Rain, flooding close cross country courses, creating challenging routes for runners

Photo used by permission of Larkin Barnard-Bahn
Freshman Charlie Acquisto pushes on in the freshman two-mile. 

Although SCDS has run in the SMAL (Sacramento Metropolitan Athletic League) League Championship before, the course the cross country team ran on Oct. 23 had never been run.

Coach Nick Domich had to create a route on the spot due to the normal track being flooded, which he didn’t know about until he arrived on Oct. 23 to mark the usual course.

This is not the first time flooding has closed a track. Five or six years ago, flooding took out one of the three common routes, according to Domich. Last winter, he said, rain shut down the second track. They were left with only one of their original routes, which now contains a swamp-like area.

“It changed everything,” Domich said. “Now there’s like zero (courses). We’re just making it up as we go along.”

Since Domich couldn’t measure three miles accurately and quickly, he estimated the new course to be slightly under three miles.

The most challenging part of this new route was the steep hill, which freshman Charlie Acquisto estimated to be twice as steep as the hills the team usually runs.

“The last course had hills, but it wasn’t like that one,” sophomore Christopher Wilson, who participated in last year’s SMAL League Championship, said. “(Last year’s was) less (like a) 90-degree angle.”

Because of the hill, the route was much more difficult according to Wilson. At first, Wilson said he thought the race was going to be easy, but the sharp hill discouraged him. “My calves were just burning,” he said.

Acquisto said he was proud of completing the hill and that it was refreshing to finish.

Of 52 runners, Acquisto placed 46th with a time of 21:13.2, and Wilson finished 42nd in 19:42.1. Senior Riya Rampalli didn’t attend the meet because she didn’t feel well, she said.

One aspect that stood out about the meet was the support of the other racers, according to Wilson.

“Everyone was giving each other encouragement, no matter which team someone was on,” Wilson said.

The team also participated in the FLAT SAC meet on Oct. 21. Acquisto finished the freshman and sophomore two-mile race in 18:00.09 (155th of 161). Rampalli ran the women’s varsity 5K in 32:23.88 (158th of 158).

The team had to miss two weeks of practice in the heart of the season, Domich said, adding to the setback of the lost course. One missed week was because of terrible air quality, and the other because of school trips. This especially hurt Wilson, as he started the season a few weeks late, according to Domich.

In upcoming practices, Domich said he wants the runners to push themselves to do six miles instead of their usual three or four, which he said doesn’t prepare them well. Additionally, Domich said he wants them to mentally prepare for what is possibly their last meet of the year.

Their next meet, the CIF Sac-Joaquin Subsection Meet, will be on Saturday, Nov. 4, at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds.

—By Larkin Barnard-Bahn

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