Recap: Cross country qualifies for CCS with strong performance at SCVALS championship

    The Palo Alto High School cross country team arrives at Crystal Springs for the Santa Clara Valley Athletics League championship meet. This meet was extremely important for the team and qualified them for the Central Coast Section meet.

    The Palo Alto High School cross country team arrives at Crystal Springs for the Santa Clara Valley Athletics League championship meet in Crystal Springs on Oct. 31, 2017. This meet was extremely important for the team and qualified them for the Central Coast Section meet. Junior John Tayeri is confident the team can outperform the other schools at the Central Coast Section meet. “We have what it takes to beat Bellarmine,” Tayeri said. “But it will come down to the wire.” Photo: Benjamin Huang

    The Palo Alto High School girls’ junior varsity and varsity teams both won their divisions at the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League Championship meet at Crystal Springs on Tuesday while the boys’ junior varsity and varsity teams both finished second.

    The typical strong performance by the team automatically qualified both the girls and the boys to participate in the Central Coast Section meet at Toro Park on Nov. 11.

    Junior Maya Wilson was proud of the team’s will to finish the race and perform at a high level.

    “Our team performed really well,” Wilson said. “Junior varsity girls got 1st, just beating Gunn by a hair.”

    Because of an unprecedented season from the girls’ varsity team, they were able to finish first in the El Camino League, an achievement the team has not accomplished in 12 years.

    The Vikings had multiple runners finishing in the top five in their races with Julie Meng finishing fourth overall for girls varsity, Sufi Kaur finishing first in the girls’ junior varsity race and Sam Craig finished first in the boys’ varsity race with a time of 15:29 on the 2.95 mile course. Junior Donald Taggart finished shortly after Craig and placed fifth.

    According to Junior John Tayeri, the boys’ team was able to put up a fantastic performance despite the fact that they were without some of their best runners.

    “Varsity with four of our runners sick, lost to Los Altos by just five points,” Tayeri said. “[Junior] Henry Saul and [senior] Reed Foster could not race due to sickness and injuries and they are two crucial runners that we missed today, but they will be healthy and ready to compete for CCS.”

    Tayeri is already looking forward to competing at the Central Coast Section meet and has high expectations for the team.

    “The girls have tight competition in CCS in order to qualify for states, but we all believe that they can do it,” Tayeri said. “With a healthy boys squad, we believe that we can beat both Los Altos and Bellarmine to win CCS.”

    Junior Brian Ho said the team was able to overcome many of the injuries they had, including of senior Julia Doubson, one of their top runners.

    “Even with all the detrimental factors, everyone had a good meet,” Ho said. “We raced hard, cheered each other on, and kept a positive spirit throughout the day.”

    Looking ahead, Wilson is focused on training hard and performing well in CCS.

    “For CCS, our team will be much smaller and will just consist of our top seven runners from boys and girls and also some alternates and practice runners,” Wilson said. “Paly has a great chance of doing fantastic.”

    The Vikings next meet will be the CCS meet on Nov. 11 at Toro Park.

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