CROSS COUNTRY PREVIEW: Boys, girls squads make push for Freeway League title


Chloe Kang

The Sunny Hills boys cross country team practices after school at the track Wednesday, Aug. 24.

Coaches: Jacob Holloway (head coach), Ashley Bordy (assistant coach)

Top Returning Runners: Esther Kim (11), Katelyn Marin (11), David Perez (12), Sergio Perez (12), Silas Procaccini (11), Kayla Thomsic (10)

Top Newcomers: Keshav Bharadwaj (10), Mia Gonzalez (9), Kevin Hur (9), Symone Taylor (11)

Last Season: The boys cross country squad placed third, while the girls placed fourth in the Freeway League; the former qualified to compete in CIF. Runners also  managed to get two Top 20 records set on the boys side and one on the girls side in the Freeway League.

Outlook: Holloway said he sees that his runners can make a push to win the Freeway League title or at least place in the Top 3 to qualify for CIF Preliminaries. 

“They did really well for mostly being underclassmen,” he said. “The boys grew closer and improved [their] times consistently, and the girls learned a lot about themselves and what it takes to have a good season.

That experience will serve them well this year.”

Holloway said boys and girls squads still need to work on overcoming some weaknesses carried over from past seasons.

“I would say we need to work on committing to good habits, sleeping, eating, hydrating and planning their schedules appropriately so they’re not missing practices,” he said. “Getting a full commitment from everybody on the team will help not only their individual performance, but the collective [performance] of the team.”

Over the summer, the head coach said both squads have been working on base building, which include mainly aerobic endurance-related activities.

“They’ve mostly been doing long distance running at a slow, easy pace or regular calisthenics type activities, and a little bit of weight room as well,” Holloway said. “[The coaching staff] is mostly focusing on getting them what we call an endurance base for the season.”

Team captain junior Katelyn Marin said she has confidence that her team will succeed in this season.

“My goal for this season is for the girls to go to CIF,” Marin said. “We haven’t been to CIF in a while. And I’m pretty confident that our varsity team, with coach’s training, will be able to make it to CIF.”

The team is geared up for success, as demonstrated in the past season through its perseverance and positive mindset.

“I’m proud of the team for taking the challenge upon them to say, ‘We’re not going to settle for being mediocre,’” Holloway said. “We are trying to be the best and we are going to do all those things that we need to do to put ourselves in that position.”

The team’s first league meet against the other five schools in the division was held at Troy High School Monday, Sept. 12, from 2-4:30 p.m.

After that, the Lancers will compete in the Woodbridge Invitational at the Great Park in Irvine on Thursday, Sept. 15, from 5-10 p.m.