Eight Tartans went to the line at the California State Cross Country Championships in Fresno. Junior Lauren Justus and the boys varsity team had qualified for the State Div. II finals – a first for the boys team while Lauren joined Christy Adamyk (’07) as the only Tartans ever to advance as individuals.
When the day ended, we left Fresno with a big trophy and a load of memories.
The day began with Lauren’s race. She overcame a near fall about 300 meters into the race, needing to leap over a stumbling runner, but never quite found her best rhythm, finishing 67th in 19:18 on the rolling 5000 meter course. You can view full results and a video of the race here.
The guys stepped to the line about hour later. Fresh from our CIF Southern Section championship the previous week, the Tartans were ranked second in the State to national power Mountain View. According the electronic chip timing system, new for this year’s meet, the guys were fourth at the mile split. As the race opened up, the Tartans moved forward, and were second to Mountain View at the 2.1 mile mark. Holding off a hard charge from Valencia over the final mile, the guys held their places to finish second with 158 points and a cumulative team time of 80:09. Full results and race video here.
Junior Anthony Castro led the Tartans with particularly strong performance, finishing 13th in 15:32, probably the best individual performance ever by a GHS XC athlete – it’s superior to Thomas Finnigan‘s (’08) 15:17 at Mt.Sac and Joey Divizia‘s (’08) 15:35 at Bonelli Park. Anthony was 35th overall combining all five divisions.
Next across the line, all running right at their lifetime bests were Kelly Hernandez (36th, 16:02), Austin Mendoza (38th, 16:03) and Shin Yamamura (60th, 16:15). Our final three were seniors Austin Goodheart and Neill Netzeband, and junior Nick Orozco.
Second was great achievement for our team – our performance would have won the State Div. II race five out of the previous six years. Champions Mountain View’s 78:26 team time was the fastest of the day for all divisions and the tenth best ever on the Woodward Park course. But they graduate most of their team and we don’t, so next year…
Special honor goes to seniors, team captains, and four year varsity lettermen Austin Goodheart and Neill Netzeband, who finished their GHS XC careers on Saturday. Austin’s best race of the year was his win in the second Sierra League cluster meet, where he is 5th GHS AT, and at CIF Prelims, where his 15:44 performance is =6th GHS AT. Neill’s best performances also came at the two Sierra cluster meets, where he was our critical fifth man and his best time of 16:40 was 15th GHS AT at Bonelli.
And even greater honor goes to our head coach Don Sumner. Our success in 2009 is the culmination of 14 years of his hard work and dedication to our program. Well done and congratulations, Coach.