FREMONT -- When Washington High's Nolan Petersen slipped and fell onto his hands and knees at the start of the Mission Valley Athletic League boys cross country championship race Thursday, he didn't panic.
He caught up with the lead pack approximately 600 meters into the 3.1 mile race at Coyote Hills Regional Park, took the lead approximately 200 meters later and led the rest of the way to defend his title.
"I got off to a really bad start, but once I caught everybody, I felt good," Petersen said. "I caught up really quick."
Petersen led by 15 seconds near the halfway point of the race and ended up winning by more than 10 seconds with a time of 17 minutes, 27.21 seconds. James Logan's Christian Monsalud was second (17:39.74).
American and James Logan both had team scores of 46, but the Eagles won the boys championship team title due to the tiebreaker, which was the fastest sixth runner. American's Bryan Morales (21st, 18:51.30) clinched the win for the Eagles, who will share the overall league title with James Logan due to a point system that includes league regular-season results.
Spencer Yee and Alex Kunz paced American with third and fourth-place finishes respectively in 17:51.08 and 18:01.21. Other American High scorers were Miguel Morales (sixth, 18:13.90), Ferdinand Abad (15th, 18:41.18) and Darien Young (18th, 18:49.21).
A Washington individual also won the girls championship race. Sophomore Dylan Kennedy, who had never raced on the course before, won in 21:00.52. She took the lead for the first time in the race in the last mile. James Logan's Sarah Perrin was second (21:16.11).
Kennedy led Washington to the girls championship team title. The Huskies finished with a score of 38, with Mission San Jose second (50) and James Logan third (74). The three teams tied for the overall league title.
Besides Kennedy, other Washington scorers included Jessica Yee (fourth, 21:41.93), Trina Lazzara (ninth, 22:11.55), Emily Hoeven (10th, 22:19.71) and Celeste Luna (14th, 22:34.80).