Panthers Wrap-Up 2016 Season @ MOC

November 19th, 2016

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The 2016 cross country season wrapped up on Saturday as the Panthers competed at the North Coast Section Meet of Champions.  While the boys team could only manage a 16th place finish and the girls 13th, individually the race was pleasing to the coaching staff.

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“We knew coming in that we were not amongst the top teams vying for a state meet birth,” said girls head coach Denis Mohun.  “But we did hope and expect our kids to run well which they did.”

 Individually, Pomona-Pitzer bound senior Owen Woo was the top Panther of the day.  After spending most of the race Screen Shot 2016-11-19 at 3.31.30 PMsquarely in the top 10, Owen wound up finishing 16th overall in 16:08.  Junior Sasha Polataev was second in… running a PR 17:29.  Sophomore teammate Zander Lieske was a mere :02 seconds behind.. also running a PR (17:31).  Max Emerling (18:32) and Ben Jaffe (18:40) rounded out the scoring for the Panthers…. with Nic Lauxman next in at 18:51.  Senior Jared Flint finished his Saint Mary’s career in 19:05. 

 For the girls, senior Julia English completed a fine Panther career by once again leading the girls squad… placing 29th overall.  Junior Genevieve Wiley, as has been the case all season long, was close behind in 35th.  Freshman Hannah Cornejo, who earned a surprise entry into the varsity race, showed her potential by finishing 3rd on the team in 22:14.  Sophomore Jasmine Newson was next… followed by freshman Mila Sutphin in 23:37. 

 Screen Shot 2016-11-19 at 3.24.37 PM “In all, we had to call a lot of underclassmen up from the junior varsity this year,” reminded coach Mohun.  “So considering their relative inexperience, they did a great job.  We hope that this exposure will fuel their fire to want to train, get better, and be ready to compete next year.  We’ll see.”

 Congratulations to all the Panther teams for a fine 2016 cross country season!


Panthers Wrap up TCAL Season With Another JV Girls Championship!

November 4th, 2016

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The 2016 TCAL cross country wrapped up for the Panthers on Thursday with yet another JV Girls team championship.  While the statisticians debated over the number of consecutive years the JV program has claimed this prize, everyone agreed that this year’s team carried the torch in fine fashion!  Leading the JV team was freshman Lauren Goode… whose 3rd place overall finish was tops for the Panthers.  Joining Lauren as a 1st team All-League selection were Anya Van Noord (4th overall), Jazmine Newson (6th) and Wiona Tan (7th).  Running their way onto the 2nd team were a pair of freshmen… Hannah Cornejo and Yasmeen Zamil. 

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“Overall, our team seemed to peaking at just the right time,” said coach Kim Pacatte.  “I really liked the way some of our older, more experienced girls help prepare the younger runners.  I think our championship today, from top to bottom, was truly a team effort.” 

  The Varsity Girls had their hands full on Thursday as they faced 2016 powers Albany and El Cerrito.  Despite strong runs from the entire team, in the end it was the Gauchos and Cougars that prevailed… with the Panthers a close 3rd.  Senior Julia English ran her final TCAL championship as the top Panther finisher… placing 3rd overall and garnering ALL-TCAL Screen Shot 2016-11-05 at 1.25.29 PMhonors.  Junior Genevieve Wiley placed 6th to join Julia… while senior Mia Young continued her meteoric rise by placing 10th overall and earning an All-TCAL 2nd team medal.  Junior Katie Woelffer (15th) and senior Gillian Barry-Smith (20th) rounded out the scoring for the Panthers.

   The Varsity Boys, running without their #4 runner – out due to illness, still managed to finish 3rd overall and a scant 1 point out of 2nd.  They were led, as they have been all season, by senior captain and Pomona-Pitzer bound Owen Woo.  Owen’s 16:09 2nd place finish was just behind the overall winner, Ryan Cutter from Hercules…. and a dominant :37 seconds ahead of the 3rd place finisher. 

 “Owen is really coming on to close this season,” quipped long-time coach Jeff Rogers.  “The speed training we started a couple of weeks ago is taking effect and it would not surprise me to see Owen go a lot faster at our NCS Meet of Champions in two weeks.”

After Owen, surging sophomore Zander Lieske ran his best race of the year to finish with a 2nd team medal… as did junior Sasha Poletaev (14th).  Junior Ben Jaffe, senior Jared Flint and sophomore Nic Lauxman also turned in fine performances for the Panthers.

Screen Shot 2016-11-05 at 1.22.00 PMLastly, coach Craig Sutphin’s JV Boys team ran in the freshman-sophomore race… placing 2nd overall to a fine Albany team.  Freshman Zach Deering-Haddix showed his mettle… finishing 3rd overall in a tightly contested race.  Sophomore teammate Matthew Rosenberg’s closing kick got him onto the all-league 1st team… while fellow sophomore Coby Fan’s season wrapped up with a 2nd team all-league medal.   Overall, the team was “vastly improved” according to coach Sutphin.. with future expectations rising from this young group.

  Next up for the varsity teams is the North Coast Section Meet of Champions, to be held on November 19th at Hayward High School.  MOC will determine the teams and individual runners that will compete at the California State Championships the following Saturday.  Good luck to all the Panthers runners at MOC!


Panthers Gearing Up For TCAL Finals

October 23rd, 2016

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After wrapping up their TCAL regular season with convincing wins over John Swett, the Panthers are now readying themselves for the TCAL league championship meet to be held on Thursday, November 3rd at Point Pinole Regional Park. 

    The varsity boys team heads into the league finals ranked 2nd, behind league-leader Albany.   They’re led by all-league performer Owen Woo, whose season thus far has marked him as one of the top division 4 runners and a certain contender for an individual state meet birth.  Along with Owen, junior Sasha Poletaev and sophomore Zander Lieske have had solid seasons and are hoping to garner individual medals at the TCAL finals.

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   The varsity girls enter the league championships ranked third, behind front-runner El Cerrito and Albany.  The girls top runner this season has been senior captain Julia English.. although junior Genevieve Wiley is certainly on the rise and not far behind.  Both girls had solid races at the Mariner Invitational on October 15th, suggesting that they could be ready to shake up the top of the TCAL standings.  Juniors Katie Woelffer and Lupe Saldana… along with seniors Gillian Barry-Smith and Mia Young will fill out the squad that runs at Point Pinole. 

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The JV boys enter the meet on a 4 meet winning streak, having not lost since a mid-season hiccup to rival Hercules.  Coach Sutphin’s squad is much improved, with Zach Deering-Haddix continuing to have a fine freshman campaign.  Zach should be amongst the top runners in the JV race.

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Finally, coach Kim Pacatte’s JV girls team continues to be the class of the league.  They are, once again, undefeated in league.  In fact, the JV girls team has yet to experience a loss under the tutelage of coach Pacatte.  Their undefeated streak is at 6 years and counting!  They are led by a cavalcade of runners… including Anya Van Noord, Winona Tan, Lauren Goode, Mila Sutphin, Blaze Goldstein, Hannah Cornejo and Samantha Uloa.  Look for the JV girls to continue their dominance on November 3rd.


Panthers Run By El Cerrito & Salesian in Penultimate TCAL Meet

October 13th, 2016

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Buoyed by wins from the JV Boys, JV Girls and Varsity Boys, the Panthers solidified their 2nd place standing in their next-to-last TCAL meet of the year.  The Panthers dominated the individual races… with seniors Owen Woo and Julia English winning the varsity races and Coby Fan and Mia Young winning the JV competitions. 

“Our runners are definitely improving,” contended JV girls coach Kim Pacatte.  “Each week they get faster and faster.  As a group, I think today was the fastest we’ve run all season.” 

  Following Owen in the varsity boys race was junior Sasha Poletaev (3rd overall) and rapidly-improving sophomore Zander Lieske (4th).  Throw in fellow sophomores Nic Lauxman and Max Emerling’s 7th  and 8th place finishes and the varsity boys cruised to a 10 point win over the Gauchos. 

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The JV Boys posted a trio of wins, with sophomore Coby Fan winning the 1st race of his young career.  Fellow 10th graders Matthew Rosenberg and Flynn Cooper finished 4th and 7th overall… with Joseph Herbert, Trevor Cardoza and Matthew Barcellos close behind. 

 The JV Girls remained undefeated in the league, completely dominating yet another TCAL competition.  9 of the first 10 runners were Panthers.. with Katie Woelffer running just behind Mia and Anya Van Noord, Jazmine Newson and Lauren Goode not far behind Katie.  In all, Ms. Pacatte’s group continues to be the class of the league.

 Next up for the Panthers is the Mariner Invitational on Saturday at Hayward High School.  First race will be the Frosh-Soph boys at 9:20.  Good luck to all the Panther runners this weekend.


Panthers Running in 2nd Half Way Through TCAL Season

October 10th, 2016

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 Half-way through the 2016 TCAL season, both varsity boys and varsity girls teams are currently in 2nd place behind league-leader Albany.  The Panthers opened the league season on September 29th at Cesar Chavez Park in Berkeley with 2 wins against Kennedy and DeAnza while falling to the Cougars from Albany.  Senior Julia English was the top Panther finisher on the girls side… with junior Sasha Polataev finishing 1st for the boys after senior Owen Woo was forced to sit the meet out with an inflamed left foot.  On the JV side, the girls were the lone victors at Cesar Chavez, paced by sophomore Anya Van Noord and freshman Lauren Goode.

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 A week later, at Point Pinole Regional Park in Richmond, the Panthers rebounded with victories against Hercules, Pinole Valley and St. Patrick’s-St. Vincent.  Seniors Owen Woo and Julia English won their respective varsity races… while junior Genevieve Wiley placed 2nd  and junior Sasha Polataev and sophomore Jazmine Newsome finishing 3rd.  For Jazmine, this was a hug accomplishment considering this was her first varsity 3 mile race!  The junior varsity races were split between the Panther girls and the Hercules boys.  The girls completely dominated their race…. with senior Noelle Shaw winning for the first time.  The JV boys ran a tight, competitive race before finally being edged by an upstart Hercules group. 


Next up for the Panthers will be the 3rd of 4 TCAL league meets.  The race is at Point Pinole Park against Salesian, El Cerrito and Richmond.  First race will be the JV girls at 3:45 pm!


Panthers Take on Top Northern California Talent at Ed Sias

September 10th, 2016

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                                                                Junior Varsity Girls
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                                           Senior Owen Woo

This year’s Ed Sias cross country invitational, always an NCS barn-burner, turned into a Northern California “super meet” with 55 schools and over 2900 athletes competing at Hidden Valley Park in Martinez.  Among the cavalcade of runners were 22 runners from Saint Mary’s spread over 2 varsity and 2 junior varsity teams.  Leading the way for the Panthers were the Varsity Girls who finished 14th overall.  Senior Julia English was the top finisher, running the rolling 2.0 mile course in 14:05.  Genevieve Wiley, Anya Van Noord and Katie Woelffer were the next 3 finishers… followed by seniors Gillian Barry-Smith, Mia Young and Noelle Shaw.  Each of the seven runners ran a gritty race, whose course features a venerable hill at the very end.  “That hill is no joke,” said JV boys coach Craig Sutphin after his boys ran.  “We see some pretty sizeable hills over the course of the season but nothing quite that steep. Brutal.” 

 Overall, senior Owen Woo was the top Panther finisher of the day, placing 21st while posting a time of 10:59. Next was junior Sasha Poletaev, who bested his previous best time on the course by over :30. 

Coach Kim Pacatte’s JV girls ran a good race, led by freshman standout Lauren Goode’s 32nd place finish.  “Considering there were over 200 girls in the race… many of them upper classmen, I’d say Lauren did a great job today,” exhorted coach Pacatte.  “In fact, considering the heat, the competition, and that crazy hill, I’d say all the girls ran well today.  I was proud of them.”

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                                                                  Junior Jo Tarczynski

Following Lauren were sophomores Samantha Ulloa and Jasmine Newsom… with freshmen Winona Tan and Mila Sutphin not far behind.  Senior Iyari Falcon also ran well… with junior Jo Tarczynski’s finish receiving praise from coach Pacatte.

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                                     Sophomore Flynn Cooper

The JV boys, with sophomores Nic Lauxman, Andrew Geist, Matthew Rosenberg and Flynn Cooper teaming with freshman Sunny Wyrzykowski seemed to pass their grit and toughness test on the Ed Sias course, according to Coach Sutphin.  “This group got a slow start to the season but I think we got better today. They ran tough. If we can put a few weeks of consistent work in I think this group can be a factor in the TCAL.”  Next Saturday the Panthers will be back on the course, this time at Hayward High School for the Farmers Invitational. 


Seniors Make Statement at 18th Annual Tilden Time Trial

September 6th, 2016

Top Finishers Julia, Lauren, Sunny and Owen
                                           Top Finishers Julia, Lauren, Sunny and Owen

On Tuesday, senior Owen Woo, running the final time trial of his Panther career, scorched the dry, rolling two mile Tilden Time Trial course in a personal best 10:24.  Owen’s 10:24, the fastest run since 2011, serves notice that he is fit and ready for the 2016 season.  Fellow senior Julia English, she too completing her 4th run on the venerable time trial course, posted a fine :10 PR to finish in 13:25.

                                          Junior Sasha Poletaev

“As we expected, our two senior captains led the way out there today,” said long time varsity girls coach Denis Mohun. “Both Julia and Owen understood that this was their last time trial and I think both looked forward to dominating this course.”

Running behind Owen was sophomore teammate Finn Rudy, whose 11:10 places him on the all-time sophomore list.  Junior Sasha Polataev also had a good race according to head coach Jeff Rogers…running almost a minute faster than he did a year ago.  Sophomores Nic Lauxman and Zander Lieske look like they’re just about ready for varsity competition, Nic finishing in 12:22 with Zander a scant :04 seconds behind.  Max Emerling (12:37) and Ben Jaffe (13:23) also ran well… as did freshman Sunny Wyrzykowski who was the day’s top finishing freshman.  JV Boys coach Craig Sutphin also issued praise to sophomore Coby Fan (14:42) for his inspired run.

                                        Freshman Mila Sutphin

Likewise, JV girls coach Kim Pacatte acknowledged the outstanding efforts of several runners… most notably freshman Lauren Goode, the top JV finisher in 15:15 (as well as the #11 freshman of all-time) and senior Gillian Barry-Smith who recorded a 1:30 minute personal best, running 15:21.  Junior Genevieve Wiley joined the all-time junior list with her 14:05 PR, while teammate Katie Woelffer was the 3rd fastest girl of the day in 15:13.

Overall, the time trial offered a glimpse into the current fitness and preparedness of the team.  “I’d say we still have a ways to go,” said coach Pacatte.  “But a lot of the runners showed some guts out there today.  Now we have to combine those guts with some consistency and we’ll be on our way.”

Next up for the Panthers is the Ed Sias Invitational on Saturday at Hidden Valley Park in Martinez.  Good luck to all the Panther runners this weekend.


2016 Cross Country Season Preview

August 28th, 2016


In their pursuit of success, all sports, whether they are team or individual, male or female, fall, winter or spring, require elements of desire, dedication and commitment.  In cross country, it is common for coaches to stress to their athletes that there are no shortcuts: the athletes that put the time in become the best runners.  The question for the Saint Mary’s 2016 Cross Country season will be, according to girls head coach Denis Mohun, “Did we put the time in?

Summer running is one of the keys to any teams success and we were pretty sporadic this summer.  My suspicion is that most of the returners did their running on their own but only time will tell.”Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 9.47.20 PM

Among the athletes that certainly did their summer running is senior Owen Woo.  Owen is coming off a stellar junior track season that saw him advance all the way to the NCS Meet of Champions 3200 final.  Along the way, Owen managed to lower his PR to 9:39 which ranks 4th all time in school history.  His summer, according to coach Jeff Rogers, has been an extension and progression of his track season.  “Owen looks really good right now,” insists Rogers.  “He has the look of a guy who could break through to the elite level in the North Coast Section.  He’s certainly putting in the work and has a confidence and attitude about him that he’ll need.  Don’t be surprised to see him take down a lot of high level runners this year.”

Along with Owen, junior Sasha Polataev appears to have the look of a much-improved runner.  According to coach Rogers, Sasha “has has a solid summer” and “has developed into a legitimate varsity runner that will have to be reckoned with by the other top guys around the TCAL.”  After Owen and Sasha, a bevy of underclassmen and veterans will be relied upon to round out the squad.  Seniors Jared Flint and Peter Klem will lead the way, with sophomores Finn Rudy, Zander Lieske and Nic Lauxman following closely.  Others to watch are junior Ben Jaffe and possibly sophomore Max Emerling.

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 3.24.08 PMThe girls team, like the boys, return a lone senior and a trio of juniors that look to lead the 2015 TCAL runner-ups.  Senior Julia English is the veteran of the team, having competed at the varsity level since her freshmen year. Junior Genevieve Wiley has looked strong this summer and should provide the Panthers with a solid 1-2 punch.  Juniors Lupe Saldana and Katie Woelffer have had consistent summers and seem ready to contribute solidly.  Add in sophomore Anya Van Noord, junior Jo Tarczynski, and seniors Gillian Barry-Smith and Noelle Shaw and the Panthers should be in the running for another TCAL crown.

“Our teams began the summer slowly but have really picked up as of late,” confided coach Mohun.  “We hope that as school starts and the reality of the season sets in that the runners will respond and begin to step on the gas.  Again, we remind our people that this sport is very unforgiving to those that are not in shape.  We need to be in great shape in order to compete in the TCAL.  Let’s get going!”


Cross Country Practice Begins Tuesday, August 16th!!

August 13th, 2016

Official practice for the 2016 cross country season begins on Tuesday, August 16th at 3:30 on the track at Saint Mary’s.  First timers, returners, JV and varsity are all welcome!  Every non-freshman runner must be sure to stop by Mrs. Balding’s office to get a yellow, health-form-confirmation slip to be able to practice.  With the season just around the corner, all runners are strongly encouraged to attend.  Contact Mr. Mohun – girls varsity head coach (, Mr. Rogers – boys varsity head coach (, Ms. Pacatte – girls JV head coach ( or Mr. Sutphin – boys JV head coach ( if you need more information.  Otherwise, remind the other runners and see you on Tuesday!

– The Coaching Staff