Island sports: Alameda High girls impressive at ACCAL cross country finals
Hornets now prepare for NCS Championships November 20
By Chris Carlson
The Lady Hornets defended their varsity title on November 5, sweeping the first three spots and placing all seven of their runners in the top 12 at the ACCAL championships held at Cesar Chavez Park in Berkeley. In a sport where individual places in a race determine points scored and a team’s fastest five determine its team score, Alameda won with 17 points, outpacing Berkeley (44), Hercules (77), Pinole Valley (111) and incomplete teams from El Cerrito and De Anza.
Sophomore Kelly Hosokawa set a course record of 20:19 for the three-mile varsity course, edging out teammates junior Irene Xu (second, 20:20) and freshman Sonia Xu (third, 20:22). Varya Federova (fourth, 20:43) was the first Berkeley finisher. Alameda freshman Mariko Stenstedt (fifth, 20:48), junior Lindsi Tu (sixth, 21:13), freshman Polly Fong (ninth, 21:16) and Andi Nguyen (12th, 21:46) completed the Alameda effort in the 30-runner field.
Alameda also displayed its depth by winning the junior varsity 1.85 mile race with 20 points, placing seven runners in the top 10 and outscoring a rival Berkeley team that scored 43 points. Alameda’s Rebeckah Vitucci (second, 13:11), Hannah Klein (third, 13:18), Emma Fraser (fourth, 13:20), Adrienne Pena (fifth, 13:23), Maria Sazo (sixth, 13:28), Dominica Vitucci (seventh, 13:29) and Courtney Winterbauer (eighth, 13:32) were top JV finishers.
Girls coach Bruce Hicks said he’s pleased with the steady progress this season and characterized the entire team’s league finals efforts as superb. The varsity team has made a seven-minute improvement in team time on the course since its last race there five weeks ago.
The varsity girls’ team will compete next at the North Coast Section Championships on Saturday, November 20 at Hayward High School. The top three teams will advance to the CIF State Championships in Fresno. The Hornets are looking to improve on a 10th place team finish at the 2009 NCS meet.
Coach Hicks said his young team will need its best effort to be competitive in a Division II race set to include strong teams from San Ramon Valley, Carondelet, Casa Grande, Montgomery, Santa Rosa and Clayton Valley. And Alameda’s youth may prove to be an asset: Young teams can sometimes have considerable performance gains at big meets.
The team has also gained valuable race experience this season at major competitions including the Asics Clovis Invite in Fresno and the challenging hills of the Mt. SAC Invite in Walnut.
Coach Hicks said that this team’s best asset is no secret to other good teams.
”This is a very close group of hardworking athletes who like competition and love running for each other,” he said.