By ELEANOR HANSSLER
This past Saturday, Boy’s and Girl’s Cross Country competed at the Mount SAC Invitational, a meet involving the culmination of almost every high school in California, making it one of the largest meets in the nation.
The course, located on and around San Antonio College, is widely regarded as one of the most difficult cross country courses in the nation due to the steep uphills and downhills and the historically high temperatures. University’s experience with this course was no exception, as temperatures during the meet rose to 94 degrees, one of the factors for the slightly lower race times.
“It was really hot and I got dehydrated very quickly, so running was hard” said sophomore Ian Proctor.
The hilly course, which was another factor for the slower times, presented an additional challenge for the runners.
“Mount S.A.C was challenging with all the hills and it being 94 degrees,” said freshman Caio Souza. “But we trained well doing hills [at practice] prior [to the race] which prepared us all.”
Despite this, runners such as sophomore Collette Lowengrub and junior Ryan Duffy were still able to finish with both impressive places and times within their individual races. Lowengrub, who ran with a time of 18:11, finished ninth in her race out of 109 others, while Duffy finished 26th out of 132 runners in his race with a time of 16:33. Other notable performances came from junior Avery Klauke, who placed 22nd (time of 18:55), sophomore Michael Blinstrub, who placed 47th with a time of 17:00, and junior Raja Batra, who ran a time of 17:22 and placed 60th in his race.
Unfortunately, not every runner was able to compete at this invitational. Construction at the college, which began last year, affected the course and a number of schools were not able to be invited. This meant that the team was not able to race at Mt. SAC last season, and was only able to take the top ten runners from the freshmen, sophomores and JV, as well as the top seven Varsity, with them to the meet this year.
“[Even though] I was not able to join my team at Mount SAC I am so proud of their performance and it has been amazing watching all of us grow as a team.” said sophomore John Melcher.
Overall, Boys Varsity placed tenth out of 19 teams, while Girls’ Varsity placed 15th out of 15 other teams. Both teams’ runners competed in individual sweepstakes rather than a traditional race organized by teams. Boys’ and Girls’ Freshman placed ninth out of 21 teams and 11th out of 11 teams, while Boys’ Sophomores placed 13th out of 21 teams and Girls’ Sophomores placed seventh out of nine teams in their own races. Boy’s JV placed tenth out of nineteen teams, and Girl’s JV placed tenth out of 13 teams.
“I’m really excited to see so many of my teammates’ dedication to cross country. Mount SAC is a challenging course so it’s fun to be able to see [them] out there trying their best,” said senior captain Cecilia Langlois, who ran with a time of 19:51 and placed 52nd in the Varsity sweepstakes race.
Cross Country’s next and last meet, also the Girls’ G.O.W. and PCL League Finals, will take place Tuesday October 30 at Mason Park.