Boys’ varsity runners prepare for higher stakes competition at State

Elizabeth Duncan

As Redwood becomes a Division II school for boys and girls cross country, the boys’ varsity cross country team expects to face a higher level of competition at the state meet on Nov. 29.

The cross country team moved from Division III to Division II this year because the overall student population surpassed the limit for a Division III school.

A school’s division can differ from sport to sport, but in general the division is allocated based on the school’s student population.

Junior Campbell Nolan finishes in third place in meet against Terra Linda and San Rafael.
Junior Campbell Nolan finishes in third place in meet against Terra Linda and San Rafael.

“The difference is once we get to State, the competition is going to be a lot stronger,” said assistant coach Jake Schmitt. “The L.A. schools will be coming out in full force, so it’s going to be really exciting.”

The boys’ varsity team began practicing over the summer to prepare for the new level of competition and is currently undefeated. The team ran nearly every day and traveled to Lake Tahoe for a weeklong training trip.

“All summer, pretty much all of the varsity runners have been training so that they can come into the season with a good core fitness to start the hard training,” junior Campbell Nolan said.

Last year, the team’s lead runner was Fred Huxham, who is now running at the University of Washington.

“It’s different for me because Fred, who was a state champion for track, was always someone to look up to,” Nolan said.

Junior Andy Ehrenberg has been leading the team this year with the fastest times. At the first meet of the season held at the Tennessee Valley course, Ehrenberg won with the fifth fastest time ever for the 30-year-old course.

At the same meet, Nolan placed third and freshman Zach Martinez placed sixth.

Martinez is currently the only freshman training with the varsity team.

“He’s coming in with a good amount of prior running experience,” Nolan said. “He’s going to be one of the bigger threats for freshmen this year. He’s been running with our top varsity runners since week two when he moved up from junior varsity.”

Schmitt mentioned other runners who have stepped up to fill Huxham’s shoes.

Captain Andy Ehrenberg leads the varsity pack.
Captain Andy Ehrenberg leads the varsity pack.

“We have a lot of different kinds of leaders,” Schmitt said. “Andy will be up in front for most of the races. But we also have [senior Rajan Pherwani] who is taking some of the younger kids under his wing. [Sophomore] Andrew Thomas comes from more of a track background, so he leads in the shorter distances and the short reps. We have a lot of guys who bring in different strengths.”

Nolan said he is confident in the team’s ability to win MCALs this year after finishing second last year to San Rafael.

According to Schmitt, Drake and San Rafael are Redwood’s biggest competition.

The varsity team trains six to seven days a week. They train in cycles; high intensity workouts are held on Tuesdays and Fridays, and the other weekdays are recovery days.

Longer runs are held on the weekends. The coaches are not allowed to hold practices on Sundays, according to Schmitt, but the team often meets informally to go on runs.

“I think a lot of bonding and camaraderie happens out there on the trails for a couple of hours,” Schmitt said.

The top seven varsity runners will be traveling to Clovis and then Walnut Creek for invitationals in the coming weeks.

At the most recent meet as of press time in Tennessee Valley, the boys’ team beat Terra Linda and San Rafael.

The next MCAL regular season race is at Indian Valley College on Oct. 30 against Marin Catholic and Novato.