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Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

Cross country competes in the second Hacienda League meet

Out of six schools, varsity boys placed fifth and varsity girls fourth.
Photo courtesy of Ryan Maine
Varsity and junior varsity boys begin their 3-mile race at Horsethief Canyon Park.

Varsity cross country raced against Rowland, Wilson, Diamond Bar, South Hills and Los Altos High School during their second Hacienda League meet at Horsethief Canyon Park, San Dimas on Wednesday, Oct. 11. 

Varsity boys placed fifth and varsity girls fourth out of the six schools that competed, with Rowland earning first place overall. The race spanned three miles across an elevated course. With their teammates’ verbal support and encouragement, the Mustangs felt determined to push forward. 

“I think [the team] did really good at pushing and motivating each other. Most of the people on the varsity girls team beat their [personal records] at this race compared to last meet for sure and we were only one point away from third place,” varsity freshman Julianna Laurel said. “I was really surprised when I saw my time on the big timer. I felt proud.” 

Laurel came in first overall, securing the top individual spot at 19:55. Despite the challenges she came across when tackling some of the rockier parts of the course and running uphill, she found ways to persevere through the race by keeping her goal in sight and mentally encouraging herself. 

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“It’s hard to have to push the uphills, but still be able to save enough energy to go through the race. I like talking to myself in my head to motivate myself to keep going,” Laurel said. “It also gets really loud, but it’s helpful to hear everybody cheering.” 

However, the team still faced other hardships that made the race more difficult than expected. With many of the athletes still recovering from injuries, the junior varsity and varsity teams found themselves having to rearrange. 

“Running is hard. And it’s even harder when you have to run with an injury. Even if it isn’t so bad, it plays a big part in your head. It’s all about pushing through the mental block and still giving it your all,” varsity boys captain senior Dean Peiten said. 

Peiten was able to run faster than at the last league meet, but it was hard for him to beat his personal record since he set his time on a flat course rather than an elevated one. Although the race wasn’t easy, Peiten told himself to maintain a positive attitude. 

“I’m happy with my performance. I mean, there’s always room for improvement. And, you know, I think you can’t get too down on yourself. I felt like I was pushing hard the whole time, and that’s what’s important,” Peiten said.

The race intensified during the final half mile, where the rest of the course was downhill. The teams raced down a big concrete ramp that set off the final kick for the event. Everybody made sure to high-five their teammates, show off their spirited posters and shout at each other to run hard and push forward. 

“Overall, I’m proud of everyone for coming to practice and putting in the work, putting the time in for these meets,” Peiten said. “It’s not easy. It takes a certain kind of person for one to come back from challenges and run like that.”

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About the Contributor
Jocelyn Chen, Staff writer
Hi I'm Jocelyn Chen, I'm in the 10th grade, and I'm a staff writer for The Hoofprint. I enjoy writing and graphic design, as well as taking cool photos to fill up my camera roll. In my free time, I like going to the beach, reading, and listening to Drake.
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  • M

    MillyOct 17, 2023 at 8:23 pm

    Beautifully written and captivating article. Well done!

  • N

    NikkiOct 16, 2023 at 4:35 pm

    I think this was a wonderful article that perfectly captures the emotions that faced the cross country team. Great work!