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Cross country competes against Gunn, St. Francis at first scrimmage

Naveen Narayanaswami
Senior Allie Difede runs alongside junior Romy Kiessling at a Gunn cross country scrimmage on Aug. 31. “The smoke was kind of an issue, and it was also really hot,” junior Kinga Czajkowska said.

Despite smoky conditions from The Smith River Complex fires in the Northwest corner of the state, head coach Michael Davidson said cross country excelled at its first scrimmage of the season against St. Francis and Gunn. The event, which was a two mile race for all teams, was hosted at Gunn on Aug. 31.

Davidson said the meet went well and was a good introduction to the team for his new athletes.

“We had (a) good showing from some of the athletes we expected, and it’s good for some of the new folks to get a chance to learn how to race and get some experience,” Davidson said.

Junior and first place finisher in the girls division Kinga Czajkowska said the meet was tough due to the air quality but was also a good endurance test for the new runners.

“The smoke was kind of an issue, and it was also really hot,” Czajkowska said. “So that’s kind of a test-by-fire for a lot of new runners who haven’t really been used to this kind of distance.”

Davidson said his goals for the year are the same as the previous year’s for both teams.

“Every year they are the same for me: qualify one or both teams to state meet, win leagues and win or do really well in CCS,” Davison said.

Czajkowska said the girls team has a lot of young talent that can help it in coming years.

“I am really proud of the varsity girls and JV girls,”  Czajkowska said. “We have a lot of very strong sophomores and underclassmen in general which I think is going to carry our team pretty far over the next couple of years,”

For his part, Davidson said the coaching staff has a lot of emotions regarding the upcoming season.

“With our coaching staff, we come out every day, put our heart and soul into training the kids and giving them the very best we have, so we hope and expect the same,” Davidson said. “It’s a little nerve wracking because we can’t get to be on the line with them, but when they’re nervous, we’re nervous, and when they’re excited, we’re excited.”

Czajkowska said the biggest potential issue for the team is injuries.

“We have some very strong runners that might just be out for important meets because things like shin splints or stress fractures, and that would be really sad,” she said

As far as the boys team goes, senior August Mondragon said he thinks it’s going to be a great year for them.

“We’re excited,” Mondragon said. “Everything is going to be amazing this season. I think that it’s going to be the most fun season.”

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Naveen Narayanaswami, Staff Writer
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