Northside Cross Country Stampedes through Opening Meet of School Year
by Alex Perman
On Sept. 9, 2017, Northside’s cross country team had its first meet of the school year. The varsity team traveled to Detweiller Park in Peoria, IL for the First to the Finish Invitational. At the same time, the junior varsity team made their way to Horner Park, in Chicago, for the DePaul Academy Ram Invitational/Catholic Cup Elementary Meet. The meets that Northside attended consisted of distance runs; each event included a three-mile run and the team participated in both the open and varsity events.
When asked about the highlights of the meet in Peoria, boys varsity captain Kristopher Ushijima, Adv. 910, said that “some of the fastest times of the season were set there.” Ushijima ran a time of 17:28, a personal best for him and a 21 second improvement over his previous record.
Two seconds behind Ushijima, Seth Karall, Adv. 007, finished with a time of 17:30.3. With this time, Karall became the youngest Northsider to run a three-mile in under 18 minutes. Other notable times include: John Kim, Adv. 906, who finished with a time of 17:26.3 and Gabriel Vara, Adv. 900, with a time of 18:27.7. Not far behind were Aaron Williams, Adv. 906, Jalen Miron, Adv. 010, and Jarron Long, Adv. 903, who finished with times of 18:45.5, 19:09.4, and 20:03.9 respectively. Overall, Northside finished 44th in the meet.
According to Ushijima, “the girls’ event also went quite well and many of them put up some strong times.” Erin Franke, Adv. 908, finished with a time of 19:09.2, which was the fastest girl’s three-mile of the season. Girl’s varsity captain Sara McCoy, Adv. 807, ran a 19:43.6 and Faith Zehfuss, Adv. 904, finished with a time of 20:23.3. The team ran well as a whole and placed 26th in the event.
Ushijima also noted an unexpected result from the meet, saying that freshman Ezra Hill, Adv. 106, ran 18:30.1 in his first ever three-mile race.
Ushijima is hopeful that the team will have a chance to run at a meet in Woodbridge, CA if they can meet scheduling requirements. Otherwise, the team will participate in a meet in Libertyville, IL. After that, one more meet is scheduled until the championships so his priorities for the team are for no injuries and for everyone to put in their best efforts before the biggest races.
Boys junior varsity captain Daniel Panganiban, Adv. 905, who ran a personal record time of 20:58.7, admitted that he didn’t feel too tired throughout the race and felt the course was flat for the most part. He also said that the more level track could have attributed to his and the rest of the team’s improvement overall. He also said that the weather that day was sunny and windy, which is perfect weather for a meet. Northside participated in both the open and freshman/sophomore events at the DePaul Invitational and made a strong showing at both races. The boys freshmen/sophomore race yielded some great times, which included: Jeronimo Najarro, Adv. 002, who ran a 19:38.9 and Payton Kayne, Adv. 005, who finished with a time of 20:12.8. The Mustangs had three runners finish in the top 50 percent of the event and the team finished in 12th place.
The girls also did very well in their freshman/sophomore race. Every one of the six runners in that meet finished in the top 50. Some notable times from that race came from Kate Clemen, Adv. 005, Joselyn Santos, Adv. 009, Maria Avina, Adv. 106, and Aiyana Buchanan, Adv. 006. The group led the team to a 5th place
In the boys three-mile open event, Northside finished in the 5th place overall. Carel Jones, Adv. 802, got an astounding 18th place with a time of 19:24.7 and Natnael Seyum, Adv. 009, finished just 0.2 seconds before Panganiban. A total of 13 strong times were put up for that race.
The girls’ three-mile open also went great despite Northside slight lack of showing with only three runners racing in that event. Kimberly Lu, Adv. 808, ended up with a time of 24:22 along with two other Northsiders running very solid times.
Overall, Northside put up many strong results at last weekend's various meets. The cross country team has a lot of determination to continue running solid times before the championship rolls around.