Cross country races to victory

From+humble+beginnings%2C+Carlsbad+High+Schools+boys+varsity+cross+country+team+crossed+the+country+to+compete+in+Nike+Nationals.

Aislinn Bryan

From humble beginnings, Carlsbad High School’s boys varsity cross country team crossed the country to compete in Nike Nationals.

AJ Johnson, Managing Editor

Maintaining their sprint from CIF to Nationals, Cross Country finally passed the finish line, ending their season in December. Four-year team members such as seniors Shay Martin and Scott Snow feel the momentum from this season will promote a legacy through the upcoming years.

Starting off their season, boys varsity cross country felt confident with their returning team as well as their new members. Incoming varsity member and junior Sean Unger felt the team was well prepared for the multiple competitions coming up, ranging from League to CIF, based on their amazing performance during pre-season trials.

“We knew we had a good team going in because last year we made it to state and placed eleventh,” Unger said, “Also we placed second behind Arcadia at our pre-championship race at Mount SAC.”

In the beginning of the year, cross country constantly trained, preparing for their first major competition, CIF. After their preliminary league, they realized they had a team of strong, competitive runners who could dominate in CIF. This realization shifted the team’s main focus from training to competing with other runners from rival teams. The team wasn’t worried about their team effort, the runners were more excited to race against competitive opponents, most importantly, Tal Braude from Torrey Pines High and George Martinez from Sweetwater High.

“In the CIF race we went out, as expected, with four runners up front with Tal leading the race,” junior Kevin Freeman said. “Surprisingly he fell back during the first mile allowing us to lead for the next mile. Then George Martinez surprised us with a strong kick for the last 800 meters which only Jeff Schaefer could respond to and Jeff took it back in the end.”

After taking home the win from CIF, the team prepared for their next big challenge, State. Coach Culley refocused her team and prepared them for their most threatening competitors, Arcadia, Whittier and Vista Murrieta. Each player improved their speed and strategies for taking on other racers to improve their overall score which placed Carlsbad in a tie at second and third after the tie-breaker.

“We should have beaten everyone from California definitely, but other than that we all raced fairly well and we still tied for second.” Freeman said.

After placing third at State, the team received the wild card, qualifying them for Nationals. The competition was tougher than any other of their season due to the rough terrain. Despite this, boys varsity cross country placed eighteenth amongst the many other challenging schools ending their season.

“Our season was almost perfect because although we didn’t get second at state, we still qualified for nationals and had a lot of great races throughout the season.” Freeman said.