As September comes to a close, the 2018 cross country season is nearly a month old and the Panthers having run in 3 separate meets. Yet, Thursday’s TCAL opener at Point Pinole Regional Park has been the first time this season that both boys and girls teams have been at full strength. With a full compliment of healthy runners, the Saint Marys teams… led by a slew of talented sophomores, flexed their collective muscles in routing teams from De Anza, Pinole Valley, Salesian, Hercules, J.F. Kennedy and El Cerrito.
On the boys side, sophomore Riley Hartney – who spent the bulk of his freshman year sidelined with injury – served notice that he is indeed healthy and ready to compete in the upper echelons of the league this year. His 17:38 was good for 4th place overall and was the top performance by a Panther runner. Senior Zander Lieske, a first team all-league selection a year ago, was close behind in 17:43. Zax Lieske, Max Emerling and freshman Jeffrey Norris finished the scoring for the Panthers. Seniors Coby Fan and Nic Lauxman also ran solid races according to coach Jeff Rogers.
The JV Boys, led by freshman Ryan Painter and junior Talun Mitchell, also ran well according to coach Rob Riccardi. “I was proud of the way the guys ran today. Most of them had never even been to Point Pinole park, so to run as well as they did on a windy, unfamiliar course was nice to see.”
While most agreed that the boys ran well on Thursday, it was the girls – both varsity and JV – that were the dominant teams. The varsity girls, led by sophomores Jordan Cornet (1st), Lucy Arevalo (2nd) and Olivia Lawson (4th), swept to an easy victory over all comers at Point Pinole. Only one other runner from the six other schools were able to break up the trio.. and only one runner was able to run within 2 minutes of their final time. The defending 6-time league champions certainly showed that they will be hard to knock from the top of the TCAL mountain. Seniors Wiona Tan and Maddie Daganzo also ran well according to assistant coach (and former Panther great) Spencer Moore.
The JV girls scored 5 of the top 6 spots overall… with sophomores Eliza Pease and Ashley Robarts finishing 1-2. Fellow sophomore Simone Rogers was 4th overall… while a pair of freshmen – Maddy Dwyer and Mallory Boell – finished 5th and 6th. Nia Dippon (8th) and Emmi Akiyama-Tahara (9th) also ran very good races for the now 6-0 Panthers.
Next up for the Panthers is the Stanford Invitational on Saturday. The meet features most of the top competition from Northern California. The meet will feature varsity teams only.