the history books for M-A, recording a time of 18 minutes, 19 seconds, the second fastest time in program history. Only Laurie Andeen has done better on the 3.2-mile course with a 17:49, a school record that has stood since 1986.

McAuliffe — an Aragon senior — turned in the most exciting finish of the day, waiting until the last 200 meters while taking the final turn to sprint into the lead. Half Moon Bay senior Graham Faust led most of the way, but McAuliffe executed a deliberate strategy to draft the leaders. And it paid off, as he finished with a 15:48, just ahead of Faust’s 15:51.

“I passed him and he stayed with me a couple seconds,” McAuliffe said. “But honestly, I didn’t know I won it until I got to the finish line and heard the cheering fade a little bit.”

McAuliffe is a four-year varsity cross-country runner, and finished fifth in last year’s PAL Championships, including the best time of all non-seniors. And while he is entertaining the notion of running at the collegiate level, he said he is still deciding between cross country and his favorite sport — ice hockey. He has played travel hockey with Golden State Elite for the past 10 years.

Crowe’s best sport is much closer to the world of cross country. The senior, who considers herself foremost a track-and-field competitor, is specifically an 800-meter specialist. She took gold in each the 800 and the 1,600 at last season’s PAL Track finals. And Saturday she added a gold to her trophy case with a commanding run.

“She’s the fastest girl I’ve coached at M-A,” M-A head coach Eric Wilmurt said, who has run the program for 21 years. “She’s an 800-meter racer … and knows if she wants to do that, she has to have fast cross-county times and win some races in the process.”

Admittedly, though, Crowe was worried about the fastest rising star on the PAL cross-country circuit, San Mateo freshman Mallorie Jenne. After being promoted to the varsity team midway through the season, Jenne has emerged as the heir apparent to Crowe’s reign at Crystal Springs through her senior season.

“I was a little worried about that freshman girl,” Crowe said. “She’s new, so she could just come right up on me. I did that a lot (as a freshman).”

Jenne took silver with a time of 18:46, topping Mills junior Sarah Gayer who took third with 18:49. M-A senior Cat Depuy took fourth with a 19:13, edging Sequoia senior Sophie Walton who timed at 19:14.

The M-A girls finished first overall in the team competition. Senior Madeleine Baier placed sixth with a 19:27; freshman Anna Leake 17th with a 20:29; sophomore Olivia Shane 18th with a 20:33; junior Olivia Tai 24th with a 20:50; and freshman Sara Osterberg 26th with a 21:01.

Crowe — who didn’t run cross country the previous two years due to bouts with tendonitis — said this season has been a special one for the M-A team.

“It’s been great,” Crowe said. “I have my two seniors Madeleine and Cat, who have been with me on varsity for four years. … Then there’s all these underclassmen who have stepped up.”

And the underclassmen certainly look up to Crowe as a mentor.

“Two thumbs up,” Leake said of Crowe’s presence as a role model. “Maybe if I had thumbs on my feet, four thumbs up.”

The Half Moon Bay boys brought home the team title. Junior Corey O’Driscoll took third place with a 16:25; senior Khalil Droubi fourth with a 16:40; senior Aidan Shimeld fifth with a 16:41; sophomore Jared Mansukhani 12th with a 16:55; senior Patrick Jones 13th with a 16:58; and junior Sam Reynolds 14th with a 16:58.

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