Saturday, December 13, 2014

2014 Women's Cross Country Team Awards

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Season Highlights:

The Lady Warriors had to dig deep at the end of the 2014 season, overcoming illness and injury the odds were against them. Finishing runner up in DIII at the CCS Championship the team came together when it mattered most, with every athlete stepping up in a complete team effort. Never able to run at full strength, the hard work and discipline of veteran runners combined with a strong freshman contribution resulted in the team's success this season.

[Lady Warriors Dig Deep for Podium Finish at CCS Championship]

A contingent of four different runners finished as the teams top performer throughout the 2014 season. Two of the team's elite never hit top form this season but overcame unfortunate circumstances to help the team qualify for their eighth state championship since 2002. Ashley Lara came on strong in the later stages of the season finishing as the team's top runner at the WCAL and State Championship. Kailey Eddy sits atop the team's all-time list and unfortunately never hit top form but did have a strong early season run leading the team at the Lowell Invitational with a 19:33 finish. Freshman Camille Reed had a strong showing finishing as the teams top performer much of the season; Nicole Favre was the team's top finisher at the second WCAL meet and the CCS Championship. Favre was named the team's runner of the year for her consistency, dedication and leadership for the younger runners.

Other contributions came from a large group of first year runners: Kiko Li, Lauren Cicisly, Brianna Becerra, Hannah Theaker and Sophia Patterson. In addition to the younger runners veterans Vanessa Giacalone, Leia Wang and Hannah Theaker added to the team's depth. Eleven runners ran in the 22 minutes or faster for three miles.

The youthful Lady Warriors return 11 of their top 12 finishers next season.

2014 AWARDS / FALL BANQUET

Runner of the Year
Nicole Favre

Warrior Award
Ashley Lara
Kailey Eddy

Most Improved
Kiko Li
Sophia Patterson

Freshman of the Year
Camille Reed

Friday, December 12, 2014

2014 Men's Cross Country Team Awards

WCAL Final 2014

Season Summary:

It was another year of growth for a young Warriors squad. The team continued to build on their success from the 2013 season finishing sixth in the team standings in the WCAL Championship, their highest placing since joining the league in 2002. The boys team set seven school records this season for team time and a strong group of athletes continue to raise the competitiveness within the program. The future continues to trend up: four sophomores finished the season in the team's top seven; nine runners of the top eleven are set to return next season.

The top five scoring runners all ran personal bests at the WCAL Championship with Nedu Ndili and Jeremy Dong advancing to the CCS Championship as individuals.  Despite the warm conditions there were some impressive performance from the team: Dean DeMoss improved nearly 50 seconds over last year's mark, Cameron Lockard and Justin Baraona improved over 20 seconds.

This year eleven boys ran in the 18 minute range or faster for three miles. Over half of those were freshman or sophomores.  Upperclassman may have been in the minority this season with a large contingent of underclassman but it didn’t stop them from leading the way.  Senior Nathan Lynch came into the season in shape and proved as much with an impressive run at the Wharf to Wharf running 33:35 for the 6 mile course. His summer fitness paid dividends as he was consistently the team's number one runner all season, ran a best 16:03 at the Lowell Invitational for 2.9 miles. He bettered Eyobed Mesfun's school record from 2011 for the 5k Baylands course and is #2 all-time for the Woodward Park course. Falling ill just two days before the WCAL he was unable to run the last race of the season. Other top performances came from Peter Enfanino who ran a season best 17:01 at the Lowell Invitational before suffering a hip injury.

Mathew Weeks along with freshman Joe Renati and Kyle Higdon were impressive this season. The trio led the Frosh-Soph team to a third place finish in the Frosh-Soph division as all three placed in the top eleven.

2014 AWARDS / FALL BANQUET

Runner of the Year
Nathan Lynch

Warrior Award
Cameron Lockard

Most Improved
Dean DeMoss
Justin Baraona

Freshman of the Year
Joe Renati

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Ashley Lara in Elite Company as Four Time State Qualifier


2014 State Championship: Ashley Lara is in some elite company joining Jennifer Bergman, Juliana Wallace, Emily Blaha and Morgan Lira as a four time state championship qualifier!

Season Stats:

  • This season the boys added 57 marks to the Valley Christian all-time list, setting seven team records in the process. 
  • The girls added 29 marks to the all-time list and finished second in CCS, their fourth podium finish (2007, 2011, 2013 & 2014)
  • Cross Country All-Time Performance List: Boys / Girls

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Lady Warriors Wrap Up Season With Impressive Performances at State Championship

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Fresno, CA - Standing on the starting line of the 2014 California Cross Country State Championships the Valley Christian girls are one of the twenty-three fastest teams in the state. Little separate the teams, all have worked hard, all come into the race with high aspirations. To get here not only takes talent but dedication and commitment. Dreaming of competing in the state meet is nothing new to these cross country runners. The desire to compete here is the driving force behind those early morning summer runs and what get you through the most difficult of workouts. For them this is what the training was for.

The Valley Christian Warriors have been represented here for 14 straight years, either by team or individual. This year is the later. Seven girls make their way to the starting line with different levels of confidence. For more than half the team this is their first year of cross country, let alone a race of this magnitude. Nicole Favre and Vanessa Giacalone return to the state meet as veterans having run here on last year's team, one of the fastest in school history. For Ashley Lara this is her fourth state championship.

DSC_0119It has been quite the journey for Lara. From a nervous freshman trying to conquer the butterflies to a senior now ushering in the younger runners experiencing the same nerves. Not that they go away, today they are just contained. This season has also had its share of ups and downs. After coming into the season with a solid summer of training she suffered an injury that was followed with a bout of the flu, resulting in missing early season meets. As the gun sounds none of that matters now; all that matters is today. Lara starts strong the first mile and moves with the pack leading the team with a 6:07. Nicole Favre and Vanessa Giacalone follow: Favre passes the mile in 6:19, Giacalone in 6:23.

Freshman Camille Reed wasn't even sure if could run today. She spent the last three weeks in the pool after agitating her IT band the week of CCS. The warm-up was not kind to her but she was all-in and determined to give it her all, whatever that meant on the day. It was a painful first mile but she went through in 6:32 leading the contingent of Brianna Becerra, Sophia Patterson and Lauren Cicisly. Heading into the race the strategy was to key off teammates. It was important to not get caught up with the excitement of the first mile but to stick to the race plan that would be most beneficial. The remaining pack ran disciplined coming through together in 6:46.

DSC_0128In the end it was a solid showing for the Warriors: Ashley Lara led the way with a 20:14 clocking, her best ever for this meet. Nicole Favre was next, smashing her personal best and finishing 90 seconds faster than she did earlier in the year with her 20:45. Vanessa Giacalone also improved upon her best set here last year running 22:09. Six of seven girls ran a personal best at the end of the day.

"I didn't feel that good in the race but told myself I was going to give it my all and really push the last 800," Lara said. "I think I passed about 30 people the last 800."

Her push to the finish was impressive and resulted in her fastest state performance. She led the team to a 22nd place finish despite missing many key varsity runners in the line up.

"I love the power and unity of our team," Sophia Patterson said. "The fact that I get to run with the most dedicated, light-hearted and humorous people I know is an absolute blessing. We have bonded so well, and we always work together to survive the most gruesome workouts."

Perhaps it is the "survival" instinct that got them through the tough days but it their love for one another that bonded them together.

"We all know the joys and pain of running and help each other to improve." Camille Reed said. "Everyone is so kind; runners are just cool people. We laugh together, we celebrate together when we place well or someone has a great race, we share each other's pain when someone is injured or has a bad race. My team is probably the main reason I've improved so much this season; they make me look forward to running everyday."

The Warriors return 9 of their top 10 runners next season: Kailey Eddy, Nicole Favre, Camille Reed, Kiko Li, Vanessa Giacalone, Brianna Becerra, Sophia Paterson, Lauren Cicisly and Hannah Theaker.

Full Results: CLICK HERE


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