The cross-country season is off to a slow start.
None of the four experienced runners on the team—senior Ethan Ham, juniors Adam Ketchum and Elinor Hilton, or sophomore John Hansen—have improved their times from previous years.
Coach Nick Domich thinks that this is partly due to the lack of attendance at practices.
Junior Adam Ketchum agrees.
“I understand why people aren’t consistent,” Ketchum said. “For me, it is very difficult to get to practices when I have two tests and a quiz the next day.”
Of the veteran runners, only Hansen’s running form has improved, according to Domich.
“He has gone to more practices than the others, and he ran during the summer with an eye on being a better cross country runner,” Domich said.
Although the veteran runners aren’t doing as well as in the past, three new members have joined the team—juniors Emma Belliveau and Keaton Ochoa and freshman Ulises Barajas.
Belliveau decided to switch from volleyball to cross country because of time commitments.
“I wanted to join something more relaxed for my busy junior year,” Belliveau said.
She also chose to join because she enjoys long-distance running and getting exercise.
At the Oakmont Invitational at Maidu Park, Aug. 30, Belliveau ran a varsity 4,000-meter race.
She received a time of 19:25, with the winning time being 14:34.
“Although my race times aren’t the best in the world, and I haven’t improved my times, I have definitely improved my endurance,” Belliveau said.
Belliveau’s main goal this season is to get her mile-run time under seven minutes.
Ochoa’s reasons for joining were similar to Belliveau’s.
Since Ochoa has had knee problems his entire life, he wanted to strengthen his knees and to become more fit.
Barajas joined because his sister, Janice, ’14, ran cross country.
“I always went to her meets when I was in middle school, and it was a lot of fun to see her run at the events,” Barajas said.
“One of my goals this season is to get my sister to come to one of my meets for a change.”
His first meet was the Josh Ruff Memorial Trojan 10th Annual Cross Country Invitational at the Willow Hills Reservoir Course, Sept. 20.
At that meet Barajas ran the frosh/soph 3,400-meter race, receiving a time of 14:50, with 12:17 being the winning time. He also placed 70th out of 121.
“My time really surprised me,” Barajas said. “Especially since it was my first race, I thought that I would have ranked lower.”
Barajas attributes his success to his state of mind while running the race.
“I just thought about the finish line and how happy I would be when I finally crossed it,” he said.
Although there are only three meets remaining in the season, Domich is still working on improving the runners’ skills.
Each practice begins with A, B, C and D skips to help running form. Next, the runners step over and under and swing their legs over hurdles for hip mobility.
For strength training, they do different types of crawls, including baby, leopard and Spiderman crawls.
Three days a week they run 4 miles, one day they practice hill running and one day they practice running intervals.
“Intervals are the worst,” Ketchum said. “We literally just run in circles around the soccer field.”