Monday, November 16, 2015

Valley Christian Girls Finish Season 4th in CCS!

Belmont, CA - The Valley Christian Girls Cross Country team finished 4th in CCS DIII at Crystal Springs, Saturday. The run marked the ninth time in ten years that the Lady Warriors have finished fourth or better at the section championship.

With injury ending the season of the top two returning runners the Warriors found themselves relying on their depth early into the season. A strong core of younger runners combined with experienced veterans stepped up to keep the team’s State Meet hopes alive. While the end result fell short of their goal of finishing top three, the team gave it their all and left it all out on the race course.

"There are not many teams out there that would have a shot at making the State Meet after losing their top runner, let alone two of them." Coach Small said. "Fourth place has a bit of sting to it but these girls should be proud of what they accomplished today."

"I'm incredibly proud of these young women,” Coach Blaha said reflecting on the season. "Their ability to rise above trials was tested this season. They gelled as a team and maintained a spirit of tenacity that we as coaches love to see.”

“It’s my hope that these women celebrate this season and look excitedly ahead - we expect big things from each one!"

Depth Key to Season Success

With the early exit of two of their top runners the girls would need to rely on their depth. Brianna Becerra was an up-and-comer on last year’s team and one of those younger runners who stepped up to to have major roll on this year's team. Her emergence as one of the elite runners this season was hardly a surprise. Following a stellar freshman track season where she ran 5:46 for 1600 meters and 12:15 for 3200 meters she came into the 2015 season as one of the top runners on the team. Becerra showed what she was capable of leading the team in WCAL #1 and then followed that up with runs of 20:30 in WCAL #2 and 20:37 at the WCAL Championship. She was the team’s #2 runner in both of those races.

Two other sophomores were key contributors this season after having a breakthrough season of their own. Sophia Paterson has transformed from a novice runner, who ran her first three mile run in 27+ minutes, to being one of the team's leaders. Paterson dipped under 7 minute pace at the Stanford Invitational where she ran 21:40 and ended as one of the most improved runners this season.

Hannah Theaker decided to give cross country a try half way through the season her freshman year, liked it and has since blossomed into one of the team’s top runners. She has demolished her personal bests all season and stepped up big for the Warriors ending the season as a scoring runner at the WCAL and CCS Championship.

Freshmen Provide Spark

The breakthrough of the freshman runners was a catalyst for this season’s success. Kayla Nanez asked for a shot to run varsity and delivered in her first race placing as the team’s #3 runner in the first WCAL meet of the season. She never looked back and her competitive and fearless race style provided a spark that was a turning point for the team. Running well under 7 minute mile pace for the 5k course it was a statement race for the freshman. Nanez continued to step up for the biggest races, evidenced by her finishing the season as the team's #2 runner at the CCS Championship.

One of the most welcome developments this season has been the progression of Mackenzie Thomas. It didn't take long for her to find her grove this season, as the freshman has been stellar from the start. In her first WCAL meet of the year she finished as the team’s #2 runner and then went on to lead the team through the remainder of the season. Thomas’ big breakthrough came at Golden Gate Park in WCAL #2 when she ran under 20 minutes and finished with the 4th fastest time in school history. That momentum carried into the WCAL Championship where she ran the 4th fastest time ever for a freshman and is #13 all-time in school history.

Veteran Leadership

While the Warriors boasted a talented core of underclassman the team looked to the experience of their veterans for leadership. The Warriors were excited to welcome back Nicole Favre in to the fray. The team’s 2014 Runner of the Year debuted at the Stanford Invitational in September and worked up the ranks to end as a key member on the varsity team. Favre ran a personal best at WCAL #2 and was key in the team advancing to CCS and their 4th place finish.

Kiko Li was another key contributor this season leading the way in many of the races this season. Li was motivated from the start finishing as the team's top runner at the opening time trial and again at the Stanford Invitational where her mark of 21:35 stands as #11 all-time. Battling a tweaked muscle in the hip flexor after that race, Li couldn’t quite get back to form by the end of the season but was

The Race

Two freshman led the way for the Lady Warriors at the CCS Championship: Mackenzie Thomas was in first for the Warriors with an 18th place finish in 20:11,  Kayla Nanez finished in 20:52 for 28th place. Nicole Favre finished in 35th while Bianna Becerra and Hannah Theaker placed 39th and 42nd. Kiko Li and Sophia Paterson rounded out the varsity team. Five Warriors made their CCS debut in the race as the girls will return 7 of their top 9 runners this season. While they fell just short of their season goal the team now looks forward to taking the next step forward.

Links: Results / Pics

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Friday, November 6, 2015

Warriors Advance to CCS Championship; Boys Set Team Record

Belmont, CA - The Warriors traveled to Crystal Springs to compete in the WCAL Championship, Wednesday. For the first time in years the race saw mild temperatures in the mid-60's, setting the stage for fast times and shattered records.

Four of the ten fastest times run in school history for the Crystal Springs course were run at yesterday’s WCAL Championship. A fast first mile had Joe Renati and Nedu Ndili set the pace with a quick 5:08 opening mile. With the entire varsity team in tow the pack was through in 5:20. The effort didn't let up any in the middle mile. After a steady climb at the start, the rolling course saw the top 5 come through the second mile in 10:40-10:55.

It was a super effort in the last mile that was the difference. Mitchell Rohr made a huge move the final 800 meters moving up 10 places the last mile to finish in 16:17. His time is #2 all-time for the Warriors. Joe Renati battled through a side cramp but still managed to hold on for an impressive 16:29. Sam Cuevas ran 16:47 an improvement of nearly 2 minutes from earlier in the year.

Cameron Lockard was on a mission and put on a big move in the last mile finishing in 16:59.

"It was the breakthrough race I was looking for," Lockard said after the race. "I've been stuck in the 17:40's it nice to finally get one in the 16's." 

Peter Enfantino ran a personal best 17:24, Justin Baraona was just 3 seconds off his personal best finishing a solid 17:25. Nedu Ndili was not feeling well and a quick start amplified his discomfort. After passing through two miles in 10:59 he battled through and finished in 17:44.

The boys smashed the school record for team time running 83:59. Their time qualifies them to advance to the CCS Championship on November 4, also at Crystal Springs.

The Lady Warriors ran the automatic qualifying time advancing to the CCS Championship for the 15th consecutive year. It was a strong showing for the Warriors that was led by a slew of underclassman. Mackenzie Thomas led the way running 19:41. Her time is the 13th fastest in school history and the 4th fastest ever recorded by a freshman.

Brianna Becerra was next to finish for the Warriors in 20:37, an improvement of over 2 minutes from last season. Kayla Nanez had an excellent debut finishing in 20:50. Her performace is the tenth fastest for a freshman in team history. 

Running in the number four spot was senior Nicole Favre who finished in 20:53, a 14 second improvement over last year. Hannah Theaker ran a huge personal best of her own finishing in 21:19. Sophia Paterson wasn't entirely happy with her finish but still improved handsomely over the year prior.  Kiko Li rounded out the varsity team and had a solid run after returning from injury.

The girls combined team time was impressive and the eighth fastest in team history.

The JV races also saw some amazing performances. Ashley Clayton continues to shine, her run of 22:10 was her fastest of the year. As was Sanhya Bellary who dipped under 23 min for the first time running 22:32. In the boys race, freshman 

Jake DeMoss cracked the 18 minute barrier for the first time running 17:59. His time is the fourth fastest freshman mark in school history!

Both the boys and girls advance to the CCS Championship at Crystal Springs on November 14th.

Links: Results / Pics

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Team Results: WCAL Championship

Full Results: CLICK HERE

Valley Christian Team Results:

  Mitchell Rohr 

Mackenzie Thomas
  Joe Renati

Brianna Becerra
  Sam Cuevas 

Kayla Nanez
  Cameron Lockard

Nicole Favre
  Peter Enfantino

Hannah Theaker
  Justin Baraona

Sophia Patterson
  Nedu Ndili

Ashley Clayton
  Jake DeMoss

Kiko Li
  Jeremy Dong

Sandhya Bellary
  Alex Wang

Vanessa Giacalone
  Patrick McCoy

Maggie Theaker
  Ragav Saran

Remy Ascencio
  Anthony Mac

Grace Cardona
  Kevin Shi

Coco Zhou
  Yaseen Elashmawi

  Steven He

Friday, October 16, 2015

Warriors Breakthrough at WCAL #2

San Francisco, CA - For the second time in five days the boys cross country team have had a statement race making it clear their intention to contend for the section title and a state qualifying position. The Warriors ran the fastest ever in school history Thursday, running a collective 84:12 for three miles, an average of just 16:51 for the scoring runners. Four boys ran in the 16's, all surpassing the previous school record for the 3.0 mile course.

The Girls were also stellar on the day running a 103:44 team time, the second fastest in school history. Freshman Mackenzie Thomas had a breakthrough performance running 19:52, her first run under 20 minutes. Thomas took the race out aggressively crossing two miles in 12:50 a respectable time in itself. The remaining scorers all packed together at the two mile mark in 13:42 or faster. 

Brianna Becerra led the charge of the chase pack passing two miles in 13:25. She finished in 20:30, a time over two minutes faster than she ran here a year ago! Nicole Favre is back to full strength running a personal best 20:50. Sophia Patterson also smashed her personal best running 21:13, exactly one minute faster than last year. Freshman Kayla Nanez tightened up the last mile but continues to be a huge impact runner for the varsity team running 21:17. Vanessa Giacalone rounded out the varsity team running 21:46.

Hannah Theaker placed 9th in the Girls JV race running a huge personal best of 21:35, a 68 second improvement of last year's race. Freshman Ashley Clayton was superb as well running 22:16 and was followed by Maggie Theaker who also had a breakthrough race with her first run under 23 minutes. Her time of 22:54 is an improvement of 1:21 over last year. Sanhya Bellary finally had the race she has been looking for running 23:13.

The boys were led by Joe Renati who finished in a team record 16:18. Three other's cracked the 17 minute mark as well: Nedu Ndili (16:48), Mitchell Rohr (16:54) and Sam Cuevas (16:55). Dean DeMoss also finished in personal best 17:14; Peter Enfantino (17:19) and Justin Baraona (17:48) rounded out the varsity team.

Renati led the team through two miles in 10:42 with Ndili close behind in 10:47. The remaining pack came through in 11:10-11:15. Once again the spread of the varsity boys was just 55 second apart.

In the boys Freshman race Jake DeMoss finished 13th in a time of 18:13.

"I thought our runners did a great job," Coach Hamilton said about the race. "They worked together, ran well and we had lots of personal bests today to prove it."

The Warriors will next compete in the WCAL Championship November 4 at Crystal Springs.

Links: Results / Pics

Junior Varsity girls had a stellar day as all six runners ended with a personal best!