By Owen Vasta
Lauren Purifoy, 11, and Garrett Vasta, 11, are Martin Luther King High School’s (King) top Varsity Cross Country (XC) runners. Purifoy has had a sensational running career. In her 2016 season, she finished second in State and after that amazing performance she was invited to Nike Cross Nationals, which was held in Portland, Oregon, on December 3, 2016. At the Nike Cross Nationals, she finished first out of the five girls invited from California, and 25th overall. “My hopes are to make it back to state with my team and qualify for Nike Cross Nationals again. I plan to execute my plans by pushing myself hard in practice, racing fearlessly and trusting God has it all under control.” This season she has won four out of five races and beat her personal best by nine seconds. At her latest race, October 21, 2017, she placed 2nd in the individual Sweepstakes race and obtained the 12th fastest time in the 70 years of the Mt. Sac Invitational meet.
Garrett Vasta is currently ranked seventh in Big VIII and is first for junior boys in the league. On October 21, 2017, Vasta placed third in the Inland Empire Challenge, helping the varsity team placed first overall. At the same event, Vasta was named the seventh fastest junior in Riverside County. When asked about his goals and how to achieve them Vasta responded with, “This season I would like to lead my team to California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Finals. To do so, I will get my team to work for each other to accomplish the goal of qualifying for CIF Finals.” This season has been very consistent for Vasta, as he has placed in the top 10 for every race. He has also ran a personal best of 15:27 over three miles, improving by twenty-one seconds from last year. The date for the CIF final race is November 18th, 2017 at the Riverside Cross Country course, 1011 Orange St, Riverside, CA 92501.