Cross Country practices to shine in tournaments

The Monterey Bay Invitational began on the morning of Oct. 13 at Toro Park. The Chargers’ cross country team was competing against 29 other schools.

For the boys’ varsity three-mile-run, the Chargers took 21st place out of 29, with Christian Wiebe ‘19 improving his personal record with a time of 17:28.50. Wiebe placed 40th, followed by Jason Bechdolt ‘19, who placed 49th. Although Wiebe and Bechdolt finished earlier, they joined the rest of the team at the finish line cheering on Ryan Niemi ‘21, Bryce Yeh ‘22 and Ryan Han ‘22.

“We support each other by giving pep talks during warm ups, pacing with one another during the races and cheering on our teammates from the sidelines. The team’s number one priority is to motivate each other,” Wiebe said.

The girls’ varsity team had much success in their three–mile–run, as they finished in third place overall. Melissa Cichon ‘21 came in first for the Chargers, followed by Clara Chirila-Rus ‘20 and Vibha Chandrasekar ‘20. The team finished third out of 21 schools with none of the Chargers finishing below 60th place.

“Although cross country is oftentimes seen as an individual sport, everyone’s efforts directly contribute to the success of the team.”

When it comes down to the final scoring, the points from the first place runner on the team matters just as much as those of the seventh place runner,” Chirila-Rus said.

The runners not only prepare for their long runs by encouraging one another to go the distance, but also by maintaining a healthy diet. Runners also have their individual pre-race rituals to help themselves get ready for the race.

“Meet preparation starts long before the meet itself. Hydration, proper nutrition and rest are all key to being ready. My race day rituals entail racing in a different pair of shoes and braiding my hair,” Chirila-Rus said.

Having a proper diet that includes  vegetables, fruits and protein gives the runners the physical energy to endure the distance. Aside from the physical preparations, the team bonds together before their race to boost their team morale. . “When preparing for a race, I gather my teammates and we do a warmup together. We lightly jog and stretch while talking about the race and how well our teammates have been doing this year,” Wiebe siad.

As the season progresses, the runners  will continue to work on improving their times. In an attempt to qualify for the Central Coast Selection Chmpionships (CCS), the team will continue to cheer on their teammates during meets, motivating them to be the best runner they can be.