Just keep running

Liana Pickrell, Author

Despite some setbacks, both Palo Alto High School cross country teams are hoping for positive results at the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League, Central Coast Section and state championships in November.

The girls’ team has experienced their share of injuries, many affecting athletes who are playing two sports. Senior captain Audrey DeBruine’s injuries have a large impact on the team. She would have been one of the top runners for the girls’ team but has not been able to compete for the girls yet this season due to back and toe injuries, according to girls’ coach Paul Jones.

The boys’ team season is turning out differently than coach Kelsey Feely was expecting.

“Some of our key players have come down with illness and with injury so we’re hoping to keep everyone healthy and do well at the end of the season when everything counts,” boys’ coach Kelsey Feely said.

On the flip side, both teams have also garnered their share of victories. The sophomore boys took first place at the Lowell Invitational last month, led by Declan Cassini, who took 14th place in the sophomore boys’ race with a time of 12:48 according to prepcaltrack.com. Also at the Lowell meet, sophomore Bryn Carlson and junior Lucas Matison led the girls’ and boys’ varsity teams in the varsity races by individually placing 6th and 4th respectively.

Carlson and Matison also led the Paly team at the Stanford Invitational last Saturday. Carlson led the girl’s team by placing 25th out of 209 runners in the girls’ Division 1 race and Matison anchored the boys by placing 23rd out of 248 runners in the boys’ Division 1 race, according to rtspt.com.

Jones has high hopes for the girls in CCS.

“We definitely will be in the top half of the league which will qualify us to go to CCS,” Jones said. “This is the toughest girls’ league in CCS so we should probably do pretty well in CCS.”

Sophomore captain Portia Barrientos echoes Jones’s optimsm.

“Last season, around this time, we were performing basically the same, and so we can only improve as we train more,” Barrientos said. “Hopefully we can start to place better in our meets, and do well at leagues and eventually CCS and maybe go to states.”

The same is true for the boys.

“If we just continue to work hard and stay committed, we can be a very competitive team,” sophomore captain Josh Yuen said.

More specifically, sophomore captain Griffin Carlson expects good performance by the sophomore boys in their upcoming meet.

“I believe our sophomore team is performing better than expected,” Carlson said. “We won the Lowell invitational out of 17 teams, and we are looking, this weekend, to win the Half Moon Bay [Artichoke] invitational just as our freshman team did last year.”

The Artichoke Invitational Saturday at Half Moon Bay High School.