XC Ready to Defend NCS Titles


Freshman Hana Sun races in the girls varsity race at the DFAL Championships on November 3rd. She placed 4th on the team and 10th overall.

Brooke Presten, Staff Writer

Heading into Saturday’s NCS Championship cross country meet, the toughest competition for the Cougars in Division III will come from the Diablo Foothill Athletic League (DFAL).  Familiar rival Miramonte continues to be the boys’ biggest threat, while Las Lomas is the team to beat for the girls.

The varsity boys’ team is confident after winning the DFAL title for a fifth consecutive season. Coach Chuck Woolridge said, “The boys’ team is excited about defending their NCS title given their regular season performances. Winning NCS is their goal.”

The squad has won six NCS titles since 2003, including last year’s championship.

“The girls continue to improve each week. We are closer to Las Lomas than we have been all season,” said Woolridge. The Las Lomas girls’ varsity has an impressive pack, with all five scoring runners usually within a minute of one another.

The Campo girls finished second to the Knights at the league championships on November 3. However, their previous success at NCS, having won seven titles since 2000, and setting the course record last year, has earned the Cougars respect in the division.

During the week leading up to Saturday’s NCS meet, the team has turned its focus towards health and recovery. Woolridge said, “The hundreds of miles of training since June will have a greater impact than any running we do in the last weeks preceding the meet.  The most important thing now is to stay healthy.”

According to Woolridge, junior Aidan Goltra on the boys’ side and sophomores Brighie Leach and Rachel Johnson on the girls’ side, will be vital. Leach won the individual league crown, while Johnson was third.

Goltra led most of the DFAL race, ahead of Miramonte’s Tyler Hanson, but was beaten out in the last 400 meters.

Johnson said, “My goal is to win NCS individually and as a team. That would be a great feeling.”

According to Leach, to prepare for races, cross country looks at the map of the course and plans out where they need to push hard. Leach said, “I definitely have more confidence since my win at DFALs that I can stay up with the top girls and possibly win NCS.”

Junior Will Moran said, “It is important that we get our sleep and taper down. We have worked hard in every practice all season.” According to Moran and Leach, the their focus before the race is determining where they have to push themselves and pull ahead. Moran said, “Its a long race and we need to be mentally and physically prepared if we are going for another NCS title.”

The NCS cross country championships will be held on Saturday, November 17 at Hayward High School.