On Saturday the XC teams competed at the Bronco Roundup at Kit Carson Park in Escondido. This early-season meet has become more and more competitive as it usually attracts many of San Diego’s top XC programs. Only a handful of smaller schools like LJCDS participate in the meet, most from the Coastal Conference. We always appreciate this race as it is a great learning opportunity for new and experienced runners alike. After a winding and flat first mile, runners must tackle a significant hill before returning to the flats for a sprint finish. It’s always hot and dusty at Kit Carson, making the 2-mile course more challenging.
The D-2 (smaller schools) girls varsity was our first race of the day. Jaden McDaniel earned her 2nd medal in as many weeks in finishing 19th in 13:39. Jaden also pulled off the difficult feat of running her 2ndmile (6:44) faster than her first (6:55). Ilaria Comfort was close behind in 21st and 13:43 in an evenly paced effort. Ilaria improved by a few seconds and 10 spots over last year. Grace Karmazin-Schneider was our 3rd finisher in 14:29, faster than last year by 1:43. Jenna Hernandez was next, finishing in 15:16, and Vivian Li completed the girls’ effort with her 17:27 effort in her 2nd-ever XC race. Freshman Sarah Lindlan competed in the 9th/Novice race a little later in the morning and earned a medal while finishing 28th in 17:02.
The boys squad was spread out among three D-2 races with the varsity running first. Tian Zhau improved by 27 seconds and 23 spots in finishing 30th in 11:15. The difference for Tian was his effort on the hill and the 2nd mile, showing how he is a stronger runner this year. A much-improved sophomore squad forms the heart of the varsity this year. Paul Criado and Eisa Al Mazrouei finished a second apart last year and did the same this year, but they both finished 71 seconds faster than last year. Paul crossed the line in 12:21, Eisa in 12:22. Jake Needle also showed big improvement; his 12:47 was 85 seconds faster than last year. Finally, Aidan Ideker with his 13:12 shaved 15 seconds off last year’s time. Juniors RJ Parry and Andrew Kuhn were added to the varsity due to their strong and consistent training. RJ, in only his 2nd race, finished in 13:26. He and Andrew were side by side until the last 150 yards, when Andrew had to stop to throw up. This isn’t uncommon in XC. Andrew showed his toughness when he resumed racing and sprinted to the finish in 13:46.
In the 9th/Novice race, freshman John Guckian was our top finisher in 13:34 and 42nd place. Freshman Erik Yang continues to show improvement and finished in 15:06. Sophomore Spencer Heaton joined the team a little late and is still adjusting to the training. This was his first race and he finished in 15:43.
The boys JV was the last race of the morning. Sophomore David Thorpe was our first finisher in 13:34 and 48th. This was almost two minutes faster than last year’s effort. Sophomore Sam Geddes, competing in his first race, went out fast in 6:28, but couldn’t hold this pace and finished in 14:13. Alex Price also went out fast in 6:26, but struggled with the 2nd mile and crossed the line in 14:57. Jacob Walter finished in 15:25, while Walter Chen, competing in his 1st race this season due to an early-season injury, finished in 15:59.
The team’s efforts were solid at the Bronco. Our new runners are learning how to pace and how to race and our experienced runners are showing improvement. We had several runners unable to compete due to minor injuries and illnesses; we’re hoping to get healthy before our next meet, the Mt. Carmel Invitational on September 21st.