Sunday, November 11, 2007

Tino at CCS Finals: Crystal Springs, again...

The years follow each other and they don't seem alike... Last year the varsity team was so thrilled to make it to the CCS finals, it had not much further expectations and everyone ran their own race at Toro Park. Toro Park, a course where other good memories were formed again at the Chieftain Classic in September.
This year, the qualification for the CCS finals was much easier and anticipated. At least for the boys. For the girls, only Sumika and Cecilia were going to run the finals. The boys were led by seniors Abiy (Gebrekristos) and Mrinal (Bedi), junior Stas (Rumyantsev) and sophomore Max (Pommier). The rest of the team was composed of Peter (Chu), Derek (Zhou), Dennis (Rong).

The weather was good, overcast but not chilly, no wind, no rain. We were just missing the sun which we had in Cupertino before leaving in the morning.
There was a mix of tension and excitement at the start. The team was next to San Jose's Willow Glen, exchanging nice and friendly handshakes with them.
It was expected to be the race of Willow Glen's Mohamed Abdalla as touted by the San Jose Mercury News article: Crystal clear: Course record tough to break. A course record which has stood for 33 years!
The course has a very fast start with the first half mile down hill. By mile 1 Mohamed had a solid lead when coming back to the starting line.
Abiy was close behind in 7th position.
Mrinal had a great first mile but was lacking power in the subsequent hill.
Unexpectedly, Stas was behind Max by mile 1, having a bad day.
In the second mile, Max passed Mrinal who was not having a good day either. Below is Max leading a group and Mrinal just done with Cardiac Hill.
All that meant that the team will not rank well today (10th). However, Abiy managed to finish 8th overall, qualifying for the State Championships in Fresno, Thanksgiving weekend. What a champion for our school, who will be missed next year! As for Mohamed, no course record, not even a win today. Today's champion was Gambileg Bor, from team Jefferson, although running as individual, in 14:56 (versus 15:08 for Mohamed).
As much as we were happy for Abiy, much disappointment was on everyone's face after the global counter-performance of the team. As Max put it: "we ran this course 6 times this season, we are tired of it..." With a time of 17:00, that is 10 seconds more than his PR on this course this season, Max was disappointed. Again, the expectations were very different from last year going into the league championship. Everyone has put so much into the season since August, 3 hours of training 6 days a week, some weeks with three races, it's time to enjoy the achievements. Such as taking home the FUHSD (Fremont Unified High School District) XC champion title, breaking a 5-year streak for Cupertino rival Monta Vista.

With that it was time to move on the varsity girls event at 10:30. Sumika (Shiokawa) and Cecilia (Wu) lined up for Tino at the start. Sumika ran a smart race, finishing 6th overall, passing Jessica Rodriguez of Sacred Heart (also named the Fightin' Irish for a reason...), who used her elbow and shoulder to push Sumika in the bushes, quite illegally in my opinion, as she was going to pass her in the last 300 yards (the picture was taken just before the incident at Jessica was drifting on the left side of the trail , blocking Sumika).Sumika was actually a good sport in taking the outside, and strong enough to slow down, switch to the inside, re accelerate and finally pass her opponent in the last turn. Sumika is another champion who Tino will miss next year. Congratulations, Sumika, and good luck in the State Championships!

After the traditional post-race speech from Coach Armstrong, commenting the results (look for Division 3), we all headed back to Cupertino for a great improvised team lunch at Chili's of Cupertino. After an animated lunch with 28 people, several speeches included thank yous to Coach Armstrong, the parents and the students. Several good occasions to remind us how lucky we all are, either for this opportunity to run as a team, the blessing of having all we need, for the parents' support, and such a dedicated coach.
Way to go Pioneers! Good luck Abiy and Sumika in two weeks. And see you all for the Track & Field season in a few months. Back to work, to go farther and faster...


Peter Lubbers said...

great pictures! Glad to read that Sumika got the adrenaline boost she needed to finish ahead of the poor sport who elbowed her!

Michael Kanning said...

Congratulations to 'Tino for the hard work! Unfortunately, the Varsity team can only take the 7 fastest people for each school...and I was the 8th fastest for Homestead, so I didn't get to go. That will change next year, however.

Hope the calf is better-I'll be at the HHS track tomorrow at 5:45 A.M. for a speed workout anyways to go after a 2 mile PR and get the heart rate up. Hope to see you there but rest up if your feeling like you need to let the injuries recover.


Anonymous said...

Désolée pour Maxime mais bravo pour avoir participé

Jean Pommier said...

Bob and I were at the track this morning. I showed up to encourage Bob as he prepares for CIM, and jogged 2.5 miles. Calf hasn't healed yet, will keep working on the bike.
See you next time,

Michael Kanning said...

Slept through the alarm clock, sorry! But I'll be there for sure next Tuesday. Sorry about the calf, but hopefully it will be fine soon.


Anonymous said...

superbes photos n'ai pas le temps de lire le texte.j'ai vu deux de mes neveux!marie