Cross country trains for CIF, state meets

By Julius Pak

Wolverine cross country teams finished the Mission League finals with their strongest performance at any league meet this year. 

Coming off a third place finish in the Division IV sweepstakes race at the Mt. San Antonio College Invitational Oct. 22, the girls’ team defeated second place Notre Dame 25-48, and defended its league championship. Cami Chapus ’12 led the team and the rest of the league with a time of 18.25, nearly a full minute before the next runner, teammate Amy Weissenbach ’12 (19:21.1). The girls’ team placed five runners in the top nine. Nikki Goren ’12, in only her third race of the season, placed fifth with a time of 19:59.2. Caitlin Yee ’13 (20:42.8) placed eighth and Yasmin Moreno ’13 (20:55.7) placed ninth.

Having won both league cluster meets in addition to the league finals, the girls’ team qualified to the CIF Southern Section Preliminaries for a chance to race at the Southern Section Finals.

The boys’ team edged Notre Dame 75-80 at the league finals to place second behind Loyola (26). Although Notre Dame placed a runner in second, a block of Wolverine runners were able to make the difference. Kevin On ’11 (16:17.3), David Abergel ’11 (16:21.7) and Aaron de Toledo ’12 (16:25.9) placed seventh, ninth and eleventh, respectively, to give the boys’ team the narrow lead they needed to take second place. The other scoring runners were Charlie Stigler ’11 (17:35.2) in 22nd place and David Manahan ’14 (17:39.7) in 26th place.

At the end of October, the boys’ team was ranked as the third best cross country program in Division IV of the California Interscholastic Federation by ESPN’s Rise magazine. This was a jump from the fifth place spot the team had held since the beginning of the season. The girls’ team was pushed down to third place after sitting on top of the Division IV list since the preseason.

“I think that the league results speak for themselves for the most part,” Head Coach Tim Sharpe said. “I feel good about the direction we are going as we start the post-season.”

The boys’ team lost to Notre Dame in the sweepstakes race at the Mt. SAC Invitational Oct. 22. On led the team with a fifth place finish and a time of 15:30, 14 seconds after the fastest runner and the Wolverine record for the course.

Despite placing first and second individually in the girls’ sweepstakes race, Chapus and Weissenbach were unable to lead the girls’ varsity team to a first place finish. In a race that pitted nine of the top 10 cross country programs in the state against each other, the girls’ team placed third behind Serra and La Reina.

The CIF prelims will be held Saturday at Mt. SAC.

“We have made steady progress with our program as a whole because more and more of the team understands what it takes: consistent training and a commitment to higher volume,” Sharpe said. “But none of that can happen without the special bond that this team has, we really are like a family. They embrace the training for themselves and the team.”