Girls’ cross country advances to state meet

Elizabeth Duncan

As Rachel Bordes reached the end of the last hill at the NCS cross country race on Saturday, she had two motivators in her ear.

Rachel Bordes and Julia Hansen race together at the NCS meet.
Rachel Bordes and Julia Hansen race together at the NCS meet.

“My coach [Laura Schmitt] was screaming at me,” she said. “I remember making eye contact with her and she said about the girl in front of me, ‘You need to pass her, that’s the difference between you going to state [or not]!’ I remember crossing the finish line and feeling such relief, success and happiness.”

Right behind Bordes was her teammate Julia Hansen.

“I remember us actually exchanging words to each other like, ‘Go, go,’ even though we were so tired,” Hansen said, recalling the last 200 meters of the race with Bordes.

Bordes finished in 32nd place and Hansen in 33rd to seal a trip to the state championship meet for Redwood. Freshman Glennis Murphy, who finished ninth out of 108 runners, was the first Redwood girl to cross the finish line, closely followed by senior Emma Gallagher in 15th place. Bordes and Hansen finished one after another placing 32nd and 33rd. Freshman Annie Fogarty rounded out the scoring for Redwood with a 36th-place finish. Juniors Mary Monda Oewel and Rebekah Katz did not score for the team, but still ran impressively, placing 45th and 46th, respectively. The girls’ team was the fourth of four teams from NCS to qualify for the state meet.

The boys’ team did not place high enough to move on to the state championship but two individuals, senior Frederick Huxham and sophomore Andy Ehrenberg, both placed in the top 15, earning a trip to the state meet.

In the past years, Redwood girls’ cross country has cruised to the state meet, but this year the Giants faced tougher competition. Nevertheless, the team was able to pull through to take the last spot.

“Our overall goal was just to get to State,” Bordes said. “I remember my coach telling us before the race that you have to ‘hunt’ every girl, and every girl is the matter of whether you go to state or not.”

Redwood used strong team camaraderie to their advantage in the NCS meet.

“I was running with Rachel Bordes,” Hansen said. “It was the first race that we really clicked and we both had such a great race. I know I couldn’t have done it without her. Its really mental teamwork. Unlike what a lot of people think, cross country is actually a huge team sport. Although you are racing for individual time and place, it’s the collective point system that makes it work.”

Saturday’s meet took place at Hayward High School, a course Bordes described as “fast.”

“The last 600 meters there was a hill. That’s what is really unique with this course. Once you’re finished with the hill it’s a straight shot to where it ends,” Hansen said.

Bordes said the team is prepared physically for the state championship and all that is left is the mental aspect.

“I think we are going to do pretty well. All that really matters is that we got there.” Bordes said, “It’s all mental. 80% of this sport is in our heads. So it’s whether we want it or not. I think if we all set our minds to it, we will be very successful.”