This season, both the Palo Alto High School boys’ and girls’ cross country teams reached the Central Coast Section championship meet and advanced runners to the California Interscholastic Federation State championship meet in Fresno.
The boys’ team finished second overall at CCS and 13th at the state meet, while the girls’ team sent freshman Miranda Jimenez to the state meet, where she finished 135th.
Individually, senior Naveen Pai led the charge for the boys’ team at the state meet, posting a time of 16:07.4 and finishing 48th overall.
“I was hurting after the climb but I knew I had to go for it to finish cross country strong,” Pai said. “I finished on a 5:07 so I’m proud of the effort I was able to give.”
Sophomore Henry Saul capped off his breakout season, finishing second among the Paly boys at states.
“I think I was able to improve so much because I put in a lot of work in during the off season, I took off only two weeks after track before I started training hard again,” Saul said. “I think with a coach that made me run a lot more really helped me improve as a runner.”
Jimenez was the only member of the girls’ team to advance to the state meet, where she posted a time of 20:10.1, finishing 135th overall.
“I’m so proud of Miranda’s overall performance at States,” co-head coach Michael Granville said.
Granville is already looking forward to prepping the team for another strong season next year.
“Next season I look forward to coaching the student-athletes to practice daily,” Granville said. “Not just running but, teaching the importance of stretching, abdominal work and team unity.”
The loss of seniors Pai, Kent Slaney, Spencer Morganfeld and Ben Beaudry will hurt, but the core of Saul, juniors Sam Craig and Reed Foster will look to step up and fill the holes left by the seniors next year, according to Saul.
“I’ll try to include a lot of the younger runners, and try not to overwork them,” Saul said. “I’m already pumped for next season.”