Vikings open 2019 season at Rancho Cotate Invitational

The Vikings opened their season with strong performances at their annual appearance at the Rancho Cotate Invitational. The invitational, a traditional opening to the season, included seven local teams for the Vikings to test their early season mettle against.

IMG_5762In the freshman boys race, the incoming Viking class of 2023 delivered a strong package of performances from the fast and feisty crew.  Nathan Fifer set off the first of multiple top 10 Viking finishes for the day, running a strong 19:13 (6:28) to kick off his season’s debut in third. James Gesell delivered a second top 10 performance scoring second for the team in 9th with a 20:12 (6:48). Jonathan Lacefield and Dorian Rangel executed key closing teamwork to finish back to back in 11th – 21:00 (7:04) and 12th – 21:19 (7:10). Joshua Kasimov delivered a rousing closing kick at the finish in 22:20 (7:31) to round out the scoring five. Justin Hakola nipped closely at his heels to wrap up the race for the day in a 22:28 (7:33). The freshmen team scored second overall as a team in the race, bested only by Maria Carillo.

The JV Boys’ scoring was led by junior Erick Alcaraz-Parra, who finished in a 20:59 (7:04). Junior Matt Staples, a strong sprinter for the Vikings during track season, made his cross-country debut to score second with a 23:34 (7:56). Sophomore Loki Fuller, who blew by the first mile so fast his coach nearly missed the split and scored third in a 23:36 (7:56). Senior Andy Hagemann 23:37 (7:57) and Sophomore August Curtis 25:23.3 (8:32) out-kicked fellow sophomore Jason Yepez-Ruiz (25:23.6) by a few hundreths of a second to claim the final scoring spot for the JV team, while sophomore Bryan Aguirre finished in a 26:33 (8:56) to complete the top seven. The JV boys finished fourth overall in the team scoring.

Freshman Hope Martin and junior Serena Goshgarian were the lone Viking representatives in the JV girls race, delivering solid performances to kickstart their season. Martin logged a 25:20 (8:31) and Serena a 27:53 (9:23). The JV girls were unable to field a complete team for this particular contest.

IMG_5774The varsity boys were led by juniors and team captains Hayden Dalsing and Dillon Kiernan, after senior Kibby Tesfamichael suffered a minor injury mid-race to preclude him from the team scoring. Dalsing scored first in a 17:48 (5:58), knocking 2:24 off his previous best on the same course freshman year. The 2018 season had a modified, shorter version of the course due to campus construction, and returned to the more modern late-2000s version of the course for last Friday’s meet. Kiernan followed second in an 18:30 (6:14) and sophomore Lucas Morthole came in third for varsity in a 19:13 (6:28). Junior Tan Luong saw a strong payoff on his summer workouts deliver him into the fourth scoring position in a 20:28 (6:53). Sophomore Jaymon George 21:02 (7:04) and junior Grant Hurd 21:09 (7:07) worked together to power through some physical difficulties to complete the top six. The varsity boys finished sixth in the team scoring.

IMG_5780The varsity girls were led by senior and team captain Mariah Briceno, who bested her previous time on the course by 25 seconds in a 19:20 (6:30). Briceno, who finished fourth in the varsity race, turned around and won the Santa Rosa 10K less than 14 hours later on Saturday morning in a 43:40 (7:02) breaking the course record for the women. Freshman Miriam Landau-Camarillo posted a strong time for her freshman debut with a 21:41 (7:18) scoring second for the Lady Vikes. Junior Isabel Holmes scored third with a 23:30 (7:54), followed by sophomore Julia Lusnia scoring fourth with a 26:42 (8:59). Junior Mya Jones finalized the team scoring in a 29:11 (9:49). The varsity girls finished fifth in the team scoring.

The Vikings return to the trails Sept. 4 at Spring Lake for the annual Bob Shor Invitational held on their home course and hosted by Santa Rosa.

#vikingxc #buildthehouse








An Opening Letter

It’s sacred bliss to me, this whisper of wind in my ear while I run down a trail. 

I wish I could tell all 1600 of the IMG_8853potential athletes passing by me in the hallways what it feels like. If I could bottle it, I would. Sell it like the secret sauce it is, the fabled runner’s high and the endorphins dripping fire into my heart and life into my brain. 

If only they knew the potential I can see trapped inside every single one of them. Sometimes it’s waiting like an animal to be released, a raw hunger exploding onto the surface of the track or the trail or the road. Sometimes it’s quietly humming in the background -needing to be coaxed out with soft words and a gentle hand. 

It’s not just speed bristling beneath their skin. It’s a yearning to be seen. Timid and shy at the beginning, they bloom like spring flowers after a rainstorm – each season growing a little taller, a little bolder, a little stronger. 

Daring – you can see it in their eyes when they talk about the season, their dreams, hopes, aspirations, other runners they want to spar with, chase down, beat. 

Hungry – you can see it in their eyes when they push their way up to the line, whole bodies tensing, mind rattling, the absolute stillness before the gun fires and their energy bursts onto the pavement, grass, trail, track. 

Heartfelt – you can see it when they slap each other on the back, give one another a hi-five, cheer on a rival, wince when they lose and smile when they win, love, fire, hope. 

You see, I have a different version of the boys of fall. My boys of fall don’t get their praises sung on Friday nights, they are the unsung heroes. One without helmets and pads and raw muscle and turf fields and pom-pom carrying cheerleaders. 

Instead they are ones of quiet labor, a bit of shirtless sweat mixed with the atrocious color patterns of far too short split shorts, just themselves and the trail, a pair of shoes, the tick of a watch and no one to see the miles they leave behind. Still they have equally clear eyes, full hearts and can’t lose. 

My girls are wild ones, like the lyrics of the song – love her, but leave her wild. They are brave and sweet, strong and kind. Their laughter paints the wind and they run their miles well. They stand by each other even during the toughest troubles, when whiffs of smoke bring back bad memories. They are each other’s safe place in the most tempestuous of storms and never fail to cheer one another on. 

All my memories of high school are on the trails – friendships birthed, teenage love affairs tangled and embryonic dreams churning, always churning. Life was simpler then. All I cared about was a faster time and a good season. Possibilities seemed endless. Sometimes this is all I hope for them – endless possibilities – these fresh young faces ready to start anew. 

Clear eyes. Full hearts. Fast miles.

Let’s run like Vikings.

#vikingxc #buildthehouse

Montgomery hosts largest Viking Opener Invitational in history


PC: Michael Lucid Photography

What a week for the Vikings! Thank you to all our hardworking athletes, parents and volunteers who made our largest Viking Opener Invitational in history possible. A total of 37 high schools (up from 27 last year) from all over Northern California and 900+ (up from 700+ last year) athletes descended on Spring Lake September 15 for the 35th annual running of the blossoming prestigious meet. Next year might mean a capacity lottery cap on the meet, only adding to the allure of the event.

Viking athletes did not disappoint on Viking weekend, not only managing their assigned duties as course monitors, but also delivering some strong performances and PRs.

Junior newcomer Daniel Ledesma led the men’s performances of the day with his strong 10:58 (5:29) cross-country debut earning him a top-10 medal and a coveted spot on the junior all-time list tying for #15. Senior Leah Haley and junior Mariah Briceno led the women’s performances of the day, both managing to earn spots not only on their class all-time lists, but also on the Montgomery all-time top 25 lists.

Haley logged a thumping 1:44 minute PR due to having miss racing last year’s Viking during her transfer sit-out period, launching to #6 on the Montgomery top 25 list and #4 on the all-time senior girls list with her blazing 12:04 (6:02). Briceno followed close behind, with a 15-second PR and landing as #13 on the top 25 list and #10 on the all-time junior girls list with her 12:39 (6:19).

Sophomore Hayden Dalsing led the Viking PR parade this meet with a 60-second PR, knocking his time down to an 11:53 (5:56). Senior Gage Hallin followed up with a similar feat, knocking his time down by 47 seconds to a 13:21 (6:40). Sophomore Tan Luong had a 14-second PR with his 13:52 (6:56). Freshmen Jaymon George – 12:18 (6:09) and Lucas Morthole – 13:10 (6:35) – also both saw over 90-second (!) improvements on their Viking Opener times from their 8th grade XC days as Slater Spartans. George also landed on the Viking all-time freshman boys list taking over the #20 spot.

Senior Justin Parks earned himself a top 20 ribbon in #17 with his 12:47 (6:23) in the open boys race. Senior Brandon Alvarado also earned himself a top 20 ribbon with his #19 finish and 15-second PR in an 11:05 (5:32). While the Vikings did not see any team ribbons this year, the team ran well as a whole.

The Press Democrat even had the presence of mind to publish a short blurb on the meet in the following Sunday’s paper (see photo). Might be the first time they’ve covered the meet, as cross-country sadly fails to generate the kind of headlines enjoyed by other sports played and not run.

The Vikings next contest at the 2nd annual Eye Opener Invitational at Shollenberger Park in Petaluma with host former rival Casa Grande.

Montgomery runners rake in PRs at Bob Shor Invitational (9/5)

jvboysBSIMontgomery’s junior varsity squad delivered a strong showing at the 2nd annual Bob Shor Invitational hosted by our orange-and-black blood rivals (guess who?) at Spring Lake Park on Sept. 5. The invitational’s unique 2.1 mile JV course follows the first two miles of our home course with a quick, sharp right turn down “Insult Hill” to bring the athlete home. Despite 14 members of the entire team falling to an early onslaught of illness affecting this meet, the Viking athletes able to run carried on regardless of the temporary loss.

The JV Boys were led by senior Gage Hallin, who conquered the course in 14:29 (6:53) – a dramatic 3:06 PR from his 2017 race.  The race is just the beginning of the profit from Hallin’s solid mileage in the summer (THIS is why we run in the summer kids!). 

Hallin was followed by sophomore Grant Hurd, who ran 14:49 (7:03), followed up Hallin’s PR with dramatic 2:18 PR of his own (AGAIN, this is why we run in the summer kids!). Hurd will also see his summer mileage work pay off throughout the season.

Sophomore Dillon Kiernan completed the second of his three invitationals in eight days in a 14:54 (7:05), still racing quite strongly with only a week of training under his belt! Sophomore Tan Luong continued the incoming Quack Train of PR ducks with his own 2:13 PR, also completing the course in a 14:54 (7:05) just getting edged at the line by Kiernan. Hailing all the way from Rome, one of our 2018 resident international runners and the “Italian Express” himself Giulio Guarino scored fifth for his teammates in a 14:58 (7:07).

Freshman August Curtis continued his consistent pacing with a 15:20 (7:18) to score 6th for the Vikings, and freshman Loki Fuller completed the top seven with a 16:50 (8:01).  Bryan Aguirre followed up his back-to-back invitational performance with a 17:42 (8:25). Seniors Jake Howe and Luke Triola ran an 18:31 (8:49) and 20:58 (9:59) respectively to complete the JV boys squad showing.

kiraOn the JV girls side, surprise incoming Cardinal Newman transfer Kira Kelley (who boasts strong varsity 100m and 200m times on her resume) completed her first cross-country race and first race as a Viking, leading the JV girls squad in a 16:55 (8:03). Sophomore Fiona Sweet followed closely behind with a 17:00 (8:05). Freshman Julia Lusnia continued to demonstrate her potential and posted a 17:18 (8:14).

Junior Jessica Dueck ran a 17:32 (8:21) to score 4th for the Viking ladies and senior Savannah Goshgarian ran a 17:38 (8:23) to complete the scoring five. Junior Lulu Devoulin ran a 18:30 (8:48) and our second resident international runner and Italian exchange student Michol Ottolenghi – also known as the “Italian Flyer” completed the seven with a 21:28 (10:13).

Haley-683x1024While most of the varsity followed the coach’s original plan and executed a great tempo workout at the full 3.05-mile varsity race on the home course to prep for the Lowell Invitational, senior Leah Haley had something different in mind when she blasted her way from 19th to 13th on the Montgomery Top 25 all-time course records list in a strong season opener of 18:59 (6:13) and a 23-second PR (Wait, why do we work out in the summer kids? What’s that? PRs??). Haley followed up her Rancho Cotate Invitational win last week with a win here as well, leaving behind the rest of the field by a full 61 seconds.

Junior Mariah Briceno scored second for the Viking women with a 20:37 (6:45) – faster than her 2017 Bob Shor performance – but somewhat shy of her PR. Sophomore Abbey Colvin also ran quite a bit faster than her 2017 Bob Shor performance in a 23:20 (7:39), but was also shy of her PR. Sophomore Serena Goshgarian 26:21 (8:38) and senior Jessica Celli 26:58 (8:50) stepped up to the plate to jump into the varsity race in place of missing sick teammates to allow the Viking women to field a scoring team for the invite.

The varsity boys (Brandon Alvarado, Brent Oru-Craig, Kyle Theuerkauf, Sebastian Herbst and Kibby Tesfamichael) delivered a thorough tempo workout, but senior Garrett Hurd forgot about the tempo and had an outstanding 1:40 PR in the middle of it with a 19:08 (6:16) – besting his Spring Lake PR from freshman year to score fourth for the Viking men. (SUMMER! SUMMER! OMG SUMMER!)

Sophomore Hayden Dalsing also dropped a 33-second PR (wait, summer?) in the middle of scoring 7th for the Viking men with a 19:36 (6:25). Senior Justin Parks saw solid improvement by running a faster mile average with a 20:12 (6:37) on a hillier course than his debut cross-country race at the Rancho Invite the previous week. Freshman counterparts Lucas Morthole (20:14 (6:38)) and Jaymon George (21:09 (6:56)) continued to deliver strong performances in their quest for varsity tenure.

Next up on the blog is the breakdown of the varsity races at the Lowell Invitational in Golden Gate Park on Sept. 8!

Montgomery opens season at Rancho Cotate Invitational (Aug. 31)

IMG_2418Montgomery XC opened their season at the Rancho Cotate Invitational on Aug. 31. The flagship flat and fast 2.97 mile course was shortened to an interesting 2.72 length due to construction on Rancho’s campus.

Returning 2017 CIF State XC qualifier Leah Haley out-kicked newly formed rival Alyssa Hammer of Rincon Valley Christian in the final 200m after a stride for stride battle in the last half of the race to take the win in the varsity girls race in a blistering 16:50 (6:11). While returning fellow 2017 Triple Threat compatriot Mariah Briceno was out of town, sophomore Abbey Colvin followed up a strong track & field season to finish second for the varsity women with a 20:03 (7:22). Returning 2017 Deadly Duo member Isabel Holmes rounded out the showing with a 20:04 (7:23) for varsity, who had to field an incomplete team due to many of their teammates suffering from a sudden onset of late summer colds.

For the junior varsity women, XC newcomer and senior Hannah Hermann posted a strong performance scoring first and finishing 6th for the Vikings in a 20:32 (7:32). Returning sophomore Fiona Sweet ran a strong race with a 21:21 (7:50) to score in the top 10. The Goshgarian sisters Serena (sophomore) and Savannah (senior) went 3-4 in their finishes with a 23:04 (8:28) and a 23:10 (8:31). Freshman Julia Lusnia nipped closely at their heels closing out the scoring for the top five with a 23:11 (8:31).

Returning juniors Jessica Dueck and Lulu Devoulin rounded out the top seven, and Italian exchange student (one of two on the team this year – our athletic director mildly accused me of international recruitment this season!) and senior Michol Ottolenghi proved her mettle in her first race as a Viking.

On the varsity men’s side, senior Brandon Alvarado packed a personal punch following a strong summer of mileage and scored first for the Vikings with a 15:03 (5:31). Alvarado was followed with a strong performance from senior Brent Oru-Craig in a 15:37 (5:44). Rounding out the top five were seniors Justin Richter 15:54 (5:50), Kyle Theuerkauf  16:00 (5:52) and Garrett Hurd 16:51 (6:11). Sophomore Sebastian Herbst and junior Kibreab Tesfamichael completed the top seven for the varsity men Friday.

IMG_2419Leading a contingent of 16 Viking men in the junior varsity race was sophomore Hayden Dalsing, who posted a faster time than both Herbst and Tesfamichael with a 16:57 (6:13) to finish within the top 20 of the race. Newcomer and junior Isaac Reis demonstrated his strong varsity potential by also posting a faster time than Tesfamichael with a 17:01 (6:15). Rounding out the top five were freshman Lucas Morthole, football player turned promising runner Justin Parks, and returning senior Josh Jones. Completing the top seven were freshman Jaymon George with an 18:44 (6:53) and sophomore Dillon Kiernan 18:51 (6:55) -an impressive performance considering Kiernan had only been out for the team for two days!

The additional (9) Viking men running were able to get their feet wet with 2018 season competition, many of them suiting up for the first time in Viking colors. Their hard-working performances will pay off and serve them well as they continue their season.

Grant Hurd (10) 19:24 7:07
Giulio Giurino (11) 19:33 7:11
August Curtis (9) 20:09 7:24
Loki Fuller (9) 21:20 7:50
Andy Hagemann (11) 21:41 7:58
Bryan Aguirre (9) 21:55 8:03
Jason Yepez-Ruiz (10) 22:08 8:08
Luke Triola (12) 24:00 8:49
Jake Howe (12) 24:20 8:56

The Vikings return to the races on Wednesday for the annual Bob Shor Invitational hosted by our orange-and-black clad blood rival Santa Rosa at Spring Lake. The varsity will run the regular home course and the junior varsity will run a shortened 2-mile course. Races kick off at 3:45 p.m. – see you there!

NBL League Meet #1 (Oct. 4)

The Viking women attacked their first league meet of the season with vigor on Wednesday at Carillo’s construction zone filled campus.

triplethreatThe new “Triple Threat” of Mariah Briceno, Leah Haley and Jasmine Becker paced each other strongly throughout the first half of the race, following closely on the heels of Carillo’s two top women who led the race at the beginning. The remainder of Carillo’s top five and Ukiah’s top runner strung out behind the Triple Threat and just in front of the “Deadly Duo” of Grace Mackey and Isabel Holmes.

Briceno’s strong kick led her to finish first for the Vikings in 4th at the tri-meet, followed shortly after by Technology transfer Haley in 6th, full of pent up energy after being benched for the entire pre-season due to NCS transfer policy. Becker finished immediately behind Haley in 7th.

Mackey had one of her best races of the season for a ninth place finish, catching Carillo’sdeadlyduo 6th girl in the chute and nearly nipping their fifth as well. Holmes followed Mackey in 12th to complete the Viking quintuple. Abbey Colvin and Savannah Goshgarian raced well to finish out the varsity seven, completing the win against northern competitor Ukiah handily. While the Viking women fell to Carillo, they ran closer to them than ever before and will continue to chase them down throughout the season.

The rest of the Montgomery team struggled racing the reigning NBL Varsity and JV champions Carillo and northern competitor Ukiah, losing to both. While Fiona Sweet was out with ankle trouble, Maia Fingerlos led the JV girls team, followed by Serena Goshgarian, Jessica Celli, Jessica Dueck and Lulu Devoulin.

garrettOn the JV Boys side, Garrett Hurd led the team, followed shortly by Joshua Jones. Tan Luong, Grant Hurd and Ben Howe finished out the top five. Ryan Ward and JV Captain Jake Howe completed the top seven.

The varsity boys, though briefly crippled by the temporary loss of Brent Oru-Craig and Brandon Alvarado due to illness and injury, still had strong performances from Kyle Theurkauf and Ramon Cruz. Theurkauf led the Viking men finishing in 8th. Cruz came in next, followed by a strong performance from Justin Richter.  Freshmen Sebastian Herbst and Jaden Fernandez stepped in for the missing juniors, with Herbst scoring fourth for the Vikings. Jacob Williams continued to press through his battle with pneumonia to complete the top five. Charles Fisher and Kibby Tesfamichael continued their smart work together to finish the varsity showing for the day.

The Vikings will next journey south to Petaluma to meet strong rival Casa Grande as well as Cardinal Newman for their second league meet of the season.

Piner Invitational & TMU Invitational (Sept. 27/30)


Piner Invitational

The JV and a few varsity went up the freeway to Windsor for a quick scrimmage against Piner and Casa Grande at Piner’s tough XX mile course at Foothills Park. The remainder of the varsity team rested their legs for their Southern California debut on Saturday at the TMU Invitational in Los Angeles.

While the JV boys fell to Casa Grande and Piner, they ran in a tight pack and had multiple PRs. Fiona Sweet continued her winning streak from the previous week and won the JV Girls race.

Though Isabel Holmes and Abbey Colvin were unable to travel with the varsity team to Southern California, they delivered solid performances in the varsity girls’ race, finishing third and fifth respectively. Also unable to travel, Justin Richter led the Viking varsity boys showing, followed by freshmen Jaden Hernandez and Sebastian Herbst.

TMU Invitational (Los Angeles)

IMG_8918-1The Viking varsity teams traveled down to Santa Clarita’s Central Park to attend the TMU Invitational on Sept. 30, where they would compete against such SoCal powerhouses as Saugus and Arcadia High School. The invitational also allowed the Vikings to catch some college races including teams from UCLA, UC Davis and UC Irvine. 

The Viking men kicked things off for the day with strong performances from Kyle Theurkauf and Ramon Cruz finishing in the top 20 at the 5K distance. Theurkauf came in 11th and Cruz came in 17th. Brandon Alvarado, Jacob Williams, Charles Fisher and Kibby Tesfamichael completed the charge of Viking men to take fifth overall team in the meet, generating a top five callout by the meet’s announcers.

IMG_9017-1The Viking women matched up the men’s performance with an equal fifth place team finish. Jasmine Becker scored a top 10 finisher t-shirt in her seventh place finish with a time of 20:26 (6:35). Mariah Briceno came in 13th in only her second stab at the full 5K distance. Grace Mackey, Savannah Goshgarian, Ashley Keyte and Maia Fingerlos completed the Viking women’s showing, while Technology transfer Leah Haley cheered on her team in preparation for her own debut as a Viking at the team’s first NBL tri-meet this upcoming Wednesday.

IMG_9010-1Following a brisk morning of racing, the varsity team enjoyed an entire day at Six Flags Magic Mountain to complete their Southern California adventure before heading home the next day.

The Vikings will look to see how they stack up against reigning NBL champions Maria Carillo and northern league competitor Ukiah High on Wednesday, Oct. 4, in a new 2.8 mile course on Carillo’s campus.

NBL/SCL Interlock (Sept. 20)

This year’s annual NBL/SCL Interlock on the Spring Lake home course included Analy, Cardinal Newman, Casa Grande and Piner.

21082937_10154869513642816_2829242527766306740_oThe Viking varsity and JV women had their first win of 2017 at the Interlock, both as a team and as individuals in a swatch of exciting performances. Mariah Briceno outkicked Casa Grande’s Siena Wigert (who won the Bob Shor Invitational earlier this year) and teammate Jasmine Becker to take home the win in a 19:44 (6:28) and a 25-second PR.  

Becker finished third in 19:47 (), followed by Isabel Holmes in 6th who knocked off nearly four minutes from her season opening time with a 20:31. Grace Mackey’s 20:50 was strong enough for a 7th place finish and Abbey Colvin’s 22:00 was a nearly three-minute improvement from her season opener, completed the winning top five. Jessica Celli filed her own 10-second PR with a 23:56 to complete the varsity performances.

JV Viking girls winner Fiona Sweet took an early lead during the first mile and won handily in a 22:37, another dramatic nearly three-minute improvement from her season opening time at the Bob Shor Invitational. Serena Goshgarian took fifth place 24:25, followed by teammate Ashley Keyte in 6th 24:36. Freshman Cristina Palacios ran her first race for the Vikings in a 25:41 and sophomore Jessica Dueck 26:26 rounded out the top five. Sophomore Lulu Devoulin completed the JV Viking girls’ performances with her first Spring Lake race in 29:16.

The Viking JV boys were led by Kibby Tesfamichael with a massive 1:29 second PR to come in eighth in the race in a 19:23. 

The Varsity boys struggled at the interlock, with some like Brent Oru-Craig having to sit out entirely and others racing slowly due to various bouts of injury and illness ranging from colds to walking pneumonia. 

PhillipUnhindered by ailments, Brandon Alvarado still delivered a strong performance to lead the Vikings, again pulling off a double improvement by breaking 18 and 17 minutes for the Spring Lake course in the same race, knocking 1:58 seconds of his season opening PR of 18:52 to drop to an impressive 16:50 (5:31). Kyle Theurkauf ran his first Spring Lake course of the season in a fine 17:37, followed immediately by teammate Ramon Cruz in 17:44 and later by Justin Richter 18:28 ().

Jacob Williams, despite walking pneumonia ran a time of 18:49, out-kicking teammate and flying freshman Sebastian Herbst’s 18:50 to round out the top five. Herbst dropped nearly two minutes off of his season opening time to finish sixth for the Vikings. Charles Fisher logged his first Spring Lake PR since his sophomore year, dropping an 18 seconds off of his time to register a 19:02.  Fisher spent most of his junior year cross-country season still somewhat recovering from a broken foot during an encounter with a water jump in an exhibition steeplechase during the 2016 track season.

Since the meet allowed for 10 varsity runners, freshman Jaden Fernandez had a chance to race his first full Spring Lake course finishing in a respectable 19:28. Cross-country newcomer and junior Joshua Jones opened his season at the meet with a 20:33.

The Vikings will split up again next week with JV attending the Piner Invitational at Foothills Park in Windsor and the varsity will journey down to Southern California to attend the college & high school TMU Invitational meet in Santa Clarita’s Central Park.

Viking Opener Invitational (Sept. 16)

mhs team 1 viking xc 2017The Vikings returned to Spring Lake on Sept. 16 to host their annual legendary Viking Opener Invitational. Montgomery hosted 40 junior high and high school teams from around the Bay Area for the 33rd edition of the 2-mile race.

Kicking things off for the Vikings was flying freshman Sebastian Herbst coming in 17th overall and zooming his way into tying for 16th on the top 25 Viking freshman all-time list in a time of 11:53 (5:57). Hayden Dalsing, Jaden Fernandez, Ben Howe and Tan Luong completed the fast freshman five.  

The sophomore boys race included PRs from Kibby Tesfamichael and Andrew Hagemann, and the Viking Opener debuts of Ryan Ward and Julian Hines.


The frosh/soph girls race delivered some of the top Viking performances of the day, as the Viking frosh/soph girls edged out archrival Santa Rosa by one point to steal second place behind Division V powerhouse and first time Viking Opener competitors Lick Wilmerding. Mariah Briceno led the team, finishing second overall in the race and jumping to 10th all-time Viking sophomore girl on the class record list. Freshman Isabel Holmes sped into 7th and Abbey Colvin into 18th on the top 25 freshman girls list. Freshmen Fiona Sweet and Cristina Palacios completed the fastest Viking frosh/soph girls team in years.

The Alumni race saw Viking participants from around the nation and world come to participate, generating perhaps one of the largest showings in recent years.

The junior boys race had long been the previewed race of the day as the class had previous success at the 2016 Viking Opener taking second in the sophomore boys race. The junior boys, primed and determined for success, won their division handily in a team average of 11:07 and 13 points ahead of second place team Vintage. IMG_8853Brent Oru-Craig and Kyle Theurkauf (who were so dramatically close in track season they ran the exact same 1600m times down to the hundreth of a second in completely different heats at the Dublin Distance Fiesta) led the Viking juniors in class record making times of 11:02 for Oru-Craig (tied for #20) and 11:06 for Theurkauf (#23). Justin Richter rounded out the top three, repeating his 11th place finish from 2016, but with a XX-PR in 11:XX. Brandon Alvarado and Garrett Hurd also had PRs to round out the top five. The boys were rewarded for their efforts by receiving their top 20 medals and ribbons in the chute from Viking alum and Olympian Kim Conley herself, whom they had informed their coach would be attending through some social media sleuthing before Conley even had.

IMG_8851The junior/senior girls were led by the top women’s performance of the day in senior Jasmine Becker’s launch onto the top 25 Viking all-time list with her 12:58 () mark in a tie for 19th and a tie for 10th on the senior class record list. Becker was followed by Grace Mackey, Savannah Goshgarian, Maia Fingerlos and Jessica Celli. Goshgarian and Celli had the primary PRs of the day with x and x respectively.

While the Open Girls race was nearly overrun with the yellow uniforms of Lick Wilmerding, New Zealander Ashley Keyte led the rest of the Viking women across the line in her first Viking Opener experience. Jessica Dueck and Lulu Devoulin completed their own Viking Opener debuts to round out the rest of the girls team.

Ramon Cruz and Charles Fisher were the lone Viking representatives in the senior boys race as Jacob Williams was sidelined with what would eventually be determined as walking pneumonia. Fisher generated a xx-PR with his time of xx.

In the Open Boys, Gage Hallin had perhaps the largest PR of the day, knocking xx seconds off in his time of xx to lead the rest of the Viking boys’ team across the line. Jake Howe had his own PR with xx, and Grant Hurd made his Viking debut chasing after his brother’s freshman year time. Jordan Haley, Jimmy Mackey and Luke Triola completed the open boys performances. 

Viking alum and Olympian Kim Conley was on hand to present the team awards of the day, closing a beautiful day of racing for all Viking runners.

Wednesday sees the Vikings attending one of the annual NBL/SCL Interlocks on Sept. 20.

Rancho Invite + Lowell Invite (Sept. 8/9)

Rancho Cotate Invitational

While Vikings have more recently attended the Rancho Cotate Invitational as their season opener, the meet was rescheduled due to football conflicts. This led to only the Viking JV squads being able to compete due to the Viking varsity team attending the San Francisco Lowell Invitational the next day in Golden Gate Park. 


Freshman Isabel Holmes logged a 22:21 (7:31) to come in second in the JV Girls race on the flat and fast 2.97 course. Holmes was followed by freshman Fiona Sweet, whose 23:14 (7:49) mark took 7th place. New Zealand import and junior Ashley Keyte opened her season coming in third for the Vikings with a 24:21 (8:12), and freshman Serena Goshgarian 25:08 () came in fourth. While cross-country newcomers and Viking sprinters Jessica Dueck’s and Lulu Devoulin’s official times were lost due to a timing error, coaching staff logged their times as roughly X for Dueck and X for Devoulin.

On the JV Boys side, all Viking times were also unofficial due to timing errors and mishaps and we are still waiting for the results to come out.

Lowell Invitational

Varsity Vikings journeyed down to Golden Gate Park to attend the Lowell Invitational,  a meet varsity began attending last year which generally has good racing weather and produces fast times.

lowellThe varsity girls kicked things off for the meet with a strong team average of 20:57 (7:09) for the top five on the 2.93 mile course. Jasmine (Jazzy) Becker played her own tune of jazz music for her potential new college coaches at Academy of Art University with a 19:23 (6:37), a rousing 1:28 second PR from her 2016 race. Sophomore Mariah Briceno followed closely with her own dramatic 1:39 second PR of 19:38 (6:42). Grace Mackey paced for the Viking’s third with a 21:08 (7:12), while freshman Abbey Colvin had the surprise performance of the day with her 21:21 (7:17) time – nearly four minutes faster than her Spring Lake opener. Savannah Goshgarian registered a 23:12 (7:55) a 21-second PR, and Jessica Celli logged a solid 23:50 (8:08) to complete the team’s performances.

The varsity boys also had an excellent team average of 16:38 (5:40) in their race. The team was again led by Brent Oru-Craig with a 16:24 (5:36), followed by a recovered and operational Ramon Cruz with a 16:33 (5:39). Coming in third for the Viking was Jacob Williams with 16:42 (5:42), a 22-second PR, doubtlessly related to his own summer training. Kyle Theurkauf opened his 2017 season with a six second PR in a 16:43. Brandon Alvarado had the men’s performance of the day while successfully breaking 18 and 17 minutes for the first time ever on any course over 2.9 miles with a time of 16:46 (5:43) to round out the top five. Dramatic PRs were registered by the remainder of the Viking varsity squad when Justin Richter took sixth with a 17:20 (5:55) knocking 22 seconds off his previous time and Charles Fisher took seventh with a startling 1:45 second PR to complete the top seven in a time of 18:52 (6:26).

Next up? The Vikings host the 33rd annual Viking Opener Invitational at Spring Lake Park.