By Chris Carlson
They’re back in action! The 2011 Alameda High School cross country team returns most of a varsity squad that in 2010 placed third at the North Coast Section D2 Championships and 23rd at last year's CIF D2 State XC Championships.
“It all starts with a summer of solid base training. You have to train smart and be patient,” said fifth-year Coach Nino Hernandez. “The beauty of this sport lies both in its team aspect and the fact that what counts is not where you start but where you finish. We have a four-year plan for every group of incoming freshmen. I am impressed with the dedication of our returning runners this past summer and encouraged by our new guys. They are exceeding our expectations and the workouts of previous freshmen. We also have a great parent support group. They are literally the wheels for travel, workouts, and organizational activities like fundraising and awards night at the end of the season.”
Joining the team this year are assistant coaches Nathan Brassmassery and Marty Beene. The Hornets are still fairly young, have some quality, depth and runners capable of moving this team to a higher level.
AHS the runner-up to Berkeley High last year in the ACCAL will continue its methodical approach as the Hornets train and compete in league meets and 4-5 invitationals this fall.
In varsity cross country races, the top five of a team’s seven runners score points based on their finishing places. The team with the lowest cumulative team score wins. Every runner can impact the scoring and teams that maintain close, tight packs often do well. Total team times and individual performances, like those in track and field, allow individuals and teams from different races and even different years to be compared. That’s what’s great about sports involving time and measurement. Runners can compare their efforts to those of a friend who raced a course two weeks ago or to an uncle or coach who may have run the same course 20 years ago.
To be successful this year, Alameda will need tight pack performances along with some strong up-front efforts from juniors Duc Nguyen, Steven Carlson, and sophomore standout Cameron Tu. These three runners had exceptional performances both last year in XC and this past spring Track season.
Other returning runners expected to vie for varsity spots include seniors Emmanuel Boquiren, Daniel Arnstein and Nicholas Raber, juniors Michael Moler, Chris Parsons, Deepak Sharma and sophomore Andrew Liu. Younger teams like Alameda that have depth at the JV and Frosh/Soph levels often experience surprising team changes as runners mature. And this team now has additional talent looking to move up the team charts.
The Hornets open their season at the Lowell Invitational in Golden Gate Park Sept 17th. The excitement will build toward the November 19th NCS Championships in Hayward. Alameda will face up to 20 Division 2 rivals including 2010 Champions San Ramon Valley and quality teams from Maria Carrillo, Dougherty Valley, American (Fremont) and College Park. At stake will be individual and team honors and the opportunity for the top three D2 teams to compete at the CIF State XC Championships in Fresno November 26th.
Do you have an update about a local athlete or team that you'd like to see posted on Alameda Patch? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org