1st Place Boys’ XC Reloaded, Ready to Defend Titles

Kelly Pien, Staff Writer

The boys’ varsity cross country team placed 1st at their opening Diablo Foothill Athletic League  meet. The girls’ varsity team placed 4th.

For the boys, the success is a bit of a surprise.

“We’ve actually been doing well,” said senior captain Adam Hathaway. “We expected it to be a growing year since we lost many to graduation.” In fact, the varsity squad, winners of last years’ league and section titles, graduated three of their top five, including All-NorCal runner Thomas Joyce, who is now competing for the Bears at the University of California, Berkeley.

According to coach Chuck Woolridge, “Last year, [the boys and the girls] won NCS and were comparable in terms of success.”

Hathaway said he believes the boys’ varsity team definitely has a chance at repeating that success. “We’re in a good position to win NCS [this year],” said Hathaway, who described the team as “stacked.” He hopes the team will place somewhere in the top 3 at the state competition, which he knows will be “much harder.”

The shadow of last year’s league and section title performance is still looming over this year’s girls’ team. Junior captain Haley Shipway said they are not doing as well because “people are getting injured.” In addition, two-time state champion Carrie Verdon has graduated to the NCAA, where she is competing for Colorado. “Carrie was an outstanding leader,” said Woolridge.

However, Shipway is optimistic about the team’s future. “I think we can get it together and win league,” Shipway said. “It also depends on the other schools.”  Those other schools would be Las Lomas and Acalanes, which have posted impressive performances to best the Cougars at early season invitationals, as well as at the first league meet of the year.

Freshman Emily Lawrie, a recent newcomer to the varsity, also believes they can rebound and improve their league standing in the next DFAL center meet. “We’ve been working hard and we’ve built up a lot of endurance for this meet,” she said. “I think if we push ourselves hard enough, we’ll be able to make our comeback.”

There are 9 cross country meets throughout the season, but only 3 count toward the final league standings, according to Shipway. “The other meets are just for fun and to scare the other schools.”

In the first Center Meet, on September 19th, the boys’ varsity and junior varsity teams both placed 1st and while the frosh-soph boys’ and girls’ teams placed 2nd.

In the most recent competition, the Roughrider Invitational on October 12th, though it did not count toward league standings, the  boys’ varsity, girls’ varsity, boys’ junior varsity, and boys’ frosh-soph all won. The girls’ frosh-soph team placed 3rd.

Lawrie believes their performance at Roughrider is a good indicator of what they can accomplish in the final league meets. “We did well at Friday’s meet, so it’ll boost our team’s self-esteem.”