New team mindset foreshadows a successful girls’ cross country season

September 9, 2019 — by Angelina Chen and Anouk Yeh

Coach: Danny Moon

Recap: Nitya Marimuthu, Amoli Vanavadiya, Armina Mayya, Sanjana Reddy, Julia Hoffman, Siena Parsons and Elizabeth Kardach qualified for CCS

Key Additions: freshmen Isha Goswami, Elizabeth Stoiber 

Key matchups: De Anza League Meet at Crystal Springs

Star athletes: sophomore Amoli Vanavaidya, junior Jessie Zhou, seniors Julia Hoffman and Sanjana Reddy

Key losses to graduation: Isabella Tan, Elizabeth Kardach, Siena Parsons


After sending seven runners to the Central Coast Section (CCS) finals last year, the team aims to send runners to the state meet at Woodward Park in Fresno this year. 

Team co-captain junior Jessie Zhou thinks they have a good chance due to the team’s strong additions and new outlook.

“This year I really think our team has improved, particularly because of the new mindset we have,” Zhou said. “Everybody wants to be on the team, and they want to run and improve.” 

Zhou partially attributes the new team outlook to the wave of devoted freshmen. 

“The new freshmen are actually really fast, and they are really dedicated as well,” she said. 

Freshman Elizabeth Stoiber, Isha Goswami and Elsa Blom push other new runners and veteran runners to run even harder, spreading their dedication and their productive attitude.

“You can socialize with your team and doing the off campus runs have actually been relaxing; you can de-stress after school,” said Stoiber. “Going to practice, all three of us want to do our best.”

Many athletes’ determined attitude have motivated them to train even before the season began. Sophomore Amoli Vanavadiya, who qualified for CCS last season, trained at a running camp over the summer. Like the rest of the veteran runners, she hopes to improve her times in meets throughout the season.

“I want to break my personal records,’” Vanavadiya said. “We do these courses every cross country season, so when I go back and do them again, I want to improve my time.”

The hot summer weather has proven to be a challenge. When the temperatures get to around 90 degrees, the team must decide between running long distances or taking it easy. 

Coach Moon especially makes sure the runners are well hydrated and tries to keep them cool by putting out water and choosing shaded running routes. He also tries to keep mileage low on days with high temperatures.

“He doesn't want everyone to hate running because he pushes us so hard,” Zhou said. 

The girls’ first meet was on Sept. 10 versus Lynbrook. The results will be the determining factor for the heat run by each athlete at the following meet; the top seven runners will compete at the varsity level.

“We have a rough idea so far for who's going to be on varsity and junior varsity based on who’s completing the runs fastest,” Zhou said. “But that first meet is a benchmark to who are actually the top seven people in varsity.”

Although the team has highly competitive goals for this season, they’re not exclusively training for end results. Junior Nitya Marimuthu, another one of the team’s co-captains, stressed the importance of athletes loving their sport. Her goal is for all the girls to enjoy the season, regardless of their results. 

“Overall, I just hope everyone has fun, even if they’re not super competitive,” Marimuthu said. “I hope they find cross country something they want to return to.”