Cross Country honors seniors at league finals as girls qualify to CCS


Erica Cai

Seniors Nikhil Sharma, Grant Miner, Evan Cheng, Richard Hu and Martin Bourdev pose with their posters and candy-filled garlands. This meet was their final cross country meet of high school.

by Aditya Singhvi and Erica Cai

The Cross Country team honored 15 seniors as the girls’ team qualified to the CCS Championships at the last league meet of the season, held at Crystal Springs Cross Country Course on Friday.

The girls’ team — led by 3rd-place Anna Weirich (11), 19th-place Ritika Rajamani (10) and 33rd-place Erica Cai (10) — finished fifth out of 13 teams in the WBAL and qualified to CCS based on their average time of 21:26.1, ahead of the at-large qualifying time of 22:12. This marks the first time since 2015 that any Harker cross country team has qualified for the CCS Championships.

In the varsity boys race, freshman Rigo Gonzales finished 14th with a time of 17:22.9, qualifying individually to the CCS Championships. His time represents the second-fastest time ever by a Harker freshman at Crystal Springs, behind only his brother Corey Gonzales (’15).

The 15 seniors — Nikhil Sharma, Grant Miner, Evan Cheng, Rohan Cherukuri, Richard Hu, Martin Bourdev, Nathan Wang, Emma Li, Ellen Guo, Annabelle Ju, Eileen Li, Vani Mohindra, Delaney Logue, Anvi Banga and Rashmi Iyer — were honored with flowers, balloons, garlands, and candy following the four races.

“I loved ending my four years at Crystal Springs, after having run there quite often for practices, meets, and league finals. I’ve had my worst and greatest moments at Crystal, and going there one last time felt like retracing the steps of my cross country journey all over again, from start to finish,” Richard Hu (12) said.

During the race, spectators and teammates held up senior posters and cheered as the runners came through the one-mile mark.

“This year’s seniors not only made practices even more fun but also guided younger teammates. I want to tell them that these past few years with them on the team have been so fun and that I will miss all of them so much,” Julia Biswas (11) said.

All seniors in the league were also each presented with a single rose and had their name announced during the league awards presentation at the end of the meet.

“This was one of the only times I didn’t feel nervous before a race. I just felt truly happy to struggle and compete with others and do my best,” Martin Bourdev (12) said. “I normally try to shut out the cheers and shouts of spectators, even other Harker students. It normally makes me feel pressured and distracted. This time, however, I really felt loved and encouraged by the people cheering.”

Rigo and the girls’ team will compete in the CCS Division 4 Championship races at Crystal Springs next Saturday.