Dons Compete at State Meet, Notch All-Time Marks
The California cross country season came to a close this afternoon with all the pageantry that comes with the state meet. Amador Valley was well represented by three athletes, competing as individuals. While most of the school is taking a break, Hope Bergmark, Derica Su, and Aidan Boyle, along with a few supporting athletes, were out training each morning, getting ready for the biggest race of the season. And at the conclusion of their Thanksgiving holiday, it was right back to business for all three a we traveled to Fresno at 8 AM on Friday morning. After a run through of the course and a few strides from the starting box, the athletes picked up their souvenirs and took a few pictures. We took in the whole atmosphere and at the same time, got ready for the big day, then went to lunch. The afternoon was spent relaxing at the hotel and we concluded the evening with a pasta dinner at a local restaurant.
We woke up to calm weather that would warm up quickly. It was in the 70’s by the time the ladies raced at 10:35 and was 80 degrees by the time Aidan raced at 12:05. The elevated temperatures make everyone’s accomplishments all the more impressive. In the girls’ race, Derica got great position early where Hope got boxed in and pushed toward the wrong side of the course. She was able to recover and amazingly, despite starting in boxes on opposite sides of the starting line, they came through the mile just .6 seconds apart in 5:50.9 (Hope) and 5:51.5 (Derica) in 70th and 72nd place. The pace was slightly slower than what we planned on, but with the temperature slightly higher than expected, it was a good adjustment for the girls. As the race progressed, Derica moved in front of Hope, but both began to move up in the race. Derica was strong going into the hill and was running a very determined race. Hope was struggling, but still fighting. As they ran by me at the top of the hill, their faces told the story of their races. Both faces said, “This hurts.” Derica’s face was that of confidence. Hope’s face said, “This is not the way I wanted this to go, but I have work to do and I will not give up.” At the mile to go mark, Derica had moved up to 46th place and Hope had moved up and then fallen back and at the end of it had lost just one spot and was in 71st. Derica continued to battle moving up as high as 41st place, 30 places ahead of where she was at the mile mark. In the crowd down the stretch she wasn’t able to hold all of those spots, but she ran the most impressive race of the day, finishing in 45th in a time of 19:07 (#9 all-time at Amador Valley). That time is 40 seconds faster than she ran at the Clovis Invitational in early October. Meanwhile, we’ve all been in those races that seem to go South at the 2 mile mark, and that’s where Hope was at. Those miles are hard. And that’s how Hope ran. Hard. In her position, most athletes lose places in the last mile, but Hope fought herself, the course, and her opponents to the end and actually gained 5 spots against her competition, moving up to 66th place and ran a very solid time of 19:27. Because there was a tie for #9 on the all-time list, no one was bumped off of the all-time list.
Up next was the boys’ race. Aidan Boyle started in the same starting box as Derica did and similarly, got very good starting position in the race. In a very fast first mile (4:42 for the leaders), Aidan stayed disciplined and sat back in 65th place in a first mile time of 4:55. Much like Derica, Aidan spent the second mile moving past the athletes who did not stay disciplined. He did not make a big surge, but methodically passed the athletes as they let go of their early pace. He had some trouble at the top of the hill in about 50th place, but found his stride again and moved to 44th place with a mile to go. Aidan stayed mostly steady for the next 1000m passing just 3 runners, but then found his 800m speed in the final 500m and passed another 6 athletes finishing with the highest Amador Valley finish of the day in 35th place. His time of 16:06 was a 5 second PR from the Clovis Invitational and was good enough to tie for 7th all-time on the course. No longer qualifying for the top 10 list are Mike Marlin, who was part of the 2008 team that finished 11th in the state and also Jack Gray, who ran his tie earlier this season. Both Mike and Jack checked in at 16:10. Mike’s time on the list is over, but I suspect that Jack will find himself back on the list soon and at a much higher position than #10.
Full results from the state meet can be found at http://www.rtspt.com/events/cif/xc2017/.
On my way home from the meet, I stopped in at the Hampton Inn, Madera where we stayed. I made reservations for enough rooms for the boys’ and girls’ team next November 23rd. So mark your calendars, because you’ve got somewhere to be.
Although the official high school season is over, a contingent of boys will be heading down to Southern California next weekend to run at the Footlocker Western Regional race, held at Mt. SAC. I will send that update when the race is complete.
I have attached the updated top 10 list, which is the final top 10 list from the 2017 season.
The document State_Top_10.pdf was attached to this post.