Cross-country teams deliver in season openers
very year, the cross-country team is known to dominate the PSAL. As the largest sports team with 55 students, there are always plenty of talented runners, and this year is no exception, especially with the continued leadership from coach Robert Lopez and assistant coach Samantha Huff, who is also a math teacher. The team has run three meets so far, proving their potential in the upcoming season.
“This year we have a really big team and a team that’s coming out every day and being really consistent about putting in the hard work,” Huff said. “Come November, when we’re heading off to championships, we’re going to be ready.”
The team headed up to Golden Gate Park for the first meet of the season on Sept. 7, racing in the Lowell Invitational, a course over two miles “littered with pots of mud” and shrouded in fog in the “classic San Francisco fashion,” as varsity runner Sebastian Solorzano ‘21 put it. As a small school running in invitationals with typically larger schools, the teams had an immediate disadvantage, simply due to team size. Nonetheless, the runners demonstrated their speed across all the divisions.
The boys freshman team, running the 2.13 mile long course, placed in fifth, with runners placing as high as sixth out of 225 total runners from all over Northern California.
This is the first time the Nueva varsity girls have scored a perfect fifteen in awhile. It was really empowering because even though we lost a lot of our really good runners, we were able to succeed.
Both the boys varsity team and the girls varsity team ran the 2.93 mile long course, placing twentieth and sixth respectively. The girls varsity team had all runners place in the first 88, with the fastest runner, Hanna Zarrinegar ‘20, coming in eleventh. Even though there weren’t enough runners to form full JV teams, the individual runners still represented Nueva with strength, beating personal records and setting the precedent for the rest of the season.
“Lowell was…our first time running as this varsity team specifically. We were able to come together and see how we perform in a race and we hadn’t done that before,” Zarrinegar said. “I think we all…ran really well together, so that brought us closer as a team and helped us in our training afterwards.”
Huff echoes this, saying the girls’ team, “a smaller team, but very mighty,” could go really far.
“They’re actually ranked sixth in the state, and we have some new faces that that doesn’t even account for either, so the girls’ team is actually positioned to podium at state, if all goes well,” Huff said.
At the Ed Sias Invitational in Martinez, California one week later, compared to other schools, the tiny-but-mighty team exhibited their talent yet again. Specifically, all the frosh-soph girls were able to place in the first 50, with the JV boys team placing 21st overall. The boys varsity team did particularly well, placing seventh overall, with all its runners placing in the top 100.
“We have a lot of depth, so we have strength on both the varsity and JV team,” Huff said. “We have a really strong contingent of freshmen boys, and they’re able to run really well together and run as a pack, and so they’re going to be a force to be reckoned with.”
I hope that there can be more JV girls runners in the future—it’s a great bonding experience and we can suffer together! It would also be nice to score as a team!
In their home course of the 2.95 mile long Crystal Springs Cross Country Course, the team dominated once again, following the ongoing trend of the last several years, with a clean sweep. All three formed teams, JV boys, varsity boys, and varsity girls won their divisions, upholding the undefeated record the team is known for.
The varsity girls’ runners placed one through seven, with the top five helping them score a perfect 15 points—an incredible feat showcasing not only the talent, but also the teamwork of these star athletes. The JV boys scored a near perfect 17, taking the first three places, as well as fifth through twelfth. The varsity boys scored 24 points, a score no less impressive, taking second place, as well as fourth through eighth.
The JV girls, however, were non-scoring, due to the lack of runners, and thus, inability to create a full team.
Despite this, the three runners, Julia Wind ‘23 and sophomores Carissa Wang and Sophia Yin, delivered in their performances, taking second, sixth, and seventh, respectively.
“This was my first ever cross-country meet, but it was kind of intimidating because it was just the three of us Nueva girls running. But overall, it was very rewarding,” Yin said.
As the season continues, the team is going to do everything they can do to be successful, especially being a team outside of practice, they work towards yet another PSAL championship.
Written by Amanda Wang