Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Valley Christian Cross Country: WCAL Preview

2014 Crystal Springs Center Meet + Shenanigans

San Jose, CA - The sun is dropping down below the Santa Cruz Mountains, the long shadows that now cover the trails bring a crispness to the air that signifies the start of cross country. In actuality the season has been going on for months, and seven races into the schedule it feels like only now the season is about to begin.

Cross Country is a sport that lends itself to those who perform when it counts the most. There is no regular season record that gets you to the playoffs, just one 3-mile race at the end of the year, sudden death. You deliver or you don’t.

The Valley Christian boys understand that too well. They are hoping to become the first team in school history to qualify for CCS in DIII by hitting the automatic qualifying standard. It’s not easy running with the powerhouse teams of the WCAL but the Warriors have proven they can hang, and are trending up. The top four teams automatically advance to the CCS Championship no matter your division. If you are outside of the automatic qualifying spots you have to qualify by time.

Every Second Counts.

Nathan Lynch has been leading by example this fall. He is the first to get going and the last to finish, accumulating the miles that he is confident will serve him well in the end. Averaging 60-70 miles per week he continues to work on the little things, hoping that come November they will add up to a lot. His example has also inspired a slew of younger runners that have made the jump to the varsity level: four sophomores are currently in the team’s top seven.

“The key is meticulously and methodically doing the little things no one else wants to do,” Lynch said. “We aren’t going to make it by leaving practice early, skipping drills or giving a half effort at practice. Every runner has to be bought in every day.”

A cross country team is a collective of individuals. While each runner competes in their individual effort the top five runners contribute to a team score. Places are at a premium in high level meets and are often bunched together; a dozen runners may be separated by mere seconds. This makes a teams depth and strength of their 3-4-5 runners all the difference. It can be the difference from advancing to the Championships or staying home.

The team must average 17:16 on the challenging Crystal Springs course at the WCAL Championships. For every runner, every second counts. Four sophomores are up to the challenge: Nedu Nedili, Justin Baraona, Cameron Lockard and Mathew Weeks all look to contribute and score for the team come November 5. Depth is the strength for the Warriors as three juniors are also ready to deliver. Jeremy Dong, Dean DeMoss and Peter Enfantino have all scored in the top 3 for the Warriors this season. Also adding to the depth is senior Jason Li who ran 17:00 at Crystal Springs last season.

“I am proud of our guys,” Lynch said after a tough practice on Monday. “I think we are ready.”

The Warriors put it all on the line November 5 at the WCAL Championship held at Crystal Springs Country Park in Belmont, CA. Races begin at 2 pm.

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