Cross Country will depend on both new and proven talent

By By: Donald Kim

The cross country team’s season got off to a bittersweet start as the boys team started the season 1-0 while the girls remain 0-1.
The boys cross country team hopes to match last season’s success with the help of new talented runners, while the girls team relies on the team’s experience to lead a smaller group of runners.
“We have a solid core of experienced runners that knows what it takes to be successful,” coach Steven Bettis said. “We have a smaller girls group than in years past so that will be a challenge, but the plan is to have a handful of these younger ladies step up.”
The boys team placed fifth in the state last year, but the team believes that it will be able to excel with younger runners like sophomores Zach Weinstein and Will Conway.
“[Weinstein] won the JV county two mile run last season and has ranked number ten in preseason rankings,” coach Paul Jacobson said. “Conway has also excelled in track last year.”
The girls team expects a stronger season as it will look to experienced players to carry the team to the top three in the state.
“The girls have four top returning players who have run for three to four years and [are] also top ten county runners,” Jacobson said.
CHS was able to make nine strong showings during the Magruder Invitational Sept. 9. The boys were impressive with three runners in the top 14 and five in the top 30. They beat out Good Counsel for second place with 84 points. For the girls, Alexandra Giedd was running well in the chase pack when she tripped and injured her foot and was injured badly enough to sit out of the race.
“I was extremely satisfied with the results of the Magruder Invitational because we placed at the top and it showed our players’ potential,” senior Tarek Elhage said. “Even though the path was muddy due to the weather, our players kept running.”
During the Woodward relays on Sept. 9, Giedd and senior Maryam Fikiri placed in the top three at the race while Elhage and Weinstein placed seventh. Senior Sei Masuoka and sophomore Justin Rheingold came in eighth place.
“It felt different to run a relay race of one mile when we are used to racing three miles,” Elhage said. “The race was helpful to the team because it showed where everyone fit onto the team.”
Despite the loss of top runners Sean King, Will Draffin and Matt Bernstein, the boys team continues to work at another successful season. The girls did not lose any key runners, but they need a strong fifth runner to strengthen the team’s weaknesses.
“We have many good runners who push each other everyday, our older runners push the younger runners to get better” Jacobson said. “If everyone is willing to put in team work and sacrifice, we are going to do big things.”