Girls’ cross country poised to finish the year strong

October 28, 2019 — by Nicole Lu and Cici Xu

Sixteen personal records. Forty minutes of running. Countless hours of practice later, the team’s spirit and unity are stronger than ever. On Oct. 22, the girls finished their Baylands meet, which is a flat, five-kilometer trail, on a strong note. Sixteen runners — about one-third of the team — set new personal records. 

Freshman Allison Tan decreased her time from 30:39.5 to 23:40.9 and junior Jessie Zhou dropped from 22:24.1 to 21:32.4. The current star players on the team are Zhou, freshman Tan and Elsa Blom, sophomore Amoli Vanavadiya, junior Helena Lee, and seniors Sanjana Reddy and Julia Hoffman. Blom and Zhou consistently place either first or second within the team.

Coach Danny Moon saw the familiarity of the course as a factor that improved the team’s performance. They originally ran a meet there on Sept. 24.

“The first Baylands people ran was really a good overview for the athletes, so the second time, it's not so much of a shock to run five kilometers,” Moon said.

Senior team captain Tricia Jain echoed this positive take.

“I think that we saw a lot of PRs compared to last time because of workouts, especially the distance ones, that we've been incorporating into our practices,” Jain said. “Those have been really beneficial over the past few weeks.”

Unlike last year, the girls’ cross country team will not be attending the annual Mt. SAC, a big meet in Southern California with 1,000 runners. Moon noted that the intense scheduling of meets at the end of the season and the lack of recovery time poses potential health issues for the runners.

“I’m always concerned about recovery for the runners. If you don’t recover, you don’t run very well. You get tired and fatigued,” Moon said. 

The abrupt increase in daily temperatures later in the season, often in the 90s, has posed unexpected challenges, but with the increasing difficulty of practices and core workouts, runners have adapted, and the hot weather does not appear to affect their performance as much.

“A lot of the changes I've seen are with the athletes themselves: how they intermix with everybody and the camaraderie,” Moon said. “And of course, everybody is improving as they come along.”

Looking ahead to next year, returning runners plan to start summer practices earlier to garner increased team attendance. 

With the final league meet before CCS at Crystal Springs on Nov. 5 looming ahead, the team is feeling much more hopeful in the last stretch of the season than they were before. Moon said he is “extremely confident” in the girls, since they have already experienced the hard parts of the course before during their first  Crystal Springs meet of the season on Oct. 8.