Gwendolen Twist didn’t quite know what to expect in her first season coaching the boys and girls cross country teams at St. Monica High—a much smaller and not as successful a program as she was used to at Palisades High, where she helped the Dolphins become a perennial City contender.
Winning league titles was the norm at Palisades and the mom fron the Alphabet Streets intends on making that the case at her new school too. Saturday at the Santa Fe League Finals in San Pedro the Mariners ran their hearts out for their coach and took first place.
“It’s really cool that St. Monica hired a female head coach and supported me 100 percent. Every crazy notion I had was given the green light, they believed in me when they hired me over the summer and have kept supporting me as we build this program.”
Twist is not only a successful running coach, she is also an elite distance runner with The Janes, a women’s racing and training club based in Santa Monica.
On Sunday morning she joined a field of 20 for The Janes Mile in Marina del Rey, where teammates Emily Bernath and Cambria Wu won the Open and Masters races. Twist won the Palisades Turkey Trot 5K for the first time in 2019, beating her friend and Janes teammate Tania Fischer, who had won the local Thanksgiving Day race five times in a row.
Twist ran Sunday’s mile with fellow Palisadians Layla and Leena Adeli, whom she used to train at Pali High. Layla won the High School Division in 6:13 and her younger sister was second in 6:30.
Monica Thompson of St. Monica was fourth in 6:45 and teammate Liliana Ordonez was fifth in 7:07.
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