By Leonard COUTIN
he Falcons’ traditional summer program headed by Coach Mark Evans sparked a sense of optimism for the season’s CV boys and girls cross-country teams. Providing his new recruits and the returning squad with a diversified program, these young athletes were able to bond under the California Sierra Mountain stars at their scenic Mammoth running camp this summer.
Working his squads on several different terrains, Evans prepared his runners by exposing them to both the mountain and grassy elements that they may face in their upcoming season.
Looking forward to another cross-country season, Evans said, “The boys team should be quite strong. Currently, we are ranked 34th in the state by PrepCaltrack.com. among all teams in all divisions.”
Last year the team placed eighth at the Southern Section Division 1 Finals. They were rated 17th in the preseason stats of the CIF-SS (Southern Section) Division 1 and worked their way up the ladder to qualify eighth at the end of the season. Using four main criteria this year, PrepCalTrack ranked California teams by team strength, team depth, team reserves and divisional strength.
Last year, strength for the Falcons came from young freshman Colin FitzGerald who is returning as a sophomore. FritzGerald has shown that he has the ability to run well when he focuses, indicating that his challenge will be more mental than physical this year. Already preparing himself, FitzGerald has performed well during summer workout and promises to be an asset to his team.
Joining him are top athletes Phillip Thomas, Armin Cardenas and Kyle Dickinson. Each of these seniors has the ability to pickup the slack and run well with each other. Baring no injuries, Robert McNellis should be particularly strong as will Zach Johnson.
Also vying for a position are varsity runners Ethan Walch, Jon Yoon, Manan Vats and Artin Allahverdian.
The key to the Falcon running program will be keeping the team strong and healthy throughout the season. Each of these runners will be tested today, Thursday, Sept. 3 at 3:30 p.m. at the CV Invite Meet on the home course at CV Park.
Traditionally the Falcons girls’ cross-country team has been a very competitive group and this year looks to be no different. Returning are seniors Grace McAuley and Rebecca Mencia who have shown to be strong and talented runners. Junior Annie Myers also returns and promises to help balance the power for her team. Sophomore Emily Perkins, who is running well at the moment, has the ability to help add to the Falcon strength. The Falcons girls will welcome senior Hanna Leines this season, who is new to the school as an exchange student from Norway. She has not officially been rated but is performing well. Promising to make the top sixth and seventh positions are Naila Ortiz and Eva Valero who will get the chance to make their marks.
On Saturday, Sept 5, the Falcons will run for the first time at the Riverside Showcase Invitational in Riverside. This will be the future site for the CIF prelims meet that has been traditionally held at Mt. SAC. Getting first-hand experience will be very important for the Falcon runners, as they will need to run well in November on this same course.