Cross country sweeps All-City for the second consecutive year

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By Rayming Liang

Originally published on December 15, 2014

Senior Sydney Gutierrez finishes third in the varsity girls’ All-City race on Nov. 19. Photo by Zoe Kaiser

RACE RECAP

Despite sporadic rainfalls and muddy challenges, the Lowell cross country team raced through Golden Gate Park on Nov. 19 and swept the All City Championship for the second time in two years.

The runners competed in a 5K course, which began and ended at the Polo Fields, while passing through groves of trees and over rolling hills. The weather conditions were quite unpredictable, with light drizzles for some races and downpours for others. Even less favorable was the ground, which had become muddy and proved to be another obstacle for runners. “The rain wasn’t as much of an issue as the mud,” freshman Ruben Reid said. “You can be running, then step in the mud and slip. Or someone might try to be ‘smart’ and jump out of the way, crashing into you instead.”

“All City is the chance to show ‘what you got’, and usually that means running the best race of your life, or at least so far.”

The obstacle of the mud slowed most people down for the race, from thirty seconds to even a minute, according to senior Marcella dePunzio. “This matters because people couldn’t break their own personal records,” she said. “All City is the chance to show ‘what you got’, and usually that means running the best race of your life, or at least so far.”

However, nature did little to hamper the spirits of the runners on their conquests. “It was a different race, since we were more used to dry climates, but we managed to push through despite the mud,” sophomore Sierra Brill said.

The race began with the boys’ frosh-soph race, in which Lowell won 27 points, with Reid and sophomore Runjia Chen medaling first and third, respectively. “I was worried about the race and getting first, but I was expecting to get first,” Reid said. “I think you need the attitude going in, otherwise you’re just going to quit.”

Sophomore Mikolaj Krajewski leads a pack of runners, as he finishes third in the varsity boy’s All-City race. Photo by Zoe Kaiser

Following up was the girls’ frosh-soph race, in which the team swept its race with freshman Natalie Ewe in first, followed by sophomore Cynthia Leung in second, sophomore Zoe Ingram in fourth and freshman Alyssa Young in fifth. Ewe was happy with how she placed. “I didn’t know what to expect at the beginning, but when I finished, I was surprised — I was expecting [the next person] to be right behind me,” she said.

“I didn’t know what to expect at the beginning, but when I finished, I was surprised — I was expecting [the next person] to be right behind me.”

The boy’s varsity team claimed first with 30 points. Junior Luis Aragon took first, sophomore Mikolaj Krajewski came in third and senior Isaiah Abeyta finished fifth. Throughout the race, Aragon recalled his practices, which helped set his mentality. “I think of the workouts — I’ve done this so many times before,” Aragon said. “And with the last 800 meters, you dig and give it your all.”

The girls’ varsity team took first in their division with a total of 23 points with sophomore Sierra Brill finishing first, junior Kristen Leung second, senior Sydney Gutierrez third and junior Annie Zhou fourth. Despite the less-than-favorable conditions at the end, the team managed to push through, especially for Brill, who had also placed first last season. “I wanted to achieve a personal record, but it was hard in the mud,” Brill said.

SEASON RECAP

Senior Marcella dePunzio carries junior Kristen Leung through the mud after the All-City race on Nov. 19. Photo by Zoe Kaiser

The team bonded together with many student organized activities, from group runs around the Marin Headlands to a scavenger hunt run in the Presidio. The team even had a special event for head coach Chad Chiparo after his Ironman Triathlon was cancelled, an event that involved swimming in a lake, biking over a hundred miles and running the same distance as a marathon, all done with no breaks in between, according to dePunzio. “We planned a fake Ironman run for him in the school, which included a ‘swim’ through sprays of bottled water, biking a lap around the track and an endless chase for the finish line,” she said. “It was silly and a lot of fun.”

“They had two freshmen and two sophomores going to state, which made about one-third of the runners underclassmen, and that in itself was incredible.”

The team improved their times throughout the season by a minute to three minutes, according to head coach Chad Chiparo. “[November 21st] was their hardest workout [day] — they were running at paces which would prepare them for state races,” Chiparo said. “This means speeding up their paces to be thirty seconds faster, and we gave it to them because they could handle it.”

At the State Championship in Fresno on Nov. 29, the team didn’t do so well, placing 21st and 20th in the Division 1 Boys’ and Division 1 Girls’, respectively. However, the team looks on with a positive attitude. “The state race is different from the city race in that there are faster runners, which pushes us to run faster,” dePunzio said. “Most of us managed to improve our personal records in this race.”

With the semester coming to a close, the team is prepared for the next season. “We have a young team, which will be exciting,” Chiparo said. The squad had two freshmen and two sophomores going to state, which made about one-third of the runners underclassmen, and that in itself was incredible, according to Chiparo.