Cross country increases workout difficulty in preparation for most challenging part of season

September 29, 2023 — by George Hu
Courtesy of Ian Tippetts

Junior Dylan Sordello maintains pace with the pack during the 2023 Lowell Invitational.

The team’s first league meet, which was on Sept. 19 at Baylands Park, saw the boys place 5th out of 7 teams and the girls place 4th out of 7 teams.

Both cross country teams opened up their season with the 2023 Lowell Invitational on Sept. 9, with only the best seven available male and female runners from each team participating. 

The girls team was forced to bring all of their runners to the race, as they only have seven runners this year, while the boys team had many more options, as they have a total of 36 runners on their roster. As a result, the girls only have a varsity team and no JV team.

At Lowell, the boys placed 24th out of 30 teams, while the girls placed 22nd out of 25 teams. 

Senior Steven Sun ran the fastest for the boys, individually placing 118th out of 213 runners and running a time of 16:17 for the 2.78-mile race. Junior Anisha Rahut did the best for the girls, individually placing 71st out of 160 runners and running a time of 19.52.

 Runners are moving into the part of the season when they have more high-intensity workouts and decrease their weekly mileage, allowing them to build speed. At the start of the season, runners were mostly doing aerobic runs, with the goal of increasing endurance. With a modified training schedule, the team hopes to see improvements for every runner in their races, no matter how experienced or fast they are.

This season, the team is scheduled to run eight meets, two of which have been completed already. The team’s next race is the Ram Invitational at Westmoor High School on Sept. 30, where the top seven runners for each gender will run. The most critical future meets are the SCVAL league final at Crystal Springs Park on Oct. 31 and the CCS meet at Crystal Springs Park on Nov. 11.

Though the Falcons have lost Wasil Khan, Elizabeth Stoiber, Isha Goswami and Carolyn Wang to graduation, they are counting on standout runners such as Sun and Rahut.

“The team shows up on time to practice and does not skip runs or take shortcuts,” junior Dylan Sordello said.

The team’s second race took place at the Baylands Park on Sept. 19, marking the first SCVAL league meet. There, the boys placed 11th out of the 14 SCVAL teams that participated in their corresponding race and the girls placed 9th out of the 13 SCVAL teams that participated in their corresponding race.

To help the team prepare for future races, head coach Ian Tippetts and assistant coaches Kathy Tippetts and Cindy Phan, who joined this year,  have started adding more strenuous workouts to the training regime. 

 The first two weeks of the season involved only slow, aerobic runs to help the athletes smoothly transition into training again, decreasing the likelihood of injuries.

The athletes have a training routine that involves practices six days a week. Practices from Monday to Friday start at 4 p.m. and typically end between 5:15 to 6 p.m., with varying exercises from deadlifts to box jumps. Saturday’s long aerobic run begins much earlier, typically beginning at 7:30 a.m., at places around Saratoga such as Sanborn Park’s hiking trails, which are typically 6 to 10 miles. On Sunday, the team members recover through dynamic stretching and mobility exercises on their own. 

To ensure a smooth transition, the runners ran 20 total miles for the first week and 25 total miles for the second. Many runners come into the season after running infrequently over the summer. 

Through their transition to a more grueling training routine mid-season, the team hopes to have better performances at their upcoming meets. 

“The harder training routine helps condition us for the races, as they help us get more used to the fast pace required to excel in these races,” Sordello said.

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