TORO PARK – As the gun fired last Thursday at the MTAL League Championship, the girls’ varsity team had one thing in mind – pass as many King City runners as possible. Through the rapid straights and numerous hills of the course, the Breakers pushed themselves harder than ever before, knowing that if they could surpass King City, they would qualify for CCS.
Two Carmel runners led the pack throughout the entire race and finished within seconds of each other, at the stunning time of 19:54. First PG runner Mei Bailey finished minutes later in 10th place, at 21:46. She was able to cross the finish line before any King City runners, and the next four Breakers finished within the next two minutes, fifth runner Megan Miller clocking in at 23:51. It was going to be a close call, and the team would have to wait until the official results came out to know if they were going to proceed to CCS.
In the end, the Breakers fell 12 points short of beating King City. However, the day was a blazing success for both varsity teams, with personal records across the board. Although the team did not qualify for CCS, Mei Bailey qualified as an individual, with teammates Taylor Biondi and Rachel House standing as alternates. Almost all seven girls on varsity obtained personal records during the race.
Boys’ varsity had exciting success during the last few seconds of the race, with Will Stefanou and Henry Loh finishing first and second in the entire MTAL, and crossing the finish line with only a second between them.
With the absence of Jacob Alt, out for the race due to an ankle injury, the varsity went in skeptical whether they could come even close to surpassing the previous year’s champions and Center Meet winners, Greenfield.
“I think we were all disappointed by Jake’s absence and not having as much of a chance of winning league,” comments Luca Lauritzen, a senior on the varsity team, “but I think it helped us all run faster when it came to it in the end.”
During the Center Meet two weeks prior, the Breakers were also missing Jacob Alt, and fell 40 points behind Greenfield. For the Championships, the team stepped up, knowing that they had big shoes to fill while missing one of their fastest teammates. This time, they were only 17 points behind Greenfield.
“ I believe we came away realizing that we are an even better team than we thought we were previously,” says Lauritzen.
The boys team has a chance of returning to the State Championships this season if they perform well at CCS next Saturday at Toro Park, running the same course.
“My hopes for the CCS race include qualifying for state as a team. I think we have a decent chance of doing just that as long as we keep doing what we’ve been doing.”
Overall, the MTAL League meet was a success in one way or another. Although the girls’ team missed the mark, the personal gains far outweighed the overall result.
The boys’ varsity will be headed to CCS next Saturday for an exciting meet to determine whether they qualify for the State Championships at the end of November.