Palo Alto High's boys' cross country team finished 13th in the state Division I cross country race at Woodward Park on Saturday. It wasn't a disaster, though the race might have gone a different way had everyone been healthy.
Vikings' senior Kent Slaney was right where he wanted to be during the first mile, setting himself up for a top 10 finish. That's when things started feeling strange. He still managed to finish the race, though it was in the top 100, nearly two minutes behind the winner.
Bellarmine's Meika Beaudoin-Rosse, who edged Slaney at the Central Coast Section finals, placed third overall. Naveen Pai was Paly's top runner, placing 48th in 16:07.4. Sophomore Henry Saul placed 65th in 16:15.8.
Among the girls' team races, Gunn placed 22nd in Division II and Menlo was 15th in Division IV.
Sacred Heart Prep's Natalie Novitsky, the CCS champion, raced 18:45.7 as an individual in Division IV, placing 19th as the top local girls' finisher.
Menlo's Eliza Crowder went 19:18.0 as the second-fastest local runner. Joyce Shea finished in 19:27.0 to pace the Gunn contingent. Other local individuals included Palo Alto freshman Miranda Jimenez, who went 20:10.1 in Division I and Castilleja's Cosi Layton (20:03.2) and Claire Traum (20:10.4) in Division V.
In addition to Crowder, Kyra Pretre ran a 19:58.9 for the Knights and Gunn's Claire Hu ran 20:08.0.
Also among the boys, Gunn's Jonas Enders raced 16:27.0 and Sacred Heart Prep's Brett Anstrom went 16:51.2 in Division IV. Eastside Prep's Max Velazquez ran 17:17.0 and Priory's Jack Nash went 17:48.9 in Division V.
Menlo already had made school history by qualifying for the state meet. The Knights scored 376 points, edging Central Coast Section rival San Lorenzo Valley by a point. Santa Cruz placed 11th (260).
“This whole experience of just being at state has been unforgettable and I’m really excited to come back and visit next year to see the team’s continued success since the team is so young and the girls will just keep getting faster,” Crowder said. “We weren’t projected to do as well as we did today, but everyone ran really great races, did their part. … I’m really proud.”
Pretre was 72nd and was followed by fellow freshmen Cameron Boom and Charlotte Tomkinson, who came in together at 20:49.4 and 20:49.5, respectively, and another freshman Katie Aufricht in 20:58.1. Freshman Amanda Foster and junior Natalia Cordon crossed the finish in 21:24.0 and 21:42.1 for the Knights.
For Crowder, it was an ideal way to end her high school career.
“Of course I wanted all of us to travel to Fresno together and taking 3rd at CCS and clinching that spot for states was an amazing feeling,” Crowder said. “Even though the team is almost completely made up of freshmen, we all get along so well and that has really helped our overall performances in races and taking 15th in state today was a huge and unexpected accomplishment for us. I’m so happy that this was my last high school race because it was a great one to end on.”
NOTE: Lead photo on sliders by Mark Foster.