Running Towards First Place

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Running Towards First Place

Madison Young, Staff Writer

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For the past five years, Sage Creek’s girls cross country team has gone through a remarkable amount of progress, improving from 9th place to 1st at CIF San Diego in only two years, and moving from 14th to 2nd at state in only one year.

The small team of girls only began their journey a short five years ago when Sage Creek first opened, and despite the short amount of time that has passed, the girls team continues to flourish at remarkable speed. On Nov. 8, the girls varsity team received first place after racing a rigorous 2.96 miles through Morley Field, a nationally renowned course near Balboa Park in San Diego. Regardless of the fact that a majority of the team is made up of underclassmen, that did not stop them for going for the gold, and resulted in a first place finish.

Sophomore Skyler Wallace raced an 18:31 and received first place in the varsity girls division four CIF race. Wallace raced all throughout her middle and high school career, and was overjoyed with the accomplishments that both herself and her team made within the CIF San Diego race.

“My expectations going into CIF this year were to try my best to win individually and help lead the team to our first CIF victory,” Wallace said.

Since last year, Coronado High School has been the Sage Creek girls cross country team’s biggest rival during the fall running months. Winning CIF San Diego caused the Sage Creek girls to become overwhelmed with positive emotions with the conclusion of the race. With all of the trials and strife that this small team of girls have been through, acquiring first place seemed like the dream that they had worked so passionately to achieve finally came true.

The girls’ entire 2017 cross country season was highly impressive, starting with obtaining a second place win at the 70th Annual Mt. SAC Cross Country Invitational in late October. Having such an astonishing outcome from this race gave the entire team a positive outlook for the remaining season that was to follow.

“Our first major accomplishment that I believed gave us a lot of confidence going into CIF was our second place finish at Mt. SAC, which was our first seeded race. Placing so high in such an elite race gave us the confidence in ourselves that we needed down the road,” Wallace said.

Cross country as a sport does not normally appeal to the population of a high school. Competing against various schools, running constant mileage in the blazing Santa Ana winds does not sound extremely appealing. However, despite the difficulties that come with racing on a cross country team, the girls that make up Sage Creek’s girls varsity cross country team continue to train throughout the year with barely any breaks involved. The dedication that many of the girls on the team possess is one of the many reasons that the girls have found so much success throughout their consecutive years of running.

With all of the hardships that come with competitive running, one major bonus for all of the girls is being a part of a tight knit community. Enduring individual and team oriented challenges and facing them head-on aids in the development of extremely strong friendships between the girls on the cross country team. The powerful connections and relationships that are developed throughout this rigorous sport is also one of the most influential motivators that has brought this team to attain an immense amount of improvement.

“What makes me so so happy about cross country is the people! Some of the girls on this team are truly my best friends; I feel like I can totally just be goofy and just be myself around everyone. It’s not just a team, it’s like a family, and I’m glad to be apart of that” sophomore Tristin Hoffman said.

The girls cross country team received 14th place the previous 2016 season at the CIF State championship in Fresno, California. Racing throughout the trails within Woodward Park for only two consecutive years, the girls cross country team has recently improved by 12 places when achieving 2nd place this season on Nov. 25.

“State… went really well. What was the best was the girls’ team’s improvement as a whole from 14th place last year to 2nd this year! Personally, I PRed by almost a minute and improved from 81st place to 28th,” sophomore Lavanya Pandey said.

In the years to follow, this team of girls is hopeful to continue to exceed the expectations that they have developed over the past couple of years running and competing. The team as a whole hopes to maintain their first place CIF placing within the years to follow, and continue to receive first place at state by next fall. If the Sage Creek girls cross country team does manage to win first place at state by the next cross country season, then the next challenge would be to race at the Nike Cross Nationals race.

“My hopes for this team in the future is definitely to win a State Championship and eventually earn a spot at Nike Cross Nationals,” Wallace said.

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  • Brooklynn Deal (junior) embraces teammate, Natalie Huestis (sophomore) once receiving her 1st place team medal after racing 19:45 at the San Diego CIF Cross Country Championships. After three long seasons of racing Cross Country, this accomplishment had overjoyed Deal with all of the hard work that she had devoted to the sport throughout her high school career.

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