The cross country season is in full swing as both teams faced challenging competition at the Stanford Invitational on Sept. 29, with the girls placing 10th and the boys placing 24th.
At the second invitational of the season, senior Donald Taggart came in first for Paly boys, followed by senior Alex Evans, senior John Tayeri and senior Ben Huang.
For Paly girls, junior Miranda Jimenez placed 14th with sophomore Hailey Hwang and junior Ella Ball close behind.
The results for the meet were unexpected considering the success of the first meet, according to junior varsity girls captain Kai Douglas.
“Stanford Invitational wasn’t the best meet for the team as a whole, but some individuals raced well,” Douglas said. “We are really looking forward to the upcoming league meets and getting some training in between championship season.”
At the first meet of the year, the Lowell Invitational on Sept. 8, all runners from junior varsity to varsity teams made a great impression Evans said.
According to Evans, the environment of the more intense meets can be hard to get used to, but the invitational was an exceptional start.
Taggart placed ninth overall in the invitational, running 2.93 miles in 15 minutes and 17 seconds, the fastest time of the Paly varsity boys team.
Jimenez ran the fastest out of the varsity girls, placing eighth overall and helping the varsity girls to a second place team finish.
There were several notable junior varsity performances; sophomore Max Barthelemy, sophomore Emilie Defilde and senior Carlos Diaz all placed in the top 15 in their respective races.
Underclassmen like Hwang were able to get a taste of the intensity of high school meets, noting the team aspect that made the invitational so exhilarating.
“I think we all did really well, and I was able to pace with my teammate, Gretchen [Berndt], which was really useful,” Hwang said. “It was especially exciting to cheer for everyone and see them finish their race really strong.”
The invitational allowed for all runners to see their potential for future races. Even for upperclassmen who have previously experienced several intense meets.
“It was a great time racing because it was an early invitational where I could test my abilities and also experiment before more meets roll in later the season.”
Senior varsity captain Henry Saul could not race in either invitationals, but said he looks forward to the rest of the season and can’t wait until the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League meets.
“I’m pretty excited because league meets are good to see who your competition is as well as allow non-varsity to race,” Saul said.
Major meets in the next couple weeks include the Clovis Invitational on Oct. 6, where runners will race against top cross country teams from all over the state.