Looking to carry on the momentum of last season’s second place finish in Division II at the state championship and a fourth place finish at CIF finals, the varsity cross-country team will begin their season at the Rosemead Invitational this Saturday, Sept. 9.
Led by Head Coach Lalo Diaz and comprising of seniors Shane Bissell, Liam Jamieson, Corey Kumomoto, David McAndrews, Brandon Cobian, Josh Ma and sophomore Anthony Stone, the varsity team is preparing to compete in Division I for the 2017 season.
Reflecting on last year’s success and the opportunity to compete in Division I this year, senior Brandon Cobian said, “The team was focussed in on our main goal, which was to win State. Even though we placed second in the state for Division II, I feel the team will carry over that winning mentality to this season. Now that we have been placed in Division I, we know that we need to perfect everything we learned from last season.”
This year the six seniors, many of whom have been on the varsity team for three years, are looking to step up as leaders in their final year.
Senior David McAndrews said, “Last year our team was led by Charlie Sherman and Alejandro Salinas, so the juniors were able to follow their lead. But now there is definitely a leadership calling for each senior on the team, so the six seniors on the varsity squad are expected to step up and fulfill the roles of captains.”
Determined not to rest on their laurels and instead improve on last season, the varsity squad attacked the preseason training with determination and ferocity.
Commenting on the extensive training the team has undergone, senior Liam Jamieson said, “We practice six days a week at Elysian and Griffith Park, following the same workouts that Coach Diaz has been having the runners do for over 30 years. In addition, we have time trials on the weekends to determine who are the top 30 guys that we bring to Mammoth to train.”
The training in Mammoth allows the team to bond and focus on the season ahead as they train at high altitude.
Jamieson said, “Running in Mammoth, we saw how good this year’s team is going to be, possibly the best that Loyola has ever had. On a lot of our races in Mammoth, which range from three to 10 miles, all at 6,000 to 9,000 feet of elevation, we would have up to seven guys run all-time top 30 performances. Considering that Loyola has been doing these same Mammoth runs for 31 years, these results really show how hard the team has been training.”