The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Boys and Girls Cross Country Qualify for States

On Saturday, November 16, boys and girls varsity cross country competed in the CCS Championships at Crystal Springs. Despite a very close finish, both teams secured the third and final spot in Division II, qualifying them for State Championships.

Coach Dan Oren and the varsity boys team accurately predicted that CCS would be a tight race. The boys finished behind rival Los Gatos by a mere 2 points, and missed first place to St. Francis by only 8.

The boys’ race was so close that at one point, the Eagles’ States dreams rested on an errant shoe. As senior Dane Tippett approached Crystal’s steepest hill, known by runners as “The Wall,” he felt one of his shoes come undone and then fall off.

“I was a little scared…but I told myself I had to keep going because we had Saint Francis and Los Gatos to beat,” Dane said.

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It was a tense moment for many of the Los Altos fans watching.

“If he had stopped to put on his shoe, we wouldn’t have made it to States,” senior Wendy Wu said.

Despite the difficulty, Dane finished with the second fastest Los Altos time, a PR of 16:14. Sophomore Ben Zaeske led the team with a 15:44, good for fifth place overall, and as usual the rest of the team filled out with consistently excellent times.

Going into the race, however, the boys had set their sights on first place.

“[We were] relieved that we were going to states but a little disappointed since we wanted to do so much better,” Dane said. “Going to States, we’re going to try and beat out Saint Francis and Los Gatos a second time [since Mt. Sac].”

On the girls side, hope was still very strong for CCS despite not being ranked in the top three teams.

“[Coach Oren] sat us down and told us, ‘If every single one of us does your best, I promise we will go to States,” senior Wendy Wu said. “A lot of the other girls were pretty nervous, [and] we have a really really young team, but we all really wanted to [qualify].”

The girls’ hopes were realized in a race that featured milestones and impressive finishes. Sophomore Lauren Jacob won the Division II race with an incredible 17:20. Her victory by over half a minute was the third fastest time ever recorded at Crystal Springs by a sophomore girl, and in the top 30 of all time for any grade.

It was a great race day for Wendy as well, who PR’d on her final run of the storied course.

“When we found out we made it [to States] I started screaming at the top of my lungs,” Wendy said. “We all started screaming…until we were blocking out the starting gun of the next race.”

The latest top finish for Cross Country continues an impressive season for both varsities. The CIF State Championships will take place November 30 at Woodward Park. Last year boys and girls finished ninth and 18th, their best finishes ever, in the Division II race.

“Both teams are capable of placing just as high or even higher this year,” Coach Dan Oren said.

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