Girls’ XC Dominates State Course Preview

Kelly Pien, Opinion Editor

Varsity girls’ cross country, currently ranked #1 in California for Division 3 schools by, placed 1st at the Roughrider Invitational on October 18 at Woodward Park in Fresno.

The girls’ frosh-soph squad also placed 1st, while the varsity boys and junior varsity boys each finished 2nd.  The frosh-soph boys finished 3rd.

Overall, the Cougars dominated the small school division at the meet hosted by Lincoln High School.

The invitational did not count towards DFAL standings. According to coach Chuck Woolridge, the purpose of attending Roughrider was to practice running on the course that will be used for the state championships at the end of November.

“We’re definitely confident we’ll go to state,” said senior Omid Boozapour.

At this meet, however, the team was not at full strength. “The boys’ team was without their number 1 runner, Aidan Goltra, who was out with an ankle injury,” explained Woolridge.

Goltra’s recovery is moving along well and he is expected to return to competition before the post season, according to Boozapour.

Without their ace in the lineup, several younger athletes were given a chance to run the 3 mile distance. “We had a lot of guys who got to step up and be on varsity,” said Boozapour.  They included sophomores Jonathan Semenza and Nathaniel Sauerberg, and freshman Jared Yabu.

Also fielding a young roster, the varsity girls included 5 sophomores and 1 freshman at Roughrider. However, there are also 3 juniors and 1 senior running. “Though we have several sophomores, it should be pointed out that the 3 juniors have been on varsity for three years. To say that we have a lack of experience would be incorrect,” said Woolridge.

One of those juniors is Brighie Leach, who placed 1st.  Leach is listed 3rd on’s current individual state rankings. According to Woolridge, she has “a legitimate shot at the state title.”

Roughrider may not be indicative of how the team will fair at the next DFAL meet, the final Center Meet on October 30, however. Only 3 teams at Roughrider, Dublin, Dougherty Valley, and Campolindo are in DFAL.

Woolridge’s goal for the 6 cross country squads (boys’ and girls’ varsity, frosh-soph, and junior varsity teams) is to sweep all divisions at the last regular season meet.