This past Thursday, Sept. 28, nationally ranked and first in state junior Liam Anderson led the boys’ cross country team across the finish line, ultimately taking first place against Tam and Marin Catholic (MC) in the third meet of the season.

With the finish line in sight, junior Liam Anderson races up the final incline

With the finish line in sight, junior Liam Anderson races up the final incline

On the final stretch of the course, Anderson crossed the finish line with no competitors in sight. Shortly after, senior Zach Martinez finished third, adding valuable points for Redwood.

Families and supporters crowded the course as they cheered on the teams. There was a significant turnout as both Tam and MC are considered rivals of Redwood, according to sophomore varsity runner Lauren Steele.

After placing second at last year’s state meet, senior Gillian Wagner also raced with Redwood at Tam’s home course, Camino Alto Open Space Preserve in Mill Valley. Similar to Anderson, Wagner pulled away from the general crowd and created a comfortable lead for herself during the girls’ race. With her superb effort, Wagner finished first and helped the Redwood girls beat Marin Catholic and place second behind Tam.

In the final mile of the race, junior Gillian Wagner looks confident

In the final mile of the race, senior Gillian Wagner looks confident

“We’ve had a strange season losing a bunch of seniors last year, so I think the [team’s] progression really showed yesterday. I’m really proud of our team. I think everybody is,” Wagner said.

Anderson and Wagner are currently the fastest and second fastest runners respectively, but humbled from their roots, they share one characteristic: leadership.

“Gillian’s a natural leader and she leads all our races. She also sets a good example for hard work and determination,” Steele said.

Similar to how Anderson separates himself on the course, he also distinguished himself from other runners from the moment he joined the team, according to coach Laura Schmitt.

Coach Laura Schmitt congratulating the boys after their race

Coach Laura Schmitt congratulating the boys after their race

“I could tell right away just by his stature, his mechanics, he was wearing a running watch which is always a good thing, that he was going to be a special little runner,” Schmitt said.

Redwood’s cross country team is looking to make a bold statement in the Marin County Athletic League and during states this year, according to Steele.

The team’s next meet is on Oct. 7 at Woodward Park Cross Country Course against Clovis High School.

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