Cross Country Culminates Season with Year-End Movie

December 18th, 2013

Congratulations to all the athletes, coaches and families of the Saint Mary’s cross country team for a great season.  Click on the link below to watch the season ending movie.  Enjoy!

** Saint Mary’s Cross Country Movie (2013) **


Boys Score Big Win @ NCS Championships!  Girls Finish An Oh-So-Close 2nd

November 23rd, 2013

Billed as the “Meet of Champions”, the North Coast Section Cross Country Championships bring together the best North Coast Section schools for a single meet to determine overall individual champions, a team champion, and to award a few teams a coveted invitation to compete at the California State Championships next week in Clovis.  On Saturday, both Panther boys and girls teams seized their opportunity and out-ran practically all of their competitors to finish first and second, respectively.

For the past 10 years, no team has dominated the division four race like the Panthers… and this year would be no exception.  Seeking their 5th title in 8 years, the boys team, led by All-NCS 1st team members Josh Dull and Jovani Barajs, posted a dominant 22 point win over 2nd place San Rafael and 3rd place Piner (Santa Rosa) high school.  After the race, exuberance shined on the faces of the victorious Panthers.  “After all the hard work we’ve put in this year, I knew we could win,” said 4th place finisher Josh Dull.  “These races are never easy.  Teams work towards this race all year and upsets happen all the time, but I knew our team would come through.  All week we talked about how we wanted to run and today we did it.”

Joining Josh on the All-NCS team was Jovani Barajas (7th overall)… with Nabai Habtemariam (13th) not far behind.  Junior Mickey Tessema was 4th for Saint Mary’s, covering the 3.0 mile course in 16:41, while senior Jon DeLeon recorded a personal best on the Hayward High course with his 16:59 clocking.  Junior Diego Jara and senior Stephen Giuntini finished 6th and 7th respectively for the victorious Panthers.

The girls race was, as predicted, a nail-biter.  Pre-race prognosticators could not separate the top three teams: Arcata, Piedmont and Saint Mary’s.  All three were having amazing seasons and all three had enough talent and speed to claim the top prize.  In the end, the Panthers, led by 2nd place finisher Spencer Moore and 8th place finisher Chloe Jenkins, fell a scant 6 points short of the title… losing 43-49 to a talented Arcata group.  Despite the narrow lose, the girls ran a great race.  After Spencer and Chloe, sophomore Ella Hymel and freshman Julia English ran gutsy races in their first-ever NCS meet… moving up throughout the race to eventually finish 10th and 13th overall.   Junior Josie Smale capped the scoring for the Panthers, with fellow junior Isabel Havens and senior Mischa Vernon-Wyatt placing 6th and 7th for the team.

After the race, head coach Denis Mohun shared his thoughts on the race.  “Today’s race was bittersweet.  I’m proud of the effort the girls showed.  They all poured their hearts into the race.  However, to come that close and not walk away with the win is tough.  Give Arcata credit, they are the defending state runner-ups and are battle-tested which is why beating them today would have been great.  Fortunately, we still have the state race to see if we can close the gap.  I’m sure our girls are looking forward to it.”

Indeed, both teams are looking forward to the State Championships this coming Saturday in Fresno.  After having accomplished so much this season, competing against the best from around the Golden State seems a fitting way for the Panthers to end the 2013 season.  Good luck to all the runners this coming weekend!


Girls Varsity Capture 7th Straight League Title; Boys 2nd

November 10th, 2013


   The Varsity girls, led by individual champion Spencer Moore, captured their 7th straight league championship.  5 Panther runners finished among the top 9 runners.  The JV Girls also won their 7th straight league championship with sophomore Miriam Raffel-Smith winning the individual championship. 


The Varsity boys, unfortunately, lost the league championship to defending State V champion St. Joseph’s – Alameda.  Seniors Jovani Barajas and Nabai Habtemariam picked up 1st team All- League honors with their performances.  The F/S boys race was won by freshman Owen Woo… while the JV Boys race was won by junior Arlo Rudy. 



Full results are posted on the schedule and results page. —————————————————————————————-

Spencer Moore featured on “Athlete’s Corner”

November 3rd, 2013











Check out this week’s featured athlete, senior Spencer Moore,  on the “Athlete’s Corner” page.


Girls Clinch 7th Straight League Championship!

October 23rd

Many would agree that labeling a team a “dynasty” is over-done and cliché.  However, when a team wins 70 straight league contests and 7 straight league championships… the title maybe fitting.  Thus, the word “dynasty” was heard more than once at Point Pinole Regional Park yesterday when describing the Saint Mary’s girl’s varsity team.  After thoroughly dominating teams from Hercules, Pinole Valley and St. Patrick’s, the girls ran their league record to 10-0 and clinched, again, another league championship.

Per usual, the Panther brigade was led by All-State senior Spencer Moore and was followed by rapidly rising sophomore Ella Hymel (2nd), the always reliable Chloe Jenkins (3rd), as well as Mischa Vernon Wyatt (recently featured on “Athlete’s Profile”) and Julia English (4th and 5th respectively).   Next were a cavalcade of runners: Josie Smale (6th), Isabel Havens (9th), Miriam Raffel-Smith (11th), Maddy Woelffer (12th), Amanda Keith (13th), Taryn Gallagher (14th) and Maya Hymel (15th).  In all, the Panthers captured 12 of the first 15 places against runners from 3 other schools.  It was, quite obviously, a league championship that was punctuated with a flourish!

The varsity boys, meanwhile, were equally as dominate on this day.  Their first 6 runners swept the first 6 places… and they placed 9 runners in the top 12 while scoring a perfect 15 points against the three TCAL schools.

Both junior varsity teams were victorious in their final league competition.  The girls had the top 4 finishers (Avi Perteete, Giauna Nu’man, Noelle Shaw, and Anna Barcellos)… 11 of the top 12.. and 13 of the top 15 to, like their varsity counterparts, dominate the competition.  Sophomores Carina Upshaw and Salome Ragot… junior Antoinette Ronguillo, and seniors Barbara Montano and Taylor Kee (running in their final TCAL league meet) ran especially good races according to coach Kim Pacatte.

“Barbara and Taylor ran almost a minute faster than they did a couple of weeks ago on this course.  I love the way those seniors came out today in their final league meet.  I’m proud of them both.”

The JV Boys, seemingly inspired by the momentum of the day, had the top 5 finishers and 11 of the first 13 to post three wins.  Senior Marcus Cornelius won the race, followed closely by freshmen Donye Green and Jared Flint.  Sophomore Reilly Keith trailed closely behind, as did freshman Carlos Vasquez-Harrison.  Freshman Brandon McWilliams (8th) also had a nice race according to coach Jay Lawson.

Next up for the Panthers is the TCAL league championship race, back at Point Pinole Regional Park, on Thursday, November 7th.  This will be the final race for all JV runners.   Race times are forthcoming.  Come out and support the Panthers in what will be, for many, their final race of the 2013 season!


Seniors Mischa Vernon-Wyatt and Jon DeLeon featured on “Athlete’s Corner”

October 21st, 2013

Check out this week’s featured athletes, seniors Mischa Vernon-Wyatt & Jon DeLeon on the “Athlete’s Corner” page.


Panthers Run By Albany, Kennedy, DeAnza

October 17th, 2013


The varsity cross country teams continued their TCAL league seasons with wins over local rival Albany… as well as Kennedy and DeAnza.  The meet featured nearly 150 athletes and was run at shady Kennedy Grove Park in El Sobrante.

   The Varsity Girls headlines the meet, flexing their top-ranked league and NCS muscles while cruising to a relatively easy win.  Spencer Moore paced the Panthers, while lla Hymel, Mischa Vernon-Wyatt and Julia English all finished ahead of the first Albany runner.  Chloe Jenkins finished the scoring for the undefeated, 7 -0 Panthers.  Sophomore Miriam Raffel-Smith and junior Isabel Havens also ran fine races for their team.

  Like the girls, the boys also scored three wins on Thursday.  Unlike the girls, their victories were hard-fought and anything but convincing.  “Thanks to the leadership and grit of seniors Jovani Barajas and Nabai Habtemariam, we were fortunate to get the win over Albany,” said coach Jeff Rogers.  “Those two saved us.” 

  Indeed, Albany placed 3 runners in the top 6 and their 5th runner finished ahead of the Saint Mary’s 5th.  Still, the advantage that placing 1st and 2nd in a race was too big to overcome and allowed the Panthers to claim victory.   

   Unfortunately, both JV teams suffered their first losses of the season.  In the girls race, sophomores Taryn Gallagher and Maya Hymel ran tough races, but could only manage 3rd and 4th… behind two Albany runners.   Freshman Avi Perteete, sophomore Gianna Nu’man, Ariana Corwin, and Victoria Mariolle were among the Panthers whose efforts were commended by coach Kim Pacatte.

    Likewise, the JV Boys race was won by Panther freshman Owen Woo, and solid races were run by Donye Green and Jared Flint, yet the Cougars had a bit more fire-power in defeating the Panthers.

   The team scores and individual results can be found on the “schedule and results” page. Up next for the Panthers is the final TCAL meet on Wednesday, October 23rd against St. Patrick’s, Hercules and Pinole Valley at Point Pinole Regional Park.  Good Luck to all the Panthers in their final league meet!


Spencer Moore Wins Clovis Invitational, Leads Panthers

October 12th, 2013

The Clovis Invitational is the biggest, most competitive meet in Central California.  More than 40 state-ranked teams arrived on Saturday, hoping to test themselves and maybe get a state meet preview on this, the site of the state championships in late November. 

    Comfortable temperatures and fast competition greeted the Panthers for the girls 8:10 am start.  Spencer Moore, the defending Clovis Invitational champion, successfully defended her individual title with an exciting, crowd-pleasing, come-from-behind victory over Lauren Maurer from Crean Luthern High School (Southern California).  Chloe Jenkins was the next Saint Mary’s runner in, followed by Ella Hymel.  Freshman Julia English and junior Joise Smale finished the scoring for the Panthers.  As a team, the Panthers finished 6th overall… 2nd among Division IV teams.  

            In the girls junior varsity race, seniors Lianne McKinney and Amanda Keith led the way, followed by sophomore Taryn Gallagher and senior Maddy Woelffer.   Miriam Raffel-Smith and senior Barbara Montano placed 5th and 6th in the race for the Panthers.

            Afterwards, coach Denis Mohun complimented the girls effort and especially praised Spencer’s race.  “Obviously it’s easy to point out Spencer as a highlight since she won the race.  Still, she’s won a lot of races in her time with us.. but never quite like this one.  After being passed like she was, it takes a lot to find the strength to come back.  Her ‘refuse to lose” attitude will, I hope, be an example to all the runners on our team.”

            With Spencer’s gallant effort fresh in their minds, the boys took to the course and ran their best race of the season.  Senior Jovani Barajas became the 5th fastest Panther ever on the venerable 5K Woodward Park course, running a quick 16:24 to place 18th.  Senior Josh Dull recorded his lifetime best (16:42) while finishing 2nd on the team, followed by yet another sub-17:00 race for senior Nabai Habtemariam.  Junior Mickey Tessema (17:13) and senior Jon DeLeon (17:17) finished the scoring for the Panthers.  Overall, the boys team time of 1:24:26 was 3 minutes faster than their team time of a year ago.  Certainly a great effort by the section’s #1 ranked team.


   The final race of the day for the Panthers was the JV Boys race.  In a mild surprise, sophomore Faraz Khan broke away from his Panther teammates mid-way through the race and finished in a very respectable 18:05 to lead the team.  Stephen Giuntini and Zach Wilkinson were next, followed by freshman Owen Woo…. who made his inaugural trip to Clovis.  Full results can be found on the “schedule and results” page.

    Next up is the penultimate BSAL league meet on Thursday at Kennedy Grove Park against league rival Albany. The first race begins at 3:30.  Come out and support the Panthers!


Panthers Take 3 of 4 races from Highly Touted St. Joseph’s

October 10th, 2013

  On Thursday, the Panthers journeyed to Point Pinole Regional Park for a mid-season showdown with TCAL rival St. Joseph’s – Alameda and John Swett.  Both junior varsity teams scored convincing wins, as did the varsity girls.  St. Joseph’s, the boys Division V state champions a year ago, proved a bit too much for the Panthers varsity boys team who, despite the loss, “ran tough” according to coach Jeff Rogers.

    “The only thing I can ask is that the guys give their best effort, which I think they did today.  St. Joe’s has a great team.  There’s no shame in the way we ran today.  They simply beat us,” said coach Rogers.

   Overall, race winners included sophomores Faraz Khan (JV Boys) and Miriam Raffel-Smith (JV Girls).  Freshmen Owen Woo, Donye Green and Avi Perteete… along with sophomores Taryn Gallagher, Gianna Nu’man and Reilly Keith also ran especially well. 

   For the varsity, all-state senior Spencer Moore outpaced the field while covering the 2.95 mile course in 18:31.  Chloe Jenkins, Mischa Vernon-Wyatt, Ella Hymel and Josie Smale all finished 3rd through 6th…. all within a single second of one another.   Jovani Barajas once again led the boys team, narrowly eclipsing the 16:00 minute barrier in finishing in 15:57.  Nabai Habtemariam (16:23), Josh Dull (16:32) and Jon DeLeon (16:44) were the next Panther finishers… followed closely by juniors Mickey Tessema and Arlo Rudy… who both broke 17:00 for the first time this year. 

   The Panthers next meet is on Saturday in Clovis, CA when 28 Panther runners will compete in the highly regarded Clovis Invitational.  Good luck to all the runners this weekend!


Seniors Maddy Woelffer and Jovani Barajas featured on “Athlete’s Corner”

October 7th, 2013




Check out this week’s featured athletes, seniors Maddy Woelffer & Jovani Barajas, on the “Athlete’s Corner” page.


Panthers Run All Over Opponents in TCAL Opener

October 3rd, 2013

            On Thursday, the Saint Mary’s Panthers opened their 2013 league cross country season with a quartet of resounding wins over the El Cerrito and Salesian.  Running on their home course at Tilden Park, the Panthers familiarity and toughness on the steep and rugged hills gave them an advantage that the Gaucho and Pride runners could not match.   By meets end, all Panther teams – junior varsity and varsity boys and girls –  had swept the top spots in their respective races and all teams are now 2-0 to begin the season.

    On the junior varsity level, outstanding runs came from some new faces.  Freshman Owen Woo won his first ever meet wearing a Panther uniform.. finishing the 1.85 mile course in 10:47.   3 of the next 4 finishers for the Panthers were also freshman – Jared Flint (2nd), Donye Green (3rd), and Carlos Vasquez-Harrison (5th) –  opening their Panther careers in fine fashion.   Sophomores Reilly Keith (4th) and Carlos Martin del Campo (8th) also finished among the top ten runners… as did another freshman, Roger Levaux (9th).   Overall, Coach Lawson’s steadily improving group suggests a bright future for the boys program.

   The day was equally as dominant for Coach Pacatte’s group who notched a couple of 30 point wins. Leading the girls were sophomores Maya Hymel and Taryn Kitsch-Gallagher, who finished 1st and 2nd respectively.   Freshman Avi Perteete opened some eyes when she finished 4th overall in 13:10.  After that, the red and white army of runners steadily streamed towards the finish line, placing 9 runners in the top 10 and 16 in the top 19 while flexing their junior varsity muscles.   Like the JV Boys, this group suggests big things are on the horizon in the years to come.

   Both varsity teams also posted convincing wins, each scoring a perfect 15 points in their wins.  In particular, sophomore Faraz Khan and seniors Mischa Vernon-Wyatt and Amanda Keith ran especially good races according to their coaches. 

   Next up for the Panthers  is their 2nd of 4 TCAL meets against rival St. Joe’s – Alameda on Thursday, October 10th

**NOTE:  The meet has been moved from Crab Cove Park in Alameda to Point Pinole Regional Park in Richmond.  The first race features the JV Girls at 3:30.  Come out and support the Panthers!


Panther Harriers Take On… Take Out Top Talent at Stanford

September 28th, 2013

The Stanford Invitational is the biggest, most competitive meet in Northern California.  More than 50 state-ranked teams, along with dozens of teams from Oregon, Washington, Colorado & Nevada arrived on Saturday, hoping to test themselves against one another and to get an idea of how the rest of their season may play out.   For the Panthers, their performances in Southern California last weekend raised their expectation levels, but also raised questions about just how good this group could be.  Saturday’s Stanford Invitational indicated that this collection of runners could, in fact, be very good.   

    Mild temperatures greeted the runners for the start of their 9:00 & 9:25 am races. Fortunately, both teams found the course, race and atmosphere very much to their liking.  For the boys, their 8th place finish was a bit misleading considering the teams in front of them.  One was the defending state runner-up from Division V, two were state medal winners from the state of Washington, and the eventual winner was the California state champion in 2011.   The Panthers defeated all Division IV teams from the NCS… and were the 4th Northern California team overall.  Leading the charge were seniors Jovani Barajas (16:45) and Nabai Habtemariam (16:54)… followed by junior Mickey Tessema (17:29), senior Josh Dull (17:32) and junior Diego Jara (17:34) who was running his inaugural 5K race. 

For the girls, 5 of their first 6 runners on Saturday were underclassmen, indicating that the future is certainly promising.  But, if the future is promising the present is a dream for the girls team right now.  After spending a couple of weeks on the lower end of the top 10 state rankings, the Panthers exploded on Saturday with a huge performance… placing 3rd out of 31 teams while literally blowing away the #1, 5 and 9 ranked teams in the state.  Only perennial powers San Lorenzo Valley (Santa Cruz) and Cheyenne Mountain (Colorado) outpaced the Panthers.  Per usual, Spencer Moore, despite a week long battle with a nasty head cold, led the charge… placing 13th overall in 19:22.  Junior Chloe Jenkins rebounded from a so-so race at Woodbridge with a fine 20:05 on Saturday.  Then, according to coach Denis Mohun, runners 3 – 6 were the keys to the big team effort.  Freshman Julia English (20:09), sophomore Ella Hymel (20:15) and junior Josie Smale (20:27) were “dozens of seconds better than their competitors”, according to Mohun.  “All seven girls ran tough, but those 3 were the keys to our scoring.”  Full results are posted on the “schedule and results” page.

     Congratulations to all the runners on Saturday.  They head into the TCAL season this week full with a lot of momentum and a full head of steam.  Thursdays TCAL meet, against Salesian and El Cerrito, begins at 3:30 pm in the Meadows at Tilden Park.   Come out and support the Panthers!


Panthers Go South For “Friday Night Under The Lights

September 21st, 2013 


On Friday, the Panthers took 18 varsity runners to the much heralded Woodbridge Invitational in Costa Mesa, CA.  The meet, sponsored by Adidas,  is typical in that it features much of the top talent from Southern California.   However, the meet is an absolute anomaly because it is run at night – the course being partially lit but also partially shaded by the night’s sky.  The 9:00pm start time proved to be an excellent motivator for the Panthers, who came away with fast times and a lot of optimism about the season in front of them.

   Spencer Moore, no stranger to big events,  proved once again that big competition brings out the best in her.  Running in the lead pack for the entire race Spencer finished 3rd overall in a lifetime best 17:45 for 3 miles.  Her full-size smile after the race indicated her satisfaction.  Sophomore Ella Hymel shared Spencer’s elation after posting a very quick 18:48 and finishing 15th overall.  Mischa Vernon-Wyatt, in her first 3 mile race ever, blew away her own pre-race expectations in finishing 29th at 19:07.  Chloe Jenkins, Josie Smale and freshman Julia English all ran within 5 seconds of each other… each breaking the vaunted 20:00 barrier.. as did junior Izzy Havens (19:57).  The final placers for the lady Panthers were sophomore Miriam Raffel-Smith (20:50), followed by seniors Lianne McKinney (21:07), Amanda Keith (21:11), Maddy Woelffer (21:25) and Caitlin Kloess (22:59).  As a team, the girls placed 4th in their race, behind only a select group of teams that compete in Division III.  “As a group, I think we ran well,” said head coach Denis Mohun.  “We got edged out by a few points to some bigger schools, but we ran fast and we beat all the Division IV teams.  I think we can take some pride in that.” 

    The varsity boys, now the 9th ranked team in Division IV in California, entered the meet short-handed…. running without 3 of its top 7 runners.  Still, the boys ran valiantly and posted some incredibly quick times.  Senior Jovani Barajas became the 5th person in school history to run under 16:00 minutes by running 15:48, placing 10th overall.  Not far behind was teammate Nabai Habtemariam, whose run at sub-16:00 fell just :02 short as he clocked 16:01.  Jon DeLeon PR’d by nearly :40 seconds for a 3 mile course, running 16:35, while junior Zach Wilkinson took a run at a sub-17:00 time only to finish :07 off the pace in finishing in 17:06.  Overall, the boys finished 6th out of 22 teams.

    In all, Friday’s meet was an eye-opening experience for all of the Panther runners.  High-level competition, intensity and fast times are plentiful in Southern California… with Woodbridge being a testament.  Coach Mohun may have summed it up best when, after the race he quipped, “You can measure your championship meddle down here in Southern California.   These races aren’t for the meek or shy.”  Boldly then, the Panthers return to practice on Monday with their eyes opened and their teeth sharpened…. far from meek or shy. 

**Pictures from Woodbridge and all the Panther Cross Country Meets can be viewed at Shutterfly!


Panthers Host Corpus Christi For A Day Of Running

September 18th, 2013

On Wednesday, September 18t, members of the Saint Mary’s High School Varsity Cross Country team shared an afternoon of running with 64 members of the Corpus Christi cross country team.  While the experience is meant to teach. instruct and model all the elements of proper cross country running, the inextricable excitement and unabashed laughter exuded by the young and younger turn the event into an unquestionable delight for both teams.  Then, as has become tradition, the 1½ hour practice  finished with Panther Cross Country t-shirts, socks, sweatshirts and hats being raffled to the eager Comets.   A big thank you goes out to all the youthful runners, both varsity boys’ and girls’ teams, and Corpus Christi head coach Mary Tarczynski.  Good luck to the Comets this season! 


Panthers Tackle Tough Ed Sias Invitational

September 14th, 2013


On Saturday, the Panthers traveled to Hidden Lakes Park in Martinez for the annual Ed Sias Invitational.  The meet usually plays host to many of the elite cross country teams from around Northern California. This year’s meet followed suit, as perennial powerhouses Granada, De La Salle, Maria Carrillo, Miramonte, Bishop O’Dowd and host Campolindo were among the 40 schools competing on the rolling, hilly course.  With such potent competition and this, the inaugural meet of the year, the races certainly tested the will and fortitude of all the runners. “Today was a real test for our team,” said coach Kim Pacatte.  “To open the season against such high-level talent is not easy, especially for some of the younger runners.  Still, our team competed hard and had some very good performances.  As a coaching staff, we were very pleased.”

    Highlighting the day for the Panthers were a quintet of girl top 10 medalists… led by senior Spencer Moore’s 2nd place finish in the girls varsity – small schools race.    “Spencer competed very well today,” said girl’s head coach Denis Mohun.  “Spencer had a very good summer of training and it was good for her to finally get a race in.  I expect she’ll be able to use this race as a springboard into the season.”  

   Three other girls took home medals as a result of their efforts.  Freshman Julia English (13:23), in her first high school race, finished 3rd in the JV girls race… 2 seconds ahead of senior Mischa Vernon-Wyatt who was running her first-ever cross country race.  Junior Josie Smale (13:55) crossed the finish line 3 spots behind Mischa to finish 7th.  Miriam Raffel-Smith (14:34), Isabel Havens (13:54), Maya Hymel (14:46) and Taryn Gallagher (14:48) all ran good races according to coach Mohun. 

     The boys, impressive in their own right, had a number of impressive performances and award-winners.  Senior Jovani Barajas (10:42) was the fastest Panthers of the day, finishing 18th in the boys varsity race.  Fellow senior Nabai Habtemariam (10:50) and juniors Mickey Tessema (11:02) and Diego Jara (11:16) ran behind Jovani and provided the scoring punch to earn the Panthers a 6th place team finish. 

    A pair of Panthers… junior Arlo Rudy (11:26) and freshman Owen Woo (12:35), scored a couple of 12th place finishes in the JV and Freshman boys races, respectively. Teammate Zach Wilkinson (despite running most of the race with just one shoe!) was behind Arlo in the JV Boys race, running 11:51.  Sophomore Faraz Khan also ran tough, breaking the 12-minute mark, while finishing in 11:58. 

   In short, the Panthers emerged from this day having sweated, struggled and fought their way to dozens of fine times and many more verbal accolades from their coaches and families.  “All ever ask of the runners is to give their best effort,” said coach Mohun.  “Some kids made some strategic errors today… going out too hard or too easy.  Some fell, some lost their shoe, some started their finishing kick too late…. but I didn’t see anyone not giving it their all.  That’s a great way to kick off the season.

    Next up for the Panthers is the Woodbridge Invitational on September 20th at Estancia High School in Costa Mesa, CA.    The meet is a talent-packed affair that will feature many of the top-ranked teams in California. Good Luck to the Panthers as they take on the Golden State’s best!


15th Annual Time Trial Proves the Race Truly Lies Within

September 9th, 2013

Each year, Saint Mary’s cross-country athletes are timed running a 1.85 miles course, but the process displays much more than simply pace.  On September 9th, the Panthers proved just this as they battled against the blazing sun, a few nasty hills, and the clock.  In essence, the team, veterans and novices alike, demonstrated their potential, drive, competitive spirits, and pure guts. They pushed themselves further than they ever thought possible, and it is clear that the hard work paid off. 

As always, some performances stood out among the rest.  On the boys’ side, veteran runners Jovani Barajas and Nabai Habtemarian attested to the importance of summer training.  Both runners looked at ease as they navigated the Tilden course, leading the pack with impressive times of 10:21 and 10:25.  Their performances earned them bragging rights as members of the Top Ten Fastest Senior Boys in Saint Mary’s Time Trial history.  Freshman Owen Woo clearly had something to prove to his coaches and teammates, recording the 8th fastest time ever run by a freshman boy and earning himself an Athlete of the Week t-shirt.  His determination and positive spirit makes us eager to see his progress over the season; he is one to look out for.  Another senior, Josh Dull, along with teammate Mickey Tessema also cracked the top ten all-time with their performances.   Other notable performances, according to the coaching staff, were recorded by sophomore Reilly Keith, and freshmen Donye Green, Carlos Vasquez-Harrison and Roger Levaux.

Spencer Moore is no novice to the Tilden Time Trial and intense competition.  Moore’s remarkable time of 12:12 snags her the elite title of Second Fastest Senior Girl in Time Trial History.  The all-star runner was chased by sophomore Ella Hymel, who smashed her last year’s time by nearly 2 minutes (12:55 and 5th fastest sophomore).  Hymel looked confident and tough, never letting the terrain and competition cause any doubts in her impressive abilities. Senior and newcomer Mischa Vernon-Wyatt opened her season in a BIG way, capturing a notable time of 13:09 and a membership to the Top Ten Fastest Senior Girls in history (6th fastest). Another freshman, Julia English, earned Athlete of the Week and Third Fastest Freshman in history with her intensity and grit. The way English effortlessly takes direction and applies instruction to her running displays her potential to be an elite athlete.  Two other newcomers, sophomores Miriam Raffel-Smith and Taryn Kisch-Gallagher also welcomed themselves to the team in fine fashion with their efforts.

With such outstanding performances, the Panthers are prepared to make another run at TCAL and section titles the season. Coach Rogers said it best: “The kids didn’t just prove their talents, dedication, and strength to their coaches and teammates, they proved it to themselves. It’s clear that they left it all on the course, and that’s exactly what we asked for.”      


2013 Panthers Enter Season Experienced and Highly Touted

August 28th, 2013

Both the defending TCAL Champion girls and pre-season #1 NCS ranked boys cross country teams recently finalized their schedules for the 2013 season. Head coaches Denis Mohun and Jeff Rogers have the Panthers slated for a full season of competitive racing in preparation for their run at league, section and state accolades. With virtually every major contributor back from last year’s squads, both Panthers teams seemed primed to improve upon last year’s solid results.

 “I am very optimistic about the coming season,” said Mohun, whose girls rolled through TCAL opponents quite impressively in 2012.  “Even though we graduated some great runners, we bring back a strong returning cast from last year’s championship teams. Our newcomers are also fitting right in and are going to make an immediate impact.”

Headlining this year’s crew will be senior Spencer Moore After a very productive summer, look for the 3 time state meet medalist to add even more hardware to her already impressive collection. Juniors Chloe Jenkins and Josie Smale figure to provide the Panthers with a very solid 2-3 punch, while seniors Amanda Keith, Maddy Woelffer, Caitlin Kloess and Lianne McKinney return with plenty of experience. Add to that the expected contributions from sophomores Ella Hymel and Ella May as well as junior Isabel Havens and newcomer Mischa Vernon-Wyatt… and the result is enough firepower to make the Panthers the pre-season #9 ranked Division IV team in California.

“The boys squad is a group that is battle-tested and eager to re-assert themselves amongst the Division IV elites,” says coach Jeff Rogers.  “We return 5 of our tops 7 runners from a year ago plus add some guys who were injured and some talented new faces.   Add to that the productive summer we’ve had and it there seems to be no good reason why we shouldn’t be challenging for the section championship.”  

Amongst the returners, seniors Jovani Barajas and Nabai Habtemariam seem to have emerged from the summer in the best shape.   Look for both of them to make a run at all-league and possibly all-section honors.   Josh Dull is the fastest returner on paper, while Stephen Giuntini’s experience and Jon DeLeon’s determination suggest all three seniors could go well this year.  Add a quartet of juniors: Mickey Tessema, Diego Jara, Arlo Rudy and Zach Wilkinson to the fray and their #1 pre-season ranking begins to make sense.

The Panthers begin the season with their 15th annual time trial at Tilden Park on Monday, September 9th.   After a Saturday at Hidden Lakes Park in the Ed Sias Invitational on September 14th, the varsity teams travel to Southern California (Newport Beach) for the much-anticipated and highly competitive Woodbridge Invitational.   After the Stanford Invitational on the 28th, the Panthers begin league the TCAL league season by hosting Salesian and El Cerrito on October 3rd at Tilden Park.  After that, October shows a mix of Saturday invitationals and Thursday league meets, culminating with league championship meet in early November.  Once again, Hayward High School hosts the NCS Meet of Champions while the state championships will be run at historic Woodward Park in Clovis. 

As usual, the runners themselves, along with most cross country prognosticators, expect the Panthers to figure prominently in these final two meets.   Good luck to all the runners in this 2013 season!