Seasoned cross country teams hold State meet aspirations

Following the team’s annual training trip to Big Bear, the varsity cross country teams hope to build off last year’s run to State Finals and the girls’ fifth straight League title.

The Wolverines start their season off with the Seaside Invitational on Sept. 6 at San Buenaventura State Beach.

The girls’ varsity team’s goal is to defend their Mission League title and win League for the sixth straight year.

They enter the season aiming high, hoping to not only win the Mission League, but to also make a deep playoff run and compete for the State title.

“We don’t feel any pressure to win our sixth straight title,” Bridget Hartman ’15 said. “We just use it as motivation to keep training hard. We would all like to make it to State and place in the top five again.”

Although the team enters the season with the loss of co-captains Yasmin Moreno ’13 and Elle Wilson ’13, they still expect to improve upon last year.

Returning to the girls’ team are co-captains Lizzy Thomas ’14 and Monica Nimmagadda ’14.

Thomas and Trishta Dordi ’15 finished second and third in last year’s Mission League finals, respectively.

“I think the team’s dynamic has definitely changed after the seniors graduated, but I think it helps the team grow and keep a fresh perspective,” said Audrey Wilson ’15. “We have a bunch of new freshman girls this year, which we didn’t have last year, and it is really cool to watch the next generation of runners blend into the program.”

The boys’ varsity team, led by captains David Manahan ’14 and Ben Weissenbach ’15, will strive to improve upon last year’s runner up finish in the Mission League and 12th place finish in State Finals.

“The boys’ team is looking really strong this year,” Weissenbach said. “I think we have the talent to challenge for the State Meet title. As for my goals, I hope to challenge for the individual State Meet title.”

Rich Gonzalez of PrepCalTrack, a high school track and field website, has the boys’ team ranked 77th in California, but wrote that “with any decent improvement this summer at the depth positions, Harvard-Westlake would then move into a co-favorite’s position for the (Division 4) state title.” Losing only one senior, the team returns with both youth and experience.

Along with Manahan and Weissenbach, Ben Greene ’14 and a host of rising sophomores make the Wolverines believe that they are primed for a deep run in this year’s CIF playoffs.

“David Manahan is a standout, he and I should be the top two once we’re healthy,” Weissenbach said. “After that we have Greene and some really strong sophomores, such as Henry Roskin and Jack Stovitz.”

Manahan is coming off a shin injury which he suffered during track and field season and Weissenbach is dealing with a stress reaction in his knee.

Weissenbach will not be running for the first two weeks of the season, but is eager to join the team and help in the push toward the postseason.

On the girls side, Dordi is fighting a knee injury but hopes to get back into competition soon.

“I am looking forward to seeing how the team fares in competition,” Weissenbach said. “Most of the team has been training very hard over the summer, so I am excited to see how that translates into fast racing.”

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