Acalanes Cross Country Finishes Strong

Acalanes Cross Country Finishes Strong

Varsity Runners Race by the Ugly Eagles

Acalanes Cross Country wrapped up the season with a victory over Clayton Valley Charter High School this weekend.  This was a head to head meet held on a 2 and 3 mile course on and near Clayton Valley High School.  The course included something for everyone with a bit of road running, trail running, grass, dirt and even the final 300m on the track.  It was a brisk morning with the temperature around 50 degrees and a stiff wind.  But the cold and wind was not enough to stop the Dons.  Click here for official results.

The Junior Varsity Girls got things going at 9am with a smashing victory.  Senior Lena Johnson took a break from her normal varsity duties to lead the team of Freshman and Sophmores.  Lena was a second place finisher in this race and led a group of up and coming freshmen Nina Gehrig, Chloe Boyle, Ruby Deeming, Abigail Palmer and Livia Davis who finished 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th place respectively.  Abbey Drake (10) also had an outstanding performance in her first ever head to head Cross Country meet.

The 9:30am Junior Varsity Boys race was a hard fought battle but resulted in the only loss of day for the Dons.  Bennett Dodge (10) and Loic Windfuhr-Durand (11) rocked the field with a way out in front 1st and 2nd place finish.  But despite a hard fought battle by Jack Dunne (10), Lucas Chow (9), Peter Buchel (10), William Zhang (12) and others, the Ugly Eagles came on strong to steal this race.

The Varsity teams quickly claimed redemption with the Varsity Girls smashing the Ugly Eagles in the 10:00am race.  Star distance runner Lauren Yee (11) had an impressive 1st place finish with a time on the 3 mile course of 19:47.8.  But even more impressive was freshman Megan Yee who was clipped by older sis by less than half a second and finished with a time of 19:48.1.  Not to be outdone was newcomer freshman Olivia Williams who was barely outkicked by the Yee sisters and had a 3rd place finish in a time of 19:48.7.  Juniors Elle Casselman, Caroline Crossland, and  Katrina Ortman finished off the Ugly Eagles with 4th, 6th, and 8th place finishes respectively.  A very impressive win for the Varsity Girls.

Gaining further redemption, in a hard fought battle, the Varsity Boys socked it to the Ugly Eagles.  Sam Roth (12), Tyler Hunt (10) and Dominic Basaldua (12) gave em the ol’ 1-2-3 punch earning the top three spots in the 3 mile race.  Regaining composure after a blood drawing tumble on the most treacherous part of the course, Senior Josh Evans managed a 9th  place finish.  Ethan Chow (12), Logan Farzan (9), David Marron (12), Ian Ho (12), and Derek Kotarba (12) rounded out the winning varsity team.

Dons Cross Country athletes are a testament to the resiliency and perseverance of high school athletes.  Despite the uncertain circumstances that have persisted over the last year these athletes have endured.  They have trained during twilight hours for the past 8 months.  They have banded together socially distanced as brothers and sisters with a common cause for nearly a year as they awaited competition.  They have endured!  They are strong!  They have run on!  RUN ON DONS!!!!!!!  

“Running is not about being better than someone else,  It’s about being better than you used to be.” Nike ad. Click here for more photos.

Dons Cross Country: Off to the Races!

Dons Cross Country: Off to the Races!

Dons Runners Dominate First Meet of the Season

Having not run a meet since November of 2019, the Dons Cross Country team had some cobwebs to shake off before their first meet this past Saturday.  Both veteran runners and newcomers came through in smashing fashion.  The tri-meet between Acalanes, Las Lomas and Northgate was a hybrid virtual meet in which each team ran the same course, but during different times of the day.  Despite the unfamiliar format, the Dons Runners performed amazingly well and secured victory in 3 of the 6 races.

The Varsity Boys got things rolling with not only a team victory, but a rare perfect score.  The varsity boys Sam Roth (12), Tyler Hunt (11), Dominic Basaldua (12), Bennet Dodge (10) and Loic Windfuhr-Durand (11) finished 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th place respectively.

The Varsity Girls also struck gold with a win against the Knights and Broncos.  Nicole Frigon (12) and Lauren Yee (11) led the Dons with 2nd and 4th place finishes.  Only a few seconds behind was star Freshman Megan Yee who came through with an amazing 5th place finish in her first ever high school meet.

The Frosh Soph Girls were led to a victory by newcomer Olivia Williams (9) who finished in 1st place in her first ever cross country meet.  Freshman Chloe Boyle, Nina Gehrig, Abigail Palmer, Ruby Deeming and Livia Davis rounded out the winning team.

Other standouts of the meet include Logan Farzan (9), Derek Kotarba (12), and Caroline Crossland (11), who finished in first place in the Boys Frosh Soph, Boys Junior Varsity, and Girls Junior Varsity respectively.  Despite the year and a half long gap in competition, Ian Ho (12), Tom Bequette (11), and Corina McTigue (12) pulled off personal records on this course.

Dons Cross Country is back!  And we are running strong!  The next competition is an 800m time trial on the AHS track versus College Park this coming Friday.

“Unofficial Results at link below:

https://www.athletic.net/CrossCountry/meet/188612/results

DONS GO THE DISTANCE: Cross Country, One Step at a Time

DONS GO THE DISTANCE: Cross Country, One Step at a Time

I always loved running – it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.

Jesse Owens

My cross country shoes have more miles than your car.

We are excited to announce that our Cross Country Season is off to a great start.  Our coaches for this seasons have been busy training and prepping the athletes since October 2020.  We are proud to welcome back Riley Noon, a star runner for Acalanes who graduated in 2019, to join as a coach this season.  He is currently a sophomore at UCLA.  Most students are in great shape due to participation in Camps.  Student athletes have been safely training following school guidelines.

Here are a few things that we are gearing up for—

*   virtual meet on Feb 20 vs Las Lomas and Northgate High School

*   intersquad time trials on the track and expect a lot of PRs

*   challenging workout schedules for runners in all levels.

Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads.

A shout out to our senior:  Dominic Basaldua, Ethan Chow, Josh Evans, Ian Ho, Sam Roth, Derek Kotarba, Jonas Buchel, Nick Emtage, David Maron and William Zhang.  Nicole Figon, Taylor Hill, Lena Johnson, Alexa Asadorian and Corina McTigue.  And the ones to watch this season are: Sam Roth, Tyler Hunt, Nicole Frigon and Lauren Yee.

Dons know we’re fast, pretty soon everyone else will know it too.

Join the Cross Country Team! All interested Dons…it is not too late! If you are interested in learning more about Cross Country and joining the team…PLEASE DO!

Crosscountry is a nice intersection between an individual and a team sport. In a cross-country race you can run as an individual or you can enter as a team, but regardless of how you enter you still receive an individual placing. Entering as a team is a great way to motivate yourself throughout the race and celebrate being a Don! Any Don that is interested in joining the team…we have a spot for you! Contact Jimmy Chow jimmy.kc.chow@gmail.com

Dons Runners Keep Getting Faster

Dons Runners Keep Getting Faster

Cross Country Completes Camp #2 with Time Trials at Newhall Park

Cross Country (5K & 2 miles) time trial update:

Props to all of our cross country runners showing up on last Saturday (Nov 14) at Newhall Park.  Congrats to David Barron for remaining Group 2 Champ; shout out to huge PRs: Ethan Chow, Logan Farzan, Lucas Chow, Jack Dunne, Ben Kokel, Nick Mitroff and Corina McTigue; hip-hip hurray to our first time PRs for Michael Weiss, Livia Davis, Chloe Boyle, Andrew Wartenberg.  Kudos for big improvement over Newhall Park 1: Dominic Basaldua, Loic Durand, Josh Evans, Ian Ho, Nicole Frigon and Lena Johnson.  Great job to all of our athletes. What a great season!  Rest up and see you all back out there in December! 

Cross Country Camp Update: Dons on the Run

Cross Country Camp Update:  Dons on the Run

Props to all of our cross country runners for getting up early on last Saturday (Oct 10) morning and showing up at Newhall Park for the second of three unofficial time trials.  We had a great turnout!  Congrats to Ethan Chow and Corina McTigue for huge Personal Records.  Great job to Dominic Basaldua, Josh Evans, Ian Ho and Elle Casselman for strong performances and near Personal Records times in early season.  Props to Lena Johnson spoiling Coach Ed Basaldua’s win by out kicking him.  Racing 101: Never let a 800m runner be within 50m of you in the last 200m of 5k race.  

Cross Country Team Shines at NCS … on to State!

Cross Country Team Shines at NCS … on to State!

The Varsity Cross Country team had a great showing at the North Coast Section (NCS) Cross Country Championships on Saturday, November 23rd.

The boys team took 2nd place and are heading to State on November 30th. Nicole Frigon was a state qualifier as well! Outstanding effort by all – congratulations!!

Girls Cross Country Shines at Rough Rider Invitational

Girls Cross Country Shines at Rough Rider Invitational

On Friday, October 18th, the cross country team was excused from school to make their annual journey to the Rough Rider Invitational in Fresno.  This is an incredible meet held at Woodward Park that attracts cross country teams from all over California.  The 5k course at this meet is the same course used for the state meet coming up in November.  39 boys and girls toughed out the 6 hour round trip bus ride and were not disappointed with the results.

Although there were great performances all around, on this day it was the girls’ turn to shine.  The girls landed a half dozen total medals by scoring in all three races in which they competed.  Katrina Ortman got the medal count rolling with an incredible 6th place finish in the Frosh/Soph 3,500m race.  Her time of 14:41 reflected an average pace of 6:40 per mile.  Adding the biggest gain to the medal pile was Emily Keeler, Taylor Hill and Megan Baginski who all scored medals in the Junior Varsity 3,500m race with times of 15:10, 15:10, and 15:15 respectively.  Capping off the medal parade for the girls were varsity stars Nicole Frigon and Lauren Yee, who both earned medals in the 5k race with times of 19:49 and 19:56.  The girls varsity team that also included Caroline Crossland, Elle Casselman, Lena Johnson, Samantha Swan and Sidney Zimmerman, finished 4th in a challenging field of 22 teams.  They were bested by only cross country powerhouses Menlo, and Head Royce, and lost a heat breaking tie for 3rd with Bishop Amat.

To assure the boys would not return from this trip empty handed, varsity star Sam Roth and teammate Dominic Basaldua scored a pair of medals in the varsity 5k race with times of 16:45 and 16:47.  The two of them led the varsity boys to a 3rd place finish in a field of 33 teams.  Derek Kotarba, Nick Hutson, Loic Windfuhr Durand, Andrew Owens, and Josh Evans rounded out the team.  It was a very impressive showing by the boys varsity.

Despite the impressive medal count for the Dons runners, the highlight of the meet was the teams winning of the varsity Sweepstakes Award.  This award is presented to the team that has the best boys and girls team combined performances.  The girls 4th place finish combined with the boys 3rd outperformed all other schools and landed the team their first team plaque of the season.  It was truly a great day for Acalanes Cross Country and a meet to remember.

Cross Country Brings Home Victory on Homecoming Weekend

Cross Country Brings Home Victory on Homecoming Weekend

While most students were enjoying the homecoming festivities on Friday night, 17 dedicated cross country runners were prepping for an early race start time on Saturday morning.  On homecoming Saturday, 10 varsity boys and 7 varsity girls competed in the Capital Cross Challenge at Hagen Oaks Park in Sacramento.  This was amazing cross country event hosted by the Sacramento running Association and sponsored by Hoka One One.  The setting was incredible with the 5k course being run on several holes of this beautiful golf course. And the meet host and sponsors pulled out all the stops to make this a fantastic meet with great prizes, a spectacular finish line and even an awesome DJ.  The Acalanes boys and girls stepped up to early race start times of 7:50am and 8:15am on a chili 57 degree morning.  Their perseverance and dedication paid off.


The girls varsity team finished 10th among 38 teams from throughout California.  Junior Nicole Frigon and Sophomore Lauren Yee earned themselves Hoka One One backpacks by finishing within the top 10.  Nicole finished 9th with a time of 19:21 on the 5k course and Lauren finished right behind in 10th place with a time of 19:26.  The girls team effort was rounded out by great running from teammates Caroline Crossland, Lena Johnson, Sam Swan, Sidney Zimmerman, and Aysha Craig.


The Acalanes boys pulled off an amazing victory, taking first place in a field of 40 competitive teams from throughout California.  It was the first time the boys full varsity has run together this season and pulling off a victory like this at a spectacular meet like Capital Cross was nothing short of absolutely thrilling.  Junior Sam Roth led the boys team and earned himself a Hoka One One Backpack by finishing in 4th place with a 5k time of 15:58.  Andrew Owens, Tyler Hunt, Dominic Basaldua, and Loic Windfuhr Durand utilized a brilliant pack running technique to round out the team scoring by placing 26th, 27th, 30th and 33rd respectively with 5k times of 16:47, 16:52, 16:56 and 16:59.  This amazing team effort was rounded out by outstanding running from Nick Hutson, Bennett Dodge, Josh Evans, Derek Kotarba, and Ethan Chow.  A very well deserved Congratulations to our varsity boys team for an amazing victory at a spectacular meet.

Youngsters Shine for Dons at the 25th DLS Nike Invitational

Youngsters Shine for Dons at the 25th DLS Nike Invitational

Cross Country’s first meet in San Francisco two weeks ago resulted in some great performances by our varsity teams.  But at the 25th DLS Nike Invitational this past Saturday it was time for the youngsters to shine.  All runners braved scorching temperatures on the 2 and 3 miles courses at Newhall Park in Concord.  This 25th version of this invitational drew teams from all over the bay area including Cross Country power houses such as Bellarmine Prep, Jesuit, and Redwood.


Despite stiff competition the Acalanes boys and girls Frosh/Soph teams turned in outstanding performances.  Tyler Hunt, Loic Windfuhr Durand, and Bennett Dodge finished 1st, 2nd, and 5th, respectively to lead the boys F/S team to a 3rd place finish.  In this race, the Dons handedly defeated some very competitive teams like Redwood, De La Salle and Campolindo.  The Dons were bested in this race only by Cross Country powerhouses Bellarmine Prep and Jesuit.  Lucas Hasse, Lawson Hollar, Andreas Ramirez, Nathan Krishnan, Peter Buchel, and Jack Dunne rounded out this medal winning team.


Lauren Yee and Caroline Crossland finished 1st and 13th respectively to lead the F/S girls to an outstanding 4th place finish.  Lauren Yee’s 1st place finish was a commanding performance in which she was the only girl to break 13 minutes in this hot and hilly 2 mile race.  Elle Cassleman, Katrina Ortman, Aysha Craig, and Emma Uffelman rounded out the great performance by this team.


The next meet for the Dons is the Capital Cross Challenge on the 28th in Sacramento.  This is a highly competitive varsity meet in which the Dons will enter 10 varsity boys and 9 varsity girls.

Cross Country Opens Season at San Francisco Invitational

Cross Country Opens Season at San Francisco Invitational

The girls and boys Cross Country teams opened their 2019 season at the Lowell’s San Francisco Invitational this past Saturday.  A select group of runners from Acalanes trudged through a 2.1 or 2.9 mile course made muddy by drizzle that morning.  Despite the gloomy weather, Acalanes runners posted great performances at this invitational that featured elite high school Cross Country teams from throughout Northern and Central California.


Medal winners at this meet included:

  • Sam Roth and Andrew Owens in boys Varsity
  • Nicole Frigon in girls Varsity
  • Loic Windfuhr-Durand in boys
  • Sophomore Lauren Yee in girls Frosh/Soph
  • Bennett Dodge in boys Frosh

Lena Johnson, Katrina Ortman and Ben Krey posted outstanding breakout performances on the 2.93 mile and 2.13 mile courses. And it was great to see the return of Sam Swan to the cross country team after a 2 year hiatus to participate in cross country skiing. 

Finally, special recognition is due to the boys varsity team for their amazing 5th place finish among a field of 36 high caliber high school teams.  Sam Roth led the team with an amazing 4th place finish that saw him complete the 2.93 mile course in 14:27.  Andrew Owens, Dominic Basaldua, Nick Hutson, and Derek Kotarba rounded out the top 5.

Next up for Cross Country is the DLS Nike Invitational at Newhall Park in Concord on September 21, 2019.