GOTTA BLAST! Senior Alina Doan races to beat her opponent. (Picture Courtesy of Ian Tippetts)

By Emily Zhao

On Wed. Oct. 19, the PHHS Girls’ Cross Country team raced against schools in the Mt. Hamilton league for the last Montgomery meet of the season.  Varsity scored 3-4  and Junior Varsity scored 6-1.

“Even if we didn’t all (set a personal record), I feel like everyone tried their hardest,” recalled Varsity runner Gloris Qiu.

The team will also be competing at league finals this Halloween, whose results determine which league the team will be racing in throughout the following season. The top seven Varsity runners will then compete at CCS Finals in Bellarmine College Preparatory School on Nov. 12.

This season, Cross Country coach Ian Tippetts implemented cuts, limiting the team to 21 runners: Varsity, Junior Varsity, and reserves, each with seven runners.  With fewer runners on the team, many believe that practices are more intense and specialized.

“There’s more pressure because there (are) more expectations of you.  Because there’s less people, (Coach Tippetts) can manage each individual better,” explained Junior Varsity member Valerie Nguyen.

After every meet when the runners’ times are posted, Coach Tippetts sets a selective goal for each member to aim for.  The goal typically ranges from 30 seconds to two minutes faster than the runners’ previous time, according to Nguyen.

With the addition of cuts, the team environment is more tight-knit.

“The team environment is honestly just so great.  It doesn’t matter how fast you are (or) how slow you are, everyone’s kind of just dying the same amount.  (There’s) a really good sense of community,” quipped Team Manager Christine Pham.

In preparation for meets, the team also changed up their strategy this year.

“If we’re going against someone that we know is tougher competition, then we’ll look at their past times and see where we want to be as a team,” added Varsity runner Alina Doan.

“Cross country is a hard sport and it is mentally tiring, but I feel like after every run, after every practice, it’s all worth it,” announced Qiu.


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