Cross country prepares for CIF Prelims

Tyler Graham

For the sixth straight year, the girls’ varsity cross country team will hang a banner up in Taper Gym after their Mission League Finals victory  Wednesday, Nov. 6, at Woodley Park. After an undefeated season, the squad continued their dominance of the Mission League with a resounding win at League finals.

The girls’ team was led by captains Lizzy Thomas ’14, who finished first, and Monica Nimmagadda ’14, who finished third. Rounding out the top 10 for the Wolverines was Nicole Araya ’16, who placed fifth, and Rachel Porter ’16, who placed sixth.

“It has been a combination of excellent athletes who are dedicated to what they are doing and are committed to their process, which has led to the success of the girls,” head coach Jonas Koolsbergen said. “They are willing to do it together, as a group, and they have good coaches who have given them a plan that they have embraced and followed.”

Thomas continued her outstanding senior campaign, which includes wins in both Mission League Cluster meets, the Seaside Invitational, and the Wayne Walker Invitational, by winning the race in a course record time of 17:59.

“I have never won an individual cross country League title before, so I was really happy,” Thomas said. “It’s so fun to win it as a team because everyone worked so hard. It was also the first time the girls’ JV team ever won the Mission League title, which speaks to the depth of our program.”

The girls’ team will not take long to bask in the glory of their win, and instead, having qualified for CIF Preliminaries, will focus their attention on advancing deeper into the postseason.

“I really believe that our team has a legitimate chance to make a run for a CIF title,” Thomas said. “To do that we have to run really smart in addition to running well. I think we are up for the challenge, and as a senior, that would be a really cool thing to accomplish.”

The boys’ varsity team finished fourth at League finals, with captain David Manahan ’14 leading the squad in 12 place.

The team was without Manahan’s fellow captain, Ben Weissenbach ’15, who was held out of the race due to a recurring knee injury. The boys’ team was able to advance to CIF prelims on the basis of an at-large bid.

“I feel very good about the team’s performance in the Mission League Finals,” Koolsbergen said. “Ultimately, the most important agenda item of the day was achieved, in that both teams qualified for CIF prelims.”

Koolsbergen expects both teams to have success in the postseason.

“Our goal is to have both boys and girls make the state meet,” Koolsbergen said. “We feel that the girls’ team in particular has an opportunity to be among the contenders for a State championship. We want to compete to the best of our ability against teams in the Southern section.”

“We are hoping that the highlights are still to come,” Koolsbergen added. “We hope that our best moments lie ahead of us.”