Cross country team races to maintain top spot in MCAL

Keely Jenkins

After a record-breaking 2014 season, the girls’ cross country team is working hard to continue their winning streak while the boys aim to join the ranks.

Last season the girls cross country team did well. They set a new record for Marin County in the MCALs, won the North Coast Sectionals, and placed sixth in Division II at the state meet. This success is expected to continue despite the loss of Mary Monda Oewel, a 2015 graduate who placed ninth at the 2014 state meet.

In the Marin County Athletic League, the first five people on each team score points and the sixth and seventh work to displace other competing athletes in order to limit them to the smallest amount of points possible.

“This is a really tight core of girls and we have a very solid top five and a very solid six and seven,” said head coach Laura Schmitt.

In order to maintain their top spot, the varsity team captains organized a summer running group that met six days a week at eight in the morning. 

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Senior Andy Ehrenberg and junior Andrew Thomas lead the pack of Redwood cross country runners.

This season’s team captains are Andy Ehrenberg, Campbell Nolan, Rachel Bordes, Glennis Murphy, and Annie Fogarty. All of the team captains are on the varsity team. In addition to the team captains, Jake Schmitt, Laura’s son, helps direct practices. Jake is a Redwood graduate and is planning to compete in the Olympic trials in 2016.

In addition to running every day after school, both the boys and girls varsity runners went on an altitude training trip to Tahoe in July. The trip was not a vacation since the team ran twice a day to build cardio strength. The trip also served as a way for the team to bond and practice healthy diets.

“People think running is kind of an individual sport but especially in cross country it’s not, because the whole team is scoring,” Murphy said. “If you have a close team you can set goals and do better.”

For the boys team, prospects are looking up. An influx of soccer players and freshmen have caused the team to grow in numbers. As of right now the cross country team as a whole is just under 100 kids, according to Schmitt.

Senior Andy Ehrenberg, another team captain, is leading the pack. Last season he ran the three-mile in 15 minutes and 32 seconds at the North Coast Sectionals, which placed him in first for the event. At the State meet he placed 11th in Division II.

“My main goal is to win the state meet for Division II,” Ehrenberg said. “I am the second-fastest returning runner for that division so I think that I actually have a pretty good shot at doing it.”

Campbell Nolan, Andrew Thomas, and Zach Patel have also been training over the summer and are expected to have successful seasons.

This season both the boys’ and girls’ teams are striving to earn the state title. Last year a number of injuries and illnesses impacted their state race so the runners are optimistic about the title being in their reach, and are running six days a week to earn it.