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