A Recap & Look Ahead: Crystal’s Cross Country Team 

By: Lauryn F. ’26

Photo was taken by Brian Dye

The Crystal Cross Country team consists of a variety of freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and of course, seniors. Coached by Albert Caruana, Andy Martinez, and Nicky Medearis, one could say that this year’s team is one of the best yet. Now, the team has worked incredibly hard the whole season and during the summer, which is evident in the results. As the season comes to a close, the group remembers what they have done and looks ahead to all the years to come with this incredible group of high schoolers. 

A WBAL Recap:

WBAL consists of many competitive teams. On the boy’s side, there are seven strong teams including Menlo and Harker. On the girl’s side, there are 12 teams, including Castilleja and also Menlo. There were three WBAL League meets this season: WBAL #1, WBAL #2, and WBAL Finals, which were all incredibly competitive. In the first meet of the season, the JV girls did not have a full team, but they still delivered as Heidy Avina placed third overall. On the opposite side of the scale, the JV boys started with a very successful meet placing in spots one through five for a clean sweep with Caleb Q. ‘23 leading the pack. In the Varsity Girls race, the team finished second, with Kaiya B ‘23 winning the race. Similarly, the Varsity Boys team placed second with Benjamin B. ‘25 leading the team, finishing third overall. 

Overall, WBAL Meet #2 was more successful, with both the Varsity and JV boys teams winning in their races led by runners Benjamin B. ‘25 and Lachlan G. ‘24. Once more, the JV girls were left without a team but ran very well regardless. Kaiya B came on top in the Varsity Girls’ race with the girl’s team finishing 4th. 

WBAL Finals was the last meet for a lot of the JV runners and it overall ended in the school’s favor. The Varsity Boys edged out Menlo to win the meet and the league overall. In the Varsity Girls race, Kaiya won her third and final WBAL meet of the year with the team finishing third overall in the league. After two clean sweeps, the JV boys easily came out on top, and luckily, the JV girls were able to compete with a team, finishing third. As the league concluded, both varsity teams continued training in preparation for CCS, even as other student-athletes started to move on to the winter season sports. 

CCS Finals: 

The CCS Meet is only varsity and was held at the Crystal Springs Course. In the girl’s race, Kaiya won her fourth race of the season, finishing 54 seconds ahead of second place. Not too far behind were runners Kira D. ‘26 and Maya W. ‘24, who finished sixth and tenth respectively. To finish off the team were runners Lauryn F. ‘26, Heidy A. ‘26, Jasmyn M. ‘23, and Anna S. ‘26. The team was able to edge out Castilleja and finish first, winning the CCS title. Similarly, the boy’s team edged out Menlo to win the title. Benjamin B. was first to cross the finish line for Crystal finishing second overall. Close behind him were Furious C. ‘23 and Tarik B. ‘25 who finished fourth and fifth respectively. To finish off the team were runners Oliver B., Matthew M., Dean W., and Lachlan G. 

For Crystal, CCS was a sweeping success, but the team has to focus on the upcoming state meet, held on November 26th in Fresno, California. For the seniors, this is the last cross-country meet of their time at Crystal and they all wanted to end on a good note. 

California State Meet: 

The Division V girls started Crystal off at nine am. The course is composed of five kilometers of unique terrain, all of which the runners have been on before. Kaiya was first to cross the finish line, winning the school’s first state title of any kind as she improved from her finish from last year. She was followed by Anna S. and Kira D. who finished in 23rd and 25th respectively. Next, was Maya W. who finished 57th. To complete the team, were Lauryn F. (80), Heidy A. (89), and Jasmyn M. (121). Following the race, the results were too close to call as it was going back and forth between Crystal and 11-time state champion University HS. As the results were finalized, it was announced that the Girl’s Crystal Cross Country Team had won the school’s first team title by two points! 

But wait, that’s not all. 

At exactly 10 am, the gun went off for the Division V boy’s race. The conditions were similar and the team was well-prepared for the race after watching the girls take first place. First to cross the finish line for the boys was Benjamin who finished in fifth place with a new school record at Woodward Park. Following him were Furious and Tarik who finished 11th and 16th place, respectively. Finishing off the team were runners Oliver in 26th place and Dean in 31st place. Matthew and Lachlan were also essential parts of the team as they both had very strong races finishing 65th and 78th respectively.

Both the boys’ and girls’ teams had seven runners but also had a few alternates who were out on the course cheering and supporting each other as they ran. Even though the alternates didn’t get the chance to run, they were all essential to the team’s success. Their commitment and perseverance throughout the season are very admirable. Those alternates were Bella, Molly, Riley, Maria, Allison, Caleb, Aidan, and Chase. 

With all of the challenges and triumphs, this cross-country season has been one to remember. Even without all the trophies and medals, this team has a lot to be proud of. Every single member of the team played an important role in the team’s success and should be very excited about the potential this team has.

Categories: Sports, Student Life

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