Cross Country Strives to Earn High Ranking at State Finals

Audrey Contenelli, Staff Writer

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The UC High Varsity Cross Country Team is looking to make it to State, do well in League, and defeat their rivals.

   Coach Jim McCarthy said, “The teams will do great this season. The Girls Team is currently ranked ninth in the county for all divisions, and the boys are much improved over last year.”  He explained that they aim to have the girls place in the top five in the state, and boys in the top 12. Senior Ella Ruff elaborated on the girls team’s goals for this season, “We are looking to go to state for the fourth year in a row, with goals of making it in the top five.”

   “Both Girls and Boys Teams look really strong this year. Our ultimate goal is getting both teams to state, and to set milestones along the way,” confirmed Senior Cooper Talbott.

    Ruff noted that UC High’s Cross Country Team’s rival has always been Cathedral Catholic High. Talbott mentioned that Cathedral is a huge powerhouse in their League, so both the boys and girls are going after them this year. However, this year, in the Western League, their main competition and rival is Scripps Ranch High.

   Senior Isabelle Shepherd shared, “On September 29, the team went on a two-night trip to the Stanford invite.” She added that the following week the entire team spent the night at a hotel to race the Clovis Invitational. “The Girls Team placed second at the Stanford Invite, and the Boys Team placed seventh,” said Senior Co-Captain Tori Michaelian.

   McCarthy stated, “We only lost a few seniors from last year. The returning group is much more motivated than any of the teams in the past three to four years. We also have a couple of strong freshmen that will keep the older kids on their toes.”

    McCarthy said that his main goal is to push his  runners to progress to run both farther and faster. “This becomes easier over time, allowing them to achieve success,” explained McCarthy.

   Talbott said, “Our coaches are strict, but they do what is best for us. They know when we’re tired or not feeling well, and adjust workout and rest days according to what they see.” Ruff agreed, stating that the coaches do everything with the runner’s best interest in mind.

     Shepherd said, “Practices are different depending on the day. Our hard days include runs that can be eight to 12 miles with hills or speed work on the track. On easy days we usually do four or five miles to recover. Twice a week, we do weights.”

   “We have been training over the past four months. Our hard workout days are balanced this year with easy days in between so they can rest for the next hard effort. It’s a sport that demands an incredibly hard effort every day to improve,” said McCarthy.

  “Meets are probably the most rewarding part of the sport. We’re fortunate enough to be able to travel all over California for our meets. They are the true test of our strength and provide us with great opportunities to show how hard we’ve been working,” explained Talbott.

      Runners even have the opportunity to travel through the Cross Country Program. McCarthy has been taking runners to Italy since 2001. This year, he took 41 students and parents on the trip.

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