Boys’ cross country wins Division III at CCS; team advances to states

November 16, 2015 — by David Fan and Ami Nachiappan

As senior Matthew Peterson ran neck-in-neck with senior Ryan McAuliffe from Aragon High in the last 200 meters of the hilly 2.95-mile course at Crystal Springs last Saturday, he began pumping his arms faster as the crowd yelled. Turning on his kick, Peterson passed McAuliffe, beating him by a second to gain a first-place win in Division III at the CCS meet.

His time of 16:02 was a 6-second improvement from his previous personal record for the course.

“I knew that I would beat [McAuliffe] at the end because I have a good kick,” Peterson said. “If anyone is in a 25-meter range from me, I know I can beat them because no one can really keep up with my sprint.”

The next highest finisher for Saratoga was sophomore Amit Nag, who placed sixth with a time of 16:22, and senior Stephen Law, who placed eighth with a time of 16:24. The boys’ team was also represented by senior Kevin Duong-Le, junior Nicholas Sum, sophomore Ronin Staunovo and freshman David Berkowitz-Sklar.

The boys’ fast times led them to win CCS in Division III, advancing them to the state meet for the second straight year. The state meet will occur on Nov. 28 at Woodward Park in Clovis, Fresno. The second-place and third-place teams were Valley Christian and Riordan High.

The girls’ team, represented by seniors Ashley Chen, Kimberly Chen and Ingrid Zhou, sophomores Chloe McGhee, Lillian Zeng and Miranda Song and freshman Isabella Tan, finished 11th in Division III at CCS and will not go to the state meet.

While the boys’ team raced well, the girls’ team struggled. Zeng led the lady Falcons with a time of 21:44. Following Zeng was Ashley Chen, with a time of 22:08, and McGhee, who had a soccer match a few hours prior to the race, and finished with a time of 22:19.

The boys’ team attributed its success at CCS to the consistently fast times at the meets leading up to CCS.

At the De Anza League Finals at Crystal Springs on Nov. 3, Law placed sixth with a time of 15:54, and Peterson ran a time of 16:08. McGhee, who was recovering from an ankle injury, ran with a time of 20:22. Ashley Chen was close behind with a time of 21:50, a personal best by seven seconds. Song, who joined cross country this year, also ran with a personal best of 22:22, improving by more than a minute.

The boys’ varsity team placed fourth, while the girls’ varsity team placed seventh.

While many athletes plan on returning next year, for the seniors on the team, these last few meets at Crystal Springs marked the end of their high school cross country careers. Kimberly Chen, who has been on the team for three years, has enjoyed getting to know everyone, especially the underclassmen, on the team.

“I’ll definitely miss Coach [Danny] Moon and the captains, since they’re all really great,” she said. “Cross country has been something that [has] forced me to get out of the house, run and do some exercise.”