As the Women’s Cross Country Team sprinted along the final stretch of California State Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno they proved to the rest of the state that Piedmont will be a strong contender in the next four years.
The team qualified for the California State Championships or CIF on Nov. 17. This set both the women’s entire team and individuals on the men’s team to compete at CIF, with senior Julian Frost and sophomore Graham Dean shooting for top ten finishes and runners from the women’s team looking to beat old rivals and place better than at NCS.
Ranked 21st going in to State, Piedmont’s girls were out for blood, beating rival St. Mary’s in overall points in an upset from NCS standings. The girls set personal records across the board, leading to their overall rank of second among NCS Division-IV teams and ninth among D-IV teams across the state.
With three freshmen, the girls have a strong foundation from which to build future teams, freshmen runner Sophie Reynolds said.
“My favorite part was definitely the team enthusiasm and spirit surrounding the whole season, but most importantly State.” Reynolds said
Senior Julian Frost was another key runner for Piedmont, competing individually on the course, he placed 11th in the state with a time of 15:57, Frost brought home the second fastest state time in the history of PHS. Initially ranked 25th, Frost held with his competitors by making up 14 places between NCS and CIF.
He pointed out his teammate, sophomore Graham Dean, said “[Dean] took 14th at NCS to secure himself an individual spot at state with me. The race was great experience for him and I have no doubt that he will continue to surprise and impress us for the next two years.”
Coach Chris Thayer thought that his team’s performance at CIF was excellent; their determination really came through as they competed with 24 other top ranked schools. He said, “ My goals going into the meet were to get top ten, and they were ninth. I think that they ran really well and that they felt that too, because it’s important to feel like you gave it your all.”
He also wanted to beat rivals, St. Mary’s, but made sure to keep it private in the fear that it might distract his runners. He said, “St. Mary’s had beaten us at NCS, so when our team beat them in points it was huge for everyone.”
“It was such an awesome experience going to state because it’s not something that happens often. I got to bond with my teammates even more than before and got a chance to run against incredible runners.” Junior Sophie McCracken said. She agreed with Reynolds, feeling that the team’s spirit and enthusiasm were key elements of their success this year.
McCracken felt that cross-country was a special chance to bond with people who she didn’t normally spend time with, creating friendships she was thankful for. Throughout the entire season and at State, Piedmont demonstrated the women’s cross-country team has a strong foundation and will continue to thrive for years to come.