By Jonah Rosenbaum
With the Mount San Antonio College invitational in their rear view mirror, the boysâ and girlsâ cross country teams are gearing up for what they hope will be a deep CIF and state run.
“We ran unbelievably well considering how tired we were, and the injuries we were dealing with,” David Abergel â11 said. “We were running without three of our top seven.”
Three runners, Kevin On â11, Charlie Stigler â11 and Chris Vanderschans â10 were all unable to compete due to injuries.
The boys were unable to place in the top five as they had hoped, though Abergel said that a large part of their low placing can be attributed to injuries. Abergel ran a personal best time of 16:03 and finished first among all competitors.
“It was really surprising that I was able to finish like that,” Abergel told Flotrack.com after the race. “At the halfway point of the race I was in the middle of the pack, but I felt like I had a lot left, so I just took off. I ran the first mile in 5:04, and I saw I was in good shape, so I just said to myself letâs see what these guys got.”
The Mt. SAC invitational was a race that the team had circled on their calendar for a long time. Though the team had already qualified for CIF prior to the race, it is the same course on which CIF is run.
“It was a really important race for us to get acclimated with the conditions, so we know how to pace ourselves and the ins and outs of the course,” Vanderschans said.
The girlsâ team placed second at Mt. SAC, finishing ahead of La Reina, which was previously ranked number one. Their runner-up showing was enough to vault the girls into the number one spot in the state rankings heading into CIF. Cami Chapus â12 won her second straight Mission League title.
Bridget Golob â10 said she could not have envisioned the team being in a better position at this point in the season.
“The season has gone insanely well,” Golob said. “I actually just read a stat that said that our H-W team, first place in the Mission League, would have beat the rest of the Mission League teams combined if it had been a dual meet. Itâs crazy.”
Golob also said that the team is taking a different approach this year than they had in past years.
“Compared to last year, we were really just hoping to keep moving on, but this year the attitude of both the girls team and the boys team (ranked second) is infinitely more strategic,” Golob said.
Golob stated that she believes the girlsâ team is well-positioned to finish first for both CIF and state.
The boysâ team is equally optimistic about their own chances.
“Laguna Beach (ranked number 1) better watch out,” Abergel shouted after his first place finish.