Cross Country participates in first league meet

Cross country competed in its first Hacienda League meet of the season at Bonelli Park Wednesday, Sept. 11.

Varsity girls and boys, junior varsity girls and frosh boys all placed first in their respective divisions, and junior varsity boys placed second. The team competed against Charter Oak, Diamond Ranch, Los Altos, South Hills and West Covina.

“Before the race, I was very nervous and timid, and my body felt weak. After the race, however, I felt refreshed,” freshman Dominic Behar said. “I enjoyed running with my friends because we could push each other to run harder during the race.”

In the varsity girls race, junior Abbie Laurel placed first with a time of 23:02 for three miles. In the varsity boys race, junior Chris Razo placed second with a time of 16:38. 

“The race was tiring, but it felt good at the end when everyone was cheering me on. The cheering gave me motivation to keep on sprinting,” Laurel said. “Staying with the first group felt good because I wasn’t sure if I could keep the pace, but I’m glad I did.”

The three-mile course featured a variety of terrain to run on, including pavement, grass and dirt. Runners had to complete two loops around Bonelli Park, running up hills along the way. 

“It’s a very treacherous course. There’s grass, hills, dirt and loose gravel, and it’s incredibly hard to run up the hill. You have to have heart and willpower to push through that and keep going. That’s the most important quality a runner should have,” varsity junior Robert Arriaga said. 

This meet was the first league race under the new varsity coach, Jerry Knox, and assistant coach, Josh Bandy, following the death of former coach Jim Polite. In preparation for the race, Knox and Bandy created workouts that focused primarily on hill repeats (intense sprints up and down hills) and speed in order to prepare runners for the rough terrain of the course. 

“The race was bittersweet, knowing that I only have a few more races left,” varsity senior Amanda Ghibaudo said. “I’m still looking around for Coach Polite’s chair, knowing that he was always there [at the league meets]. I know we’re making him proud here.” 

By Raymond Dunn, Opinion editor
Photo by Raymond Dunn