Cross Country Captain Recaps the Season

by Anthony Ottati ’16, XC Team Captain

Last year at Joaquin Miller Park, the boy’s team lost by six points to College Preparatory School, and we were not able to win a single league meet that whole year. This snapped a three-year winning streak for the Owls. But thousands of miles later, even after losing on our home course by one point, we reclaimed the league title last weekend, beating College Prep 34 to 36.

One thing about cross country is that luck is non-existent: championships aren’t won on one lucky call from the umpire, or one lucky bounce of an onsides kick. Each person on both teams trained hard for the race, some for four years. But as you are on the starting line waiting for the gun to go off, most of the hard work is behind you: the workouts, the miles and at this point the chances of a miraculous 10 minute Personal Record are slim to none.

For those who want to improve on their performance for next year (which should be everybody on the team), winners are not made on the last 100m kick to the finish. They are made through consistent year-round training over track and cross-country.

This is best exemplified by Athenian 5th man Andrew Kocins. In scoring, the 5th man is the most valuable, because as the last scorer they have the risk of scoring the most points. However, through hard work, Andrew set a 30 second PR and moved up from 18th last year to 10th yesterday to secure a victory for the owls.

This year, for the first time, an Athenian, Dara Goldfein, won the girls’ JV race. Back in 2012, during my freshman year, our girls team only had one committed year-round runner, and due to our lack of depth, College Prep swept the first 10 places in the JV race. Three years later, the girls program has become incredibly  successful, winning multiple league titles, and placing 3rd in NCS last year. While they did not win league champs this year, the JV top 7 finishes of freshmen Dara GoldfeinJenna Hajny  and Anne Domning all bode well for the future of the team.
For many, Tuesday’s meet was the last race of the season. For seniors Cade Niles and Vishnu Peri,
today marked their last cross country race in their high school careers. We will be holding daily practices all the way up until Thanksgiving break and all runners are welcome but not required to come out and keep running. At the end of the first semester, usually right when final exams begin, we do an annual summit run to the top of Mt. Diablo. If you have still been running, then you are welcome to come on out and conquer the 13-mile, 3500ft elevation gain run.
For our varsity teams, the season is not over yet. On Saturday, November 21st, we will compete against schools from all over Northern California at the NCS meet at Hayward High School. The girls will race at 10:40 followed by the boys at 12:20. Both teams will attempt to qualify for the California State meet in Clovis the next weekend. The top 5 boys teams and top 6 girls teams make it to  State. We look forward to taking this momentum into the postseason.