Sports

MCHS cross country team takes top 20 in state

The women’s varsity cross country team pose after their championship race (Photo Courtesy of Leanne West)

By Josephine Rivera-Hoagland, editor

As Maria Carrillo High School’s fall sports wrapped up for the season, the cross country team headed to Woodward Park, Fresno, for the state meet on Nov. 26. The meet serves as a long-held tradition for both varsity teams and hosts some of the top runners in the nation each year. With incredible races from seniors Rebekah Taylor and Benjamin Choe, the women took 15th out of 24 teams, while the men took 16th out of 25 teams, respectively.

Fogg described the athletes as performing “about where we expected them to” based on the coaches’ prior projections. However, this year proved particularly taxing between an extremely competitive landscape and many viral infections over the course of the season. Although coaches had hoped for a top ten placing on both sides, “we’ve had that horrible flu that’s been going around,” said Fogg, estimating that “one out of three or four kids have been sick.” 

On the women’s side, Taylor led the pack with a time of 19:50.0 on the hilly 3.1-mile course, taking 72nd place out of 212 runners. “I felt really strong the whole time,” Taylor said afterward. “I tried to just keep moving up.” 

She was followed closely by junior Gracie Trenam (74th), junior Kira Moe (119th), and sophomore Brooke Szczekocki (121st). 

“I think we should all be proud of how we did today,” added Taylor.

The men’s cross country varsity team and alternates in Fresno (Courtesy of Leanne West)

For the men’s team, Choe took charge, achieving 89th place out of 214 runners with a time of 16:53.1, followed by juniors Gabe Sitton (105th) and Jack Wilson (107th). 

“The fact that we made it to state and got sixteenth is phenomenal,” said Sitton. “I love being able to do this [race] with these guys. Win or lose, this relationship with this team is a really great thing.”

Fogg said that freshman Trenton Dawson (122nd) ranhis favorite race, pacing alongside teammate Grant Sanderson (118th) near the end. Neck and neck, the two finished less than three seconds apart. “I executed the best possible,” commented Dawson, “I did what I could, and that’s all that matters.”

“It’s always good to just be here and be with the best teams in the state,” Fogg said.“We were a little off this year, but there’s no real concern.”

Next season, he hopes to “rebuild” the cross country program after sending off this year’s group: “The crew of seniors have been long-term dedicated for all four years.” Losing the seniors on men’s varsity will be especially difficult, as team captains Sean Gubera and Jonathan Donohue, alongside Choe, take off for college.

“It was tough to know that we never had a full, strong, varsity seven in a race that was healthy and ready to go,” Gubera said. He estimated that half the team was sick on Saturday, but nevertheless felt that each runner had tried his best. “I think it just made everybody stronger for future seasons.”

“We gave a lot today,” said Sitton as the team packed up their gear. “The fact that we made it to state and got where we did is phenomenal.” 

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