After finishing second in last year’s Mission League finals, Lizzy Thomas ’14 has not missed a beat, starting the season with three consecutive wins. Thomas, a co-captain, has powered the girls’ varsity team to an undefeated start in league races.
“So far I’m really enjoying the season and having a great time with all of the team and individual success that we’re having,” Thomas said.
Cross country coach Jonas Koolsbergen believes that Thomas has developed into a great captain, and one who could lead the team deep into the playoffs.
“She’s a great leader, she’s done the right training and she is projecting forward to have her best season ever,” Koolsbergen said.
Thomas and the girls’ team have set their standards high and have their sights set beyond winning their sixth straight Mission League title.
“In terms of Mission League, it is a little bit weaker this year because of the seniors who graduated last year from other schools,” Thomas said. “Obviously we would like to win our sixth straight title, but because that is a little bit of an easier goal we want to focus more on CIF.”
The girls’ team hopes to steadily improve throughout the season in order to go into the postseason with momentum. Experienced runners like Thomas and fellow captain Monica Nimmagadda ’14 have been showing the ropes to younger runners who hope to contribute to the team’s success.
“I think our team has a lot of potential,” Thomas said. “We have a lot of really good freshmen and when you have freshmen it takes time for them to reach their potential because they haven’t done it before.”
Both the boys’ and girls’ teams ran in the Woodbridge Invitational on Sept. 21, which Rich Gonzalez of PrepCalTrack described as having “one of the strongest fields this nation will see in 2013.”
The girls’ team placed 14 out of 28 teams and had the best time among the other Division-IV teams in attendance. They were paced by Thomas’ seventh overall finish. The boys’ team had the third best time of any Division-IV team in the meet but finished 30 out of 31 teams in their race.
“We did well,” Koolsbergen said. “It’s a little deceptive because we ran in the second best race in a truly elite meet. We were running against big Division-I and Division-II schools and it was a good experience in an incredibly competitive environment.”
The boys’ team has gotten off to a slower start than they would have liked, but promising talent and key runners returning from injury provide reason to believe that a strong season is still within reach.
So far the team has been led by co-captain David Manahan ’14 and a young core of sophomores who are awaiting the return of Manahan’s fellow captain Ben Weissenbach ’15 from a knee injury to push the team to their full potential.
“The most notable thing so far is a really outstanding group of five sophomores,” Koolsbergen said. “They’re already having good results and their projections ahead are really exciting for this program.”
Weissenbach is making progress but is still not yet ready to run. Koolsbergen expects him to be able to return in time to help the team surge torward the playoffs.
“I expect both genders to be highly competitive at the California State championships,” Koolsbergen said.