Cross Country succeeds in statewide invitational

Matthew Friend

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At around 3:30 a.m. last Saturday morning, eight cross country runners pulled into the Redwood parking lot, marking the end of a two day trip comprised of over fourteen hours of driving.  The purpose of this trip?  To compete in a race that most finished in under twenty minutes.

This past Saturday, the girls’ varsity team and one boy, junior Frederick Huxham, competed in the 65th Annual Mt. Sac Cross Country Invitational, one of the largest and most competitive races in California.

Fred Huxham, front, has been the top runner for the boys’ cross country team all season.

Huxham came in second out of 148 runners for the Men’s’ Sweepstakes race, the highest level race for Division III participants, with a time of 15:06 for the three mile course.

Head coach Laura Schmitt said that she was particularly pleased with his finish because he beat the number two ranked runner in the state, according to prepcaltrack.com, and came within five seconds of the all-time course record.

Huxham said part of the reason he was the only boy to compete in Mt. Sac last weekend was to preserve the rest of the team for CIF races in the future.

“For instance, when I was a freshman and a sophomore, by the time state meet rolls around you’re exhausted and you might not be running as well as you could if you didn’t race as much,” Huxham said.  “Our ultimate goal is state, and Mt. Sac is a big meet and everything, but it’s still just an invitational, and it’s optional.”

The girls’ team finished 7th out of 14th competing teams, with an average time of 19:40.

According to captain Megan Bordes, both Emma Gallagher and herself ran one of their best races, with Bordes and Gallagher achieving times of 18:46 and 19:29 respectively.  This placed them 12th and 29th out of 98 runners, respectively.

Bordes said she believed one of the reasons the team did so well was the environment they were racing in.

“Mt. Sac was just so exciting,” Bordes said.  “I’d never been to an invitational where they called your name and you had to run up to the starting line.”

Bordes also said that the course was ideal because it contained four large hills, which the team was acclimated to because of training in Marin’s hilly environment.

Huxham said that the race was a good opportunity for the runners to gauge themselves and check in on their fitness.

“It’s nice to see where your fitness is, and especially at high level competitions, because I did so well, it shows me how well I could do if continue working and if I race well,” Huxham said.

Huxham also said that the meet served as more than just another opportunity to race.

“Obviously it was a lot of fun going down, it was nice.  A big part of the Mt. Sac and the State experience is the drive down with your team and making those bonds and connections,” Huxham said.

The team will begin its postseason Thursday, Nov. 8 at the MCAL championship, after it finished its season undefeated in the league.