Cross-Country Team Pursues Almont League Title and CIF Qualifications
AHS’ cross-country team is currently in the middle of their season with three invitationals and one league meet down. Last year, the varsity team took third place in league and moved on to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) preliminaries. This year, they once again are striving to place in the top three in league and advance to CIF.
At their first Almont League meet, the varsity boys took fourth place and the varsity girls took third place. Junior co-captain Justin Torres came in first for Alhambra and 6th place overall for the varsity boys with a time of 17:11. In the varsity girls’ race, junior co-captain Luz Badillo came in first for Alhambra and also 6th place overall with a time of 21:33. So far, these are times and places worthy of CIF qualification. However, the leaders of the team believe that improvements need to be made before the team is ready for league finals.
“Physically we are ready, but mentally we are just not out there yet. I think we need to listen and follow directions more without the constant talking and distractions,” senior captain Henry Tea said.
According to some members of the team, attendance is the key to success. It is essential for members to show up to practice daily to prevent falling behind their teammates.
“I think we would have a stronger team if everyone on the cross country team was fully committed to [the sport] and came to all the practices,” freshman Vivyana Prado said.
This season is also head coach Sandra Rodriguez’s second year coaching the cross country team. She emphasized that the team has practiced enough to be a threat to other rival schools.
“We have been working hard all summer. They are more trained and should be ready for this season,” Rodriguez said.
Younger athletes tend to look up to the more experienced varsity athletes for advice and mental tips. Since the whole cross-country team warms up, stretches and works out together, there is a connection between the runners even though they are of different grades and divisions.
“The more experienced members are very good at mentoring the younger members, such as [myself],” freshman Joseph Ney-Jun said.
With only a few days left until their upcoming Almont League meet, the team is focusing on their mental strategies and finalizing their physical training to have the best possible chance to score in the top three ranks and regain the third place spot they had last season.