The Palo Alto High School girls’ cross country team finished fourth out of 20 teams in the first division of the Central Coast Section meet on Saturday while the boys’ team finished fifth out of 18 teams.
Junior Henry Saul finished third in the boys’ varsity race while senior Sam Craig finished fifth with times of 15:46 and 15:57 respectively.
Members said they were proud of Saul and Craig and members such as junior John Tayeri voiced their appreciation with their performances.
“They qualified for states, so we are definitely looking forward to cheering for them,” Tayeri said.
Although the team placed high overall, many of the team members were disappointed in the results as both the boys’ and girls’ teams did not qualify for the California Interscholastic Federation state meet.
Tayeri finished 48th out of 134 runners with a time of 17:25 in the boys’ 3.6 mile race and said he wished he could have performed at a higher level.
“I was overall disappointed by my performance in CCS,” Tayeri said. “I ran a lot slower than I have done previously on the same course and I had a tough time seeing through to the finish.”
Tayeri says the team was not satisfied with placing fifth because they had higher expectations heading into the meet.
“Both the boys’ and girls; teams are a little bummed that we could not qualify for states, but it is only motivation for us to improve for the upcoming track season and next year’s cross country season.”
Junior Brian Ho seconded Tayeri’s comments, agreeing that the team could have performed at a much higher level.
“CCS was a tough race for us,” Ho said. “As a team, we had [states] in our sights but did not manage to make it.”
The girls’ team posted strong times despite falling short of states.
Sophomore Miranda Jimenez finished 11th with a time of 19:47 and senior Julia Doubson finished 21st with a time of 20:14 in her final meet.
Doubson discussed the meet and the overall season for the team.
“The girls had a strong showing at CCS,” Doubson said. “Everyone raced their hardest hoping to get the team to states, and while we did not qualify, we were far more competitive than in recent years.”
The team will look to come back even stronger for next season by staying in shape during the off-season.
Ho says the team believes that they will be able to qualify for states next year with many returning members.
“For next year’s cross country season, we are expecting our team to step up their game as some of our top runners will be off to college,” Ho said. “[The boys’ team] did not win our Santa Clara Valley Athletic League finals meet this year and we hope to win that shirt next season.”
Doubson says the future for the girls’ team is also bright with her being the only varsity senior graduating.
“With a fast group of current freshmen and no one else graduating, I expect the team to exceed this season’s performance next year,” Doubson said.