Cross Country 2018 Season Preview


Malcolm Slaney

Gretchen Berndt (’21) at last season’s Crystal Spring’s SCVAL Championship.

Lincoln Bloom and Ryan Bara

The reigning league champions of the cross country team are hungry to dominate the XC scene once again. With returning head coach Michael Davidson and a strong squad of talented seniors and up-and-coming underclassmen, the runners are looking forward to a fruitful fall season.

The Palo Alto cross country team fared well last year, with the boys placing 1st in SCVAL’s and 5th in CCS, led by Henry Saul (‘19) who finished 3rd in CCS. Miranda Jimenez (‘20) also led the Vikes by placing 1st in SCVAL and 3rd in CCS. The boys look to a strong senior class, including Saul, John Tayari (‘19), and Donald Taggert (‘19) to lead them to new heights this season. These seniors hope to inspire their team both mentally and physically.

The Vikings look to return to the state finals again, after star-runner Sam Craig (‘18) left to take his talents to the next level at University of Chicago. Craig was the only Paly runner to reach the state finals last year with early eliminations of Reed Foster (’18) and Saul.

Saul has been on the off season grind so far this summer, running almost daily. Some people ask how such a work ethic is achieved, but the answer is simple for Saul.

“We have been running 50 miles a week, a big step up from last year’s 30 a week,”  Saul said.

The team has been incorporating new runs for their preseason training, including tempo runs, where the team runs 2-4 miles at a 5:15-5:40 pace.

“Our team worked hard this summer, so I’m confident,” said Saul. “Our team is also super experienced this year with five runners on varsity.”

The girl’s team values young talent from Gretchen Berndt (‘21) and Miranda Jimenez (‘20), who are returning to the cross country scene again this year. Berndt looks to have a breakout season after competing on JV as a rookie last year.

The spotlight is not anything new for Jimenez, either. Jimenez went to the state finals her freshman year, but was last season was plagued by injury halfway through.

Sophomore Alex Selwyn will also be in the spotlight this year on the boys varsity team, running a 4:45 mile in his freshman season.

The potential of this team is through the roof. With the talent and work ethic of this year’s team, it could mean another trip to states. Be on the lookout for the 2018 cross country team, with the first meet August 30th at Gunn High School.