Starting off the season strong, the varsity cross-country team took 1st place in both the Rosemead Invitational held on Sept. 9 and the Mt. Carmel Invitational held in San Diego on Sept. 16.
Led by head coach Lalo Diaz, the Cubs continue their morning and after school training in preparation for their first Division 1 Mission League race at Crescenta Valley Park.
Junior captain, Mason Ratkovich said, “We’ve been working hard, training 9-10 times a week. We don’t focus on our success in the past. We focus on the training now and are determined to do just as well or even better this season. We know that we have to step up our game now that we are Division 1.”
Proving that their hard work pays off, the junior class swept the D-1 junior competition, with Vinnie Giachini, Ethan Stauber, Mason Ratkovich, Roberto Ruelas and Hudson Godfrey placing in the top five places, respectively. Sophomores Anthony Stone and Beikwaw Yankey placed first and second in sophomore race, and freshman Zachary Zambrano placed first in the freshman race.
Sophomore Timothy Burschinger said, “We can count on our senior captains, Shane Bissell, David McAndrews, Brandon Cobian, Corey Kumamoto, Josh Ma and [junior]Mason Ratkovich, to be at every practice and every meet. I know they will guide us and provide the encouragement and help we need on the track to reach our maximum potential.”
The team’s success be attributed to not only the leadership of senior captains but also the camaraderie and brotherhood among the runners.
“Off the track and on the track, we push it and encourage each other to go on. Many people think of cross-country as a team sport, but the bond we have provides fun and successful season. I know I can count on my teammates to provide help and encouragement on the track and in the classroom,” said sophomore Anthony Stone.
Ratkovich said, “I have a feeling this is our season. We have a lot of fast and talented runners that will step up to the occasion.” Following in the footsteps of last year’s captains, Ratkovich said, “I know that I and my fellow captains will do the best we can to make our way to nationals.”
On Wednesday, Sept. 26, the Cubs swept in the Mission League Cluster Meet #1, the first league meet of the season.