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.