Harriers Win NCS Titles, Falter at State Meet

Harriers Win NCS Titles, Falter at State Meet

Sarah Orders, Sports Editor

Both varsity cross country squads placed 4th at the CIF State Championships on November 26th. The girls were three points from 3rd place and seven points from 2nd place, while they boys were just one point from 3rd place.

Individually, the teams’ front runners, seniors Carrie Verdon and Thomas Joyce, placed 1st and 3rd in the girls’ and boys’ races, respectively. Verdon defended her 2010 title with a dramatic come from behind win. Verdon trailed Oakmont’s Karlie Garcia for most of the race. At the two-mile mark, Garcia held an eight second advantage. Verdon closed over the final mile however, and took the lead with just 50 meters remaining.

Verdon said, ” I was super nervous before the race because the competition was so good, but once the race started all the nerves went away.”

Joyce improved upon his 5th place finish from the previous year, running 11 seconds faster than he did in 2010. “I wanted to win it, but still ended up doing a lot better than most people thought I could,” said Joyce.

Joyce started conservatively, as has been his tendency throughout the season, but pushed hard in the second mile to pull shoulder to shoulder with the leader and pre race favorite, St. John Bosco’s Danny Martinez. Though Joyce faded slightly in the final 800 meters, he remained will ahead of the main field through the finish.

In the team competition, both squads faltered. There were gaps between runners that had not been as large during other meets throughout the season. Joyce said, “Some people had bad races and other couldn’t fill the gaps when needed.” According to the boys’ number two runner, senior Vinson Compestine, the squad is better than they ran a state and they just had an off day.

Verdon, discussing the girls’ team performance said the squad had a tough day and things did not go quite as planned. But it was something all the girls learned from. Number two runner and junior Megan McMillan said, “I knew that since it was most of our first times racing at state, anything could have happened.”

Both teams won NCS Championships titles on November 19, with Verdon and Joyce also taking individual titles. The girls’ and boys’ squads set the team-time course records at the Hayward High School site, making them the fastest teams across all divisions in section history.

The girls surpassed Carondelet’s team time from 2006 and the boys beat Campolindo’s time from the highly regarded 2008 squad.