Cross Country: Nag, Hoffman qualify for state meet

November 30, 2016 — by Andrew Owens and Kyle Wang

Teams fall short of state meet.

Junior Amit Nag had been waiting all season for this moment. He stood behind the starting line at the Woodward Park race course on Nov. 26, listening for the pop of the starting gun at the state meet. There were 202 other runners competing alongside him; Nag wanted to place in the top 100.

By the end of the 3.1-mile race, Nag just missed his goal, finishing 107th overall. He and freshman Julia Hoffman, who placed 160th out of 204 female runners, were the only two Falcons who ran after previously qualifying for the prestigious meet at CCS.

Before the meet, Nag felt little pressure to perform.

“I’m pumped but I don’t want give out any unrealistic expectations,” Nag said.

In the weeks before the race, Hoffman said she felt “nervous but excited” to be the first freshman girl to qualify to states during Coach Danny Moon’s nine-year coaching career at Saratoga High. She had been going on longer distance runs to prepare herself for the state meet, but had few expectations for herself.

For the rest of the team, the season ended at the CCS meet, which took place on Nov. 12 at the hilly 2.95-mile Crystal Springs race course. Nag, who finished sixth overall, placed first among the seven Falcon boys who ran. Sophomore David Berkowitz Sklar, who was unable to finish the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) race on Nov. 1 after an early injury, recovered well and placed second on the team with a time of 17:22, finishing 37th overall. In spite of Sklar and Nag’s strong performances, the team placed eighth out of 12 teams.

Freshman Kole Tippets followed closely behind, placing third on the team with a time of 17:49; junior Charles Qi, who ran with the JV team at the SCVAL League finals, ran 17:57, placing fourth on the team; and freshman Sahaj Rastogi rounded out the team’s top five scoring members with a time of 18:24.

For the girls’ team, Hoffman placed 12th overall, running a personal record (PR) of 19:55 on the course; sophomore Isabella Tan placed 53rd with a PR of 22:17, followed closely by sophomore Siena Parsons, who finished 59th with a PR of 22:47. Freshman freshman Tricia Jain finished 76th and Lillian Zeng got 79th. The girls placed 10th out of 12 teams.

“Overall, we did pretty well — I heard that last year we were last, so that’s improvement,” Hoffman said.

In spite of the team’s disappointing finish this year, the girls are building a foundation for the future.

“If the freshmen keep training in the offseason and some of the sophomore runners get going, we can qualify for states next year,” Sklar said.

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