Contrary to its name, the Dana Hills Invitational supplies a mostly flat and occasionally even downhill course. As Head Coach Brian Bivens describes it, it is notoriously known as a “PR (personal record) course.” Last Saturday morning, the Barons’ cross country team proved this legend true.
The team first ran in the boys’ senior/invitational race. It was led by junior Benjamin Prado with a time of 15:00 and senior Shane Hill with a time of 15:41. They placed 7th and 44th, respectively.
“I didn’t get to the expectations that I wanted to,” Hill said. “But, overall, I was glad I was able to stay consistent within the time frame that I wanted. For my consistent splits at the start, I wanted to go faster and I wanted my last split to go a lot faster than my first split, which I was able to do. I’m excited for League Finals.”
The next race of the morning was the girls’ senior/invitational race. Senior Kaho Cichon placed third with a time of 16:58 — a PR and new three-mile (women’s) record for the school. Seniors Samantha Martinez and Megan Feitz followed up with respective times of 17:44 and 18:54.
The boys’ junior race was next in line, and it was led by juniors Noah Korhonen, Mark Orme and Jonathan Tran. Each one of them PRed with times of 18:17, 18:38 and 18:41.
Juniors Evelyn To and Jennifer Nguyen led the girls’ junior race next. To placed 5th overall with a PR of 18:50. Likewise, Nguyen also PRed with a time of 19:54 and placed 16th.
With the sun barely creeping out, the team continued with the boys’ sophomore race. Sophomore Andrew Hsieh continued the bewildering streak of PRs with a time of 17:23. Trailing behind were sophomores Bernardo Enriquez and Blake Hughes with times of 19:02 and 20:15.
Similarly, the girls’ sophomore team performed remarkably with sophomore Alinne Dao placing 39th with a time of 21:12, a PR for her. Breezing through the finish line next were sophomores Melissa Huynh and Mariana Hernandez, who were barely a second apart with respective times of 22:01 and 22:02.
“The race was great and there was a lot of adrenaline coming in,” Dao said. “My strategy was to try to get out as fast as possible and to hold it up for the first two miles, and then to go all out on the last.”
Following the sophomore races were the freshmen. The boys’ freshmen race was run solely by freshmen Ethan Kwong and Braxton To. Kwong placed 15th with a time of 17:29, and To placed 47th with 18:25.
The team concluded the meet with the freshmen girls’ performances — all of them PRing. Freshman Aya Roque placed tenth overall with a time of 20:18. Freshmen Hailey Tran and Kate Tanner weren’t too far behind with times of 21:39 and 22:52. Tanner, notably, improved by over two-and-a-half minutes from her last PR, which had been 25:27.
“It was satisfying. I cried happy tears — it was the most amazing feeling,” Tanner said. “I knew I needed to go out fast and put my head over my feet on the downhills. Other than that, I just tried to run the best race I could.”
The morning ended with glistening faces among the team — in relief and pride and, of course, sweat. The Barons finished their third meet of the season with lines of PRs, but the promise of a strong season.