Montgomery hosts largest Viking Opener Invitational in history

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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.

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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!