Publication Date: Wednesday Dec 2, 1998
PREP CROSS COUNTRY: Brizgys still on the runPaly senior will compete in Footlocker regional after a 2nd in state meet
by Keith Peters
Katie Brizgys had every right to take a day off, especially after finishing second in the girls' Division III race at the CIF State Cross-Country Championships last Saturday in Fresno. Brizgys, however, was up early Sunday and out running the roads, as usual.
Call it dedication. Call it a lifestyle. Or just call it getting ready for her next race.
While the state meet was final team race for Brizgys, the Palo Alto High senior will test herself against some of the nation's best this Saturday in Southern California at the Footlocker West Regional Championships in Walnut.
Brizgys will compete against the best runners in all divisions from 12 western states, with an opportunity to advance to the Footlocker National Championships--the crown jewel of prep cross country.
While she possess the talent and determination to make a solid run at nationals, Brizgys isn't sure she measures up.
"I just want to have fun and see how I can do," she said.
Palo Alto coach Paul Jones, however, believes the Vikings' finest female cross-country runner ever has a shot.
"I think she has a crack at qualifying," said Jones. "There's a few other girls who'll give her a run."
Based on her state meet time of 17:53 on the 5,000-meter (3.1 miles) course at Fresno's Woodward Park, Brizgys goes into the Western Regionals at Mt. San Antonio College no worse than the fourth-fastest in California.
The only runners with faster times in the CIF meet were Trina Cox of Division I Santa Rosa (17:48), Lauren Fleshman of Division I Canyon (17:38) and Division III champ Sara Bei of Montgomery (Santa Rosa), who clocked the second-fastest time (17:22) in state meet history.
Brizgys, whose time ranks her No. 6 on the state meet all-time list, lost contact with Bei at the one-mile mark and trailed by 10 seconds. At that point, Brizgys knew she was running for second.
"I was basically running for time," she said. "I just wanted to have a good race and run it smart."
Brizgys' best-ever finish at the state meet--she was 10th as a junior and ninth as a sophomore--helped the Vikings finish seventh in the Division III team race with 187 points.
"We weren't going to finish much better than that," said Jones, whose squad finished three spots highter than CCS Division III champ St. Francis.
In addition to Brizgys, Jones singled out the efforts of two Paly sophomores, Julia Lee and Caren Currie. This was the first state meet for both.
"Julia Lee really had a good race," Jones said of Lee's 31st-place time of 19:46. "That was a big breakthrough for her."
Currie finished 67nd in 20:27, only five seconds behind senior Lauren Currie, her sister. Meghan Burleson rounded out the Vikings' scoring with a 94th-place time of 21:32.
In the girls' Division II race, CCS champ Gunn finished 13th with 313 points. Gunn junior Marsha Habib led the way to the finish line with a 20:16 time, good for 53rd. Sophomore Laura Boyd was 81st in 20:55 and Naomi Sternheim, the only senior on the team, was 88th in 21:01.
Menlo-Atherton senior Chloe Glare didn't end her cross-country career quite the way she wanted, finishing 22nd in 19:30. It was Glare's third trip to the state meet. Teammate Rosalinda Castaneda, a sophomore making her first state meet appearance, was 91st in 21:05.
In girls Division V, Sonja Perakis of Pinewood was 19th in 20:11, while Eva Markiewicz of Castilleja was 34th (20:59), Lindsey Finch of Menlo was 50th (22:06) and Karen Denert of Castilleja was 58th (22:34).
In the boys' races, Gunn senior Tom Allen capped his prep cross-country career with a 10th-place finish in Division II. Allen clocked 16:02 and was the highest local finisher in Fresno. Allen had been figured to finish that high according to state meet predictions, but continued his season of consistency with yet another strong finish.
In the boys' Division V race, Steve Trudelle of Woodside Priory clocked 17:31 and finished 29th overall while Rohit Gupta paced Menlo with a 47th-place finish in 17:56.