Boys’ cross country team ramps up intensity

September 27, 2018 — by Mathew Luo

Boys' cross country runs impressive results at recent meet at the Earlybird Invitational at Toro Park on Sept. 14.

Only seven weeks into the season, the boys’ cross country team has competed at two invitational meets, the Earlybird Invitational and the Stevenson Relays, volunteered at a runner’s station for eight hours at the Santa Cruz Ironman and run a total of 300 miles.

Despite this flurry of activity, cross country runners still spend most of their effort in their daily conditioning for strength and stamina.

“This is coach Ian Tippetts’ second year coaching cross country, and this year he’s really working toward building us up as a team,” senior Nirav Adunuthula said. “We’re doing strength progressions, weightlifting, hill repeats and speed work in preparation for getting to our top speed by the end of the season.”

In addition to running on weekdays, the team has also been doing off campus hill workouts on Saturdays and weightlifting twice a week.

“We have to train for both speed and strength,” junior Kole Tippetts said. “But at a certain point, like where A team is at,  we have to stop because it gets hard to train both speed and strength together.”

Stamina-wise, the team has been training with 6-mile long hill repeats both near the high school at Villa Montalvo and on off-campus terrain at Fremont Older.

This conditioning, in conjunction with a strong juniors such as Tippetts and Shivam Verma and talented freshman runners such as Harrison Dance and Sina Salehi, has allowed the Falcons to perform well at both the Stevenson’s relay, which took place at Pebble Beach on Sept. 7, and the Early Bird invitational, which took place at Toro Park in Salinas on Sept. 14.

The Stevenson’s Relay was a 1.6 mile invitational race, consisting of three heats of seven runners each. The first group scored fourth in their division and sixth overall; the second scored fourth in their division; the third scored third in theirs.

“Our team ran really well overall,” Tippetts said. “But one thing that really impressed me at Stevenson’s was freshman Harrison Dance’s performance. Harry ran an amazing 8:21, beating Nirav and my predictions for him by about a minute.”

The Earlybird Invitational was a 3.1 mile hilly race, consisting of 10 separate races segregated by grade and gender. The seniors scored 11th out of 17; the juniors 13th out of 23; the sophomores 23rd out of 28; the freshmen 10th out of 32. Individually, the team scored six personal records that invitational.

Both Adunuthula, who ranked first in his senior squad and achieved a personal best by 20 seconds at Earlybird, and Tippetts, who ranked first in his junior squad and ran his best time by 50 seconds at Earlybird, expressed satisfaction with their individual performances and the team’s record at the two races.

“I ran hard and got a pretty good kick,” Adunuthula said. “I was pretty happy with my PR. The real performance was with Dance, who actually tied with Tippetts with a 17:25.”

While the records at Earlybird and Stevenson’s were impressive, Adunuthula said that there’s still much room for growth. Right now, the team is working on improving its leadership and looking to increase its strength and speed, ideally peaking at the end of the season.

By working on running together during practice and mixing strength, stamina and hill training, the Falcons are working on not only nursing talent but also creating team cohesion and a faster overall team.

“We have a group of really fast juniors, all running together, and we have new talent like Harrison Dance and Sina Salehi,” Adunuthula said. “There’s about 12 runners fighting for the seven spots on varsity. This is the fastest we’ve been in my four years at high school; I’m excited to see what we can do this season.”

Due to printing times the Lynbrook meet on Sept. 25 could not be covered.