Cross country team competes in league finals, celebrates Senior Night


Emma Gao

Cross country head coach Mia Purnell hands out roses to this years’ seniors Erica Cai, Ritika Rajamani, Dawson Chen, Kailash Ranganathan, Aidan Lincke and Alex Liou during the senior ceremony.

by Emma Gao, Reporter

The cross country team competed in the West Bay Athletics League finals hosted at the Crystal Springs Cross Country Park on Senior Night on Friday. The team celebrated seniors Erica Cai, Dawson Chen, Aidan Lincke, Alex Liou, Ritika Rajamani and Kailash Ranganathan.

With a total of 27 competitors, the boys junior varsity team, boys varsity team and girls varsity team ran the 2.95-mile course, which consisted of winding stretches of downhill and several steep uphills, to determine qualification for the Central Coast Sections (CCS) race. The junior varsity boys’ race began at 2:30 p.m., the varsity boys’ race began at 3:30 p.m. and the varsity girls’ race began at 4:00 p.m. The meet was the last full-team race of the season.

Varsity boys competitors Veyd Patil (10), Rigo Gonzales (11) and Rupert Chen (11) qualified for CCS individually with times of 17:17.9, 17:18.1 and 17:39.3, respectively, below the boys’ cutoff of 17:50.0. Varsity girls runner Kara Kister (11) also qualified for CCS with a time of 20:18.9, below the girls’ cutoff of 21:10.0. Going into the race, Kara hoped to improve on her time.

“I want to PR [achieve a personal record] again, because I know I’m capable of going much faster, so with [today’s] PR, that was really good for my mindset,” Kara said.

After combining results from the three league meets this season, the junior varsity boys placed third out of eight schools, varsity boys placed fifth out of eight schools and varsity girls placed eighth out of 12 schools.

The meet organizers held the senior ceremony and awards presentation at 4:45 p.m., when they called forward the seniors from each team. Head coach Mia Purnell announced the names of the Harker seniors and handed out roses to each runner.

“Even though I only had one season with [the seniors], they were all really nice and welcoming to all the new freshmen, so I’m sad to see them go next year,” said Sofia Stojanovic (9), who ran cross country for the first time this year.

Team captain Alex reflects on the season and optimistically considers the team’s future. 

“It’s been a great season,” Alex said. “[I am] sad that I’m leaving, but I’ll still continue to run in the future. I think the team is going to be in a good state when we leave [and has] a bright future.”

The four runners who qualified for CCS will compete this Saturday, Nov. 13, at Crystal Springs Cross Country Park.