At the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) finals on Oct. 30, the boys and girls cross country teams finished their regular season strong, with both varsity teams placing first.
At the meet, which took place at Crystal Springs, the boys varsity team had a successful race, with the top five runners for Paly all seniors. Senior Henry Saul placed first overall with the time of 15:31 in the 2.95 mile race, senior Donald Taggart placed third, senior Alex Evans placed fifth and senior John Tayeri, The Campanile’s Business Manager placed eighth.
For girls varsity, junior Miranda Jimenez placed first with a time of 19:01 in the 2.95 mile race, followed by junior Kai Douglas coming in fourth and junior Ella Ball in fifth place.
“SCVAL championships went really well for both teams,” junior Ian Matheson said. “Based off how we ran at SCVAL, we have a really good chance of winning [Central Coast Section championships](CCS), which has been one of our goals since the beginning of the season.”
Both teams also competed in the City Championships at Gunn High School on Oct. 24, where girls and boys varsity both got first place. Paly defeated Gunn in every varsity race. With their first place finish in SCVAL, both varsity teams will advance to the CCS championships.
“Obviously both teams up to this point have done exceptional,” Saul said. “For Palo Alto cross country, I think this has been one of the best teams in a while.”
At the SCVAL finals, the boys frosh-soph team also came in first in the meet with sophomore Noah Holbrook coming in first, followed by sophomores William Balentine and Andrew Pham. The girls JV team followed this sequence, with sophomore Emilie Difede and sophomore Anna Roth leading Paly JV girls with a first and second place finish respectively, to reach first place as well.
According to girls varsity captain senior Caity Berry, CCS is hopefully not going to be the end to their season.
“We’re aiming for both teams to go to states this year, but that’s super dependent on how healthy our team stays,” Berry said. “But it’s definitely a possibility this year.”
As the end of the season draws near, the cross country runners are optimistic for the future and reflective on their season, as, according to Saul, this has been a memorable one.
“The girls are really special because they graduate zero seniors next year and the boys team is also exceptional because we lost our number two and three runners this season and we did not look strong early on,” Saul said. “But our boys team rebounded and we now look like we are going to make States.”
The CCS championships will take place on Nov. 10 in Burlingame, where both teams will compete against the best in the area. Depending on their results, an awaiting California Interscholastic Federation State championship meet will be on Nov. 24.