Cross Country Runners Sprint Through a Victorious Mason Park Meet


Timi Fang

Senior Jet Charter running the course during the meet.

Alex Meng, Staff Writer

The boys and girls cross country team was victorious in their first home meet against runners from Laguna Hills, Woodbridge, Beckman, Northwood, Irvine, and Portola High School. The girls’ JV team was ranked number one while the boys’ varsity team finished in third place. 

Although University High did not formally host the meet, Mason Park is widely regarded as one of the home meet locations of UHS, so the runners were both physically and mentally prepared for the arduous course filled with hills and slopes. 

“Mason Park, in a way, is our home course…Uni doesn’t host it, but we are very familiar with the course because we have practice there so often, so a lot of our team did very well,” junior and captain Katherine Yu said.

Several runners earned a new personal record, or PR time. Junior and captain Ansh Parashar, placed third and was ranked number fifteen on the UHS school record, and junior Natalia Montano placed first. 

“The experience was amazing personally. I exceeded all my own expectations and placed 3rd individually running a 15:18 for 3 miles,” Parashar reflected after the game. “My previous best time was 15:48 which is a huge jump.” 

“The league meet race was really exciting for me,” Montano said, “I knew the course well so I did have a plan as to how I would run the race. I think my plan really helped me win 1st.”

While being asked to recall their favorite parts of the meet, the runners shared similar responses. 

“My favorite part about the race was definitely the overall crowd and how everyone from all schools/ages were cheering everyone on,” Parashar said.

“My favorite part of the league meet race was during the second mile,” Montano added. “I remember running hard into the Mason Park trail and seeing my closest teammates cheering me on. Without them, I don’t think I would’ve had the fun and determination I did have during the race.”

After returning from a difficult season due to the pandemic, with some players having gone to IVA, the team gathered back together this season and set up new goals. 

“Our team’s goal is definitely to send Uni runners to CIF this year, and our coach is pretty confident that a few of our top runners, like Kaitlyn Carmichael, who is a sophomore, will be able to represent Uni!” Yu said.

This year, the cross country would again be under the guidance of Coach DaviesCoach WroblickyCoach Mosey, and Coach Kempff. Despite this year being the first for many UHS runners, the results of the Mason Park meet gave the team more hope regarding its goal of making it to the CIF. 

Following their first home meet, the boys and girls cross country teams will have their next meet on October 16 at Oak Canyon Park.