Girls, Boys XC Teams Headed to States After Dominant CCS Finish


Coach Jorge Chen congratulates both the girls and boys cross country team in a huddle after learning that they qualified for states. Staff Photo: Bella Guel.

Adley Vogel, News Editor

Both the girls and boys varsity cross country teams will be going to the State Championship after two dominant CCS finals showings on Saturday, Nov. 16 at the Crystal Springs Cross Country course.

The girls team earned first place, with six runners in the top 10 and an average team time nearly two minutes faster than the second place team, Sacred Heart. “We’ve been putting in a lot of hard work throughout the season and especially over the last few weeks, and I think that really paid off today,” senior Kyra Pretre said. Junior Alex McCusker, her first race coming back from a stress fracture earlier in the season, finished 4th overall, running the 2.95 mile course in 19:00.05. Cross country scoring is calculated by the sum of the five fastest runners on a team; Menlo scored a 30, the second place team scored 97. Their first place win qualified the girls team for the State Championship, which will be the team’s 4th appearance at states in four years. “It’s going to be a lot of the girls’ last high school cross country race, so we all definitely want to have a good showing,” Pretre said. “It should be a really fun way to close out the season, and we’re all ready to go race.”

The boys team finished third and qualified for states for the first time in school history, thanks to two top five finishes from juniors Kamran Murray and Calvin Katz, finishing third and fourth respectively. “We have been training for over three months now, and it’s great to see our hard work pay off,” senior Luke Versik said. The two seniors on the team, Versik and Jackson Aldrich, had impressive showings Saturday, helping the team secure the seven points needed to edge out fourth place team Pacific Grove. “Jackson started out pretty conservatively so he needed to really pass a lot of people in the last mile. He ran an insane last mile, passing 15 people including 7 in the last 400 meters which is ridiculous. Luke ran insanely well too, starting out strong and maintaining his position throughout the entire race,” Murray said. “It means so much to us to represent Menlo at State. No one expected us to contend for a league title, and we did. No one expected us to contend for a berth to State and we did. No one expects anything of us in two weeks, so why not just give it our all and see what we can do?”

Both varsity teams wore the color pink during their October races to support breast cancer awareness. Cross Country Head Coach Jorge Chen’s wife, Sarah, was diagnosed with breast cancer over the summer. “Our team really wanted to do something special to show our support for Sarah and Jorge so we decided to do that through incorporating pink into our uniforms. We ended up making it a surprise at our first league meet in early October and continued to race in it after that,” Pretre said.

Both teams will be running in the CIF State Cross Country Championship on Nov. 30 at Woodward Park, Fresno.