By: Kristopher Gomez Vidal
Finishing in the top seven teams, the Highland Cross Country boys team advanced to finals at a meet hosted in Riverside, California in early November, becoming the second ever Highland Boys Cross Country team to ever move on to finals. The first Highland Boys Cross Country team to advance to finals was back in 2002, nearly 13 years ago. At the notorious meet known as Mt. SAC, hosted at San Antonio College, the cross country boys finished 15th out the 16 best teams in the Southern Section Division of California. The average race pace for the boy was a total of 16 minutes and 30 seconds for 3 miles, with Leo Oliva coming in first for the boys with a 15:58 and Camden Smith coming in second for the boys with a 16:01.
Commenting on the results of their 15th place finish at CIF Finals, Herschel Smith said, “It was a great feeling being the second Highland team ever to make it to CIF Finals, but our result was not so great, I know we need to start working harder.” Leo Oliva, upcoming sophomore sensation and nationally ranked athlete, said, “It was cool having the team slowly getting better and known in the Southern Section Division, there’s more room for improvement and I can’t wait to see where Coach Smiths training will take us.”
The 2015 Highland Cross Country boys have made history and hope to continue this streak later in the future. They want to set an example for the younger runners that attend Highland High School. Next year the team has set a goal to beat their local rivals, Quartz Hill, in Golden League and finish in the top 10 teams at CIF Finals. They are very optimistic and have high hopes next season and they hope to achieve their goals.
In high school sports, CIF refers to “California Interscholastic Federation.” A team could make it to CIF Prelims if they go undefeated in their league or come in second overall out of all teams. The way a team moves on from CIF Prelims to CIF Finals is if they get in a certain range of teams, for example, if a team makes it into the top eight teams out of 16 teams the team then advances to finals.