Cross Country Season Recap

During summer camp, to get to know other members of the team, the entire team took part in a Fun Run. They ran an easy three miles and participated in many fun activities.

YLHS XC Boosters

During summer camp, to get to know other members of the team, the entire team took part in a Fun Run. They ran an easy three miles and participated in many fun activities.

Danielle Huizar, Editor

Cross country is a sport where athletes compete in races, usually around three miles, on random terrain, such as hills, roads, grass, and more. To be able to compete in these races, athletes must run countless miles to build up endurance, so they can run fast times during races.

Yorba Linda High School’s cross country team started training for races during their eight-week summer camp. Starting at 7:30 in the morning six-days a week,  athletes went to various locations to run or sometimes swim. Around half way through camp, the top twelve boys and girls participated in the Week of Excellence, where they did a 6 AM swim as well as a long run for four days straight. Taylor Stivers (10) says that “one of [his] favorite memories during this season was drowning in the pool during the Week of Excellence” since the team had to keep their shoes on during the swim workouts. Summer camp culminated in a beach run, where runners ran anywhere from eight to twelve miles along the coast of Huntington Beach.

Then, school and season started. Victoria Campbell (12) believed that “running five miles of hill repeats” on the first day of school was one of the hardest workouts this season. Although that workout was difficult, it prepared them for their first race: the Fastback Invitational. On September 4th, at the hilly Mt. Sac course, the Fastback Invitational was a two mile race with two out of the three big hills at Mt. Sac. Overall, their first race was a success with Sydney Rome (11) placing second in the junior girls race.

Sydney Rome and Shay Savilia got medals at the Temecula Twilight race. (YLHS XC Boosters)

The next two races for the team were both flat three mile races in the evening. On September 17th, the team raced the Woodbridge Invitational. For many of the new runners, this was their first official three mile race. This race was a success, as the girls varsity finished seventh with Sydney Rome leading the way with a strong third place finish. Also, eight of the returning runners got personal records (PRs) during this race. Penelope Fournier (9) says that “Woodbridge was [her] favorite race because it was very exciting and everyone did so well.” Then, on October 2nd, the team competed at Temecula Twilight. During this race, the sophomore girls finished fourth with Sarina Patel (10) finishing eighth place. Also, the varsity girls competed in the Sundown Showdown race, which consisted of the faster varsity teams, and Sydney Rome won this challenging race. In addition, 24 runners got PRs during this race. Dhamar Hernandez (12) says that Temecula Twilight was her favorite race “because [she] realized cross country was impacting [her] in many ways,” and she was “shocked that [she] didn’t even feel like [she] was running the entire race and [she] took off 30 seconds from her PR.” 

The varsity team at Fresno after they finished the Clovis Invitational. (YLHS XC Boosters)

On October 8th, the boys and girls varsity team left school in the morning to go on a long drive to Fresno to compete in the Clovis Invitational, a 5k or 3.1 mile course. Once they arrived, the did a quick shakeout run, ate dinner, played a card game, watched movies, and went to bed. The next day, the teams woke up at around 4 AM and drove to Woodward Park. The girls team ran first, and Sydney Rome got first and helped the girls team get seventh overall. Then, the boys team ran, and they did very well. Rome says that “the experience at Clovis was amazing” because of “being with the team and bonding.”

The varsity girls team finished first at the Mt. Sac Invitational. (Danielle Huizar)

On October 22nd, the team competed at the Mt. Sac Invitational, except this time it was the full three mile course with three large and steep hills. Even though the course was difficult, all teams did exceedingly well. The sophomore girls finished second, which was led by Sarina Patel’s fourth place finish, and the varsity girls and junior varsity (JV) boys finished first, with the second place finishes from Sydney Rome and Alexander McFarlene (11). Also, Coach Vidal (S) was given the “Coach of the Year” award during this race.

The start of the JV boys race, where they finished first at League Finals. (YLHS XC Boosters)

On November 3rd, the Crestview league finals took place, and the entire team performed well. The JV boys finished first with five top ten finishers: David Van Dyke (12), Brandon Nowland (12), Mark Jorgenson (12), Tas Sebestyan (12), and Kayden Goto (11). Also, the frosh/soph girls finished second with four top ten finishers: Sarina Patel, Penelope Fournier, Rory Hartzhiem (9), and Naomi Peralta (10). For varsity, Shay Savilia (12) and Sydney Rome were first team all-league with their third and second place finishes. The varsity girls and Savilia qualified to compete in CIF Southern Section (SS) Prelims. Savilia says that his “favorite race this season was League Finals,” and “one moment [he] specifically remembers is getting goosebumps hearing everyone scream and cheer [him] on as [he] crossed the bridge.”

Sydney Rome finishes sixth at the California State Championship. (Sydney Rome)

CIF SS Prelims took place on November 13th at Mt. Sac. Shay Savilia raced first, and he finished his senior season with a great race and a Mt. Sac course PR. Then, the CIF varsity girls team, consisting of Lexi Broadwater (12), Victoria Campbell, Makenna Farley (10), Danielle Huizar (12), Sydney Lebrun (10), Sydney Rome, and Carissa Teran (11), got third place overall and secured a spot at CIF SS Finals the next week. Sydney Rome and Sydney LeBrun were in the top ten with a second and tenth place finish. A week later, on November 20th, the varsity girls competed at the Mt. Sac course for the fourth team this season during CIF SS Finals. They finished their season with an eleventh place finish, and Rome qualified for the California State Championship the next weekend with her third place finish. Coach Vidal says that one of his favorite memories this season “was seeing the girls varsity compete in CIF Finals.” A week after CIF Finals, Rome traveled to Fresno again to compete in the State Championships. At the State Championship on November 27th, Rome finished an impressive sixth overall with a new 5k PR.

Cross country is a family.”

— Dhamar Hernandez (12)

Outside of running, this team had many fun experiences, such as pasta parties, team breakfasts, card games at Fresno, and so much more. Sydney LeBrun says her “favorite moment was spending time with her teammates,” Jacob Schatzman (12) says that his favorite moment was “hanging out with people at pasta parties and singing Adele,” and Victoria Campbell says that her favorite memory was “listening to Oliva Rodrigo before CIF.” Dhamar Hernandez adds that “cross country is a family,” and “no matter who you are, they will be there for you.” This season ended with an awards banquet where the hard work of the runners, coaches, and booster club was recognized. 

Some of the seniors experiencing their last cross country banquet. (Victoria Campbell)

Overall, the cross country team did a phenomenal job this season, and as mustangs, we are so proud of all they accomplished.