Team improves to seal its CIF spot

Runner Nathan Aloisi ’20 crosses the finish line in the Mission League Meet Final at Crescenta Valley Park. Chloe Schaeffer/Chronicle

Runner Nathan Aloisi ’20 crosses the finish line in the Mission League Meet Final at Crescenta Valley Park. Chloe Schaeffer/Chronicle

Charlie Wang

The cross-country team finished regular season competition at the Mission League finals last Wednesday. The girls advanced to the CIF preliminaries after finishing in third place, while the boys missed the CIF playoffs after finishing in fifth.

The girls’ team ended the regular season with only five varsity runners. Isabel Lawrence ’21 led the team with a second place finish and a time of 20 minutes 26 seconds. The team looks to extend its season to the CIF Southern Section Division IV playoffs.

Cross-country program head Jonas Koolsbergen, said that regardless of the squad’s final result, the team has grown together and that he is very happy with its performance.

“We have had a strong season with good results and lots of improvement throughout the team,” Koolsbergen said. “I am happy with what this team has done together. We have been in many tough meets and close battles, and those experiences are always excellent for any athlete.”

While both the boys’ and girls’ teams qualified for CIF preliminaries early in the season last year, this year’s teams did not clinch their spots until their final Mission League meets.

In previous Mission League meets, the boys’ team finished in third place and the girls’ team finished in fourth. The boys were led by captains Nathan Aloisi ’20 and Diego Ahmad ’20, who placed 16th and 19th respectively. On the girls’ team, Violet Barron ’22 finished in fifth place, and Chronicle Assistant Features Editor Chloe Schaeffer ’21 finished ninth. At the 72nd Annual Mount San Antonio College Invitational, the boys had a very successful outing and finished in third place. Ahmad said that the meet displayed the hard work the team had put in.

“We ended up taking third and everyone ran very well on what is known to be a very challenging course,” Ahmad said. “The meet really showed how our training paid off.”

The girls’ team only had two healthy runners, Barron and Ari Ogden ’22, both of whom did not place in the team event. Lawrence said that, while the season has not been perfect, the team has learned many valuable lessons.

“The regular season didn’t really go as we expected initially, but I think we’ve done a great job of handling it all as best we can,” Lawrence said. “As a team, I think we are learning to stay more positive and uplifting throughout this whole process. I think to improve and succeed in the postseason, we can’t be too fearful, we just have to be willing to push ourselves and see how far it’ll take us.”