JC CROSS COUNTRY: Calise, Adams turn in strong performances to set tone for El Camino. By Tony Ciniglio Staff Writer They honed their championship skills at San Pedro High, consistently bringing home Marine League and L.A. City Section cross country titles. Twins Megan and Kirsten Adams turned in their best performances in a season when they are trying to find a balance between cross country and soccer for El Camino. Courtney Stephens and Rubi, also former San Pedro runners, turned in gutsy performances by overcoming injuries and illnesses, helping El Camino finish an impressive fourth place in a 33-team field, qualifying for the state finals in two weeks at Fresno. “Considering everything we’ve faced in the last two weeks – lack of training from the fires, nagging injuries, sickness – we ran very well,” El Camino coach Dean Lofgren said of the women. “We know our women can be top three in the state, and the table’s been set for that now.” And the biggest tablesetter was Megan Adams, who notched a ninth-place finish in 19 minutes, 5 seconds on the 3.1-mile course in the 233-runner field. Adams had other commitments over the summer and could not work out with the team. Even during the season, she has split time during the season with soccer. “This was my best race, and I think it’s because I’ve been more consistent at practice,” Adams said. “I tried to get out fast in the beginning so I didn’t get stuck behind in the pack. On the hills, I kept up the pace, then I picked it up on the downhills. “I’m also very happy for the team. We all did well.” The El Camino men enjoyed a banner effort from Calise, who won the South Coast Conference title in 21:22 on the 4-mile course, earning an eighth-place finish overall in the 221-runner field. “I went with the front of the pack and stayed with them,” Calise said. “Some guys were falling off the pace, and I caught them.” The only downside for Calise was that El Camino fell to ninth place as a team and second in the conference. But El Camino still qualified for state. The other El Camino women also enjoyed stellar performances. Stephens took 25th overall in 19:50 despite battling shin splints and a tight calf muscle. “I just had to keep going – I felt strong the whole time.” Stephens said. “I just wish I was up there more at the front of the pack.” Kirsten Adams, facing the same obstacles as her sister, stepped up with a 29th-place finish in 19:53, which she said was also her best effort of the season. She was the third El Camino finisher overall. “It felt really good getting back up in the front of the pack – it must be a twin thing,” Kirsten Adams said. “We were not consistent in the summer, but once the season began, we knew we had to step up and be more consistent.” Rubi, one of El Camino’s most consistent performers, has been slowed the last three weeks by the flu and did not have her typical performance. But she still pushed through and finished 53rd in 20:35. “I had a really bad race – I started too fast,” Rubi said. “But the team ran well. I think by state, we’ll be even better because we’re all together on the same page.” email@example.comWant local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre Now at El Camino College, they are building another championship legacy. Former San Pedro stars Steven Calise and Megan Adams each turned in scintillating performances during Saturday’s Southern California Championships at Mount San Antonio College. As a result of the Southern California wildfires, the conference championships were determined from the meet, and the El Camino women used their glut of former San Pedro runners to take their second straight South Coast Conference title. “We came from winning league and City championships in high school to winning more championships here, and that’s pretty cool,” said El Camino’s Gabi Rubi, a former San Pedro standout. And it was cool the way the El Camino women pulled off their second straight championship.