Posted by KING HIGH CROSS COUNTRY on Nov 16 2019 at 12:51PM PST

Written by Jenna Bernath (’20)

RIVERSIDE: After a season of ups and downs, the cross country teams entered the CIF Prelims on Friday with one goal: Advance to CIF Finals. The lofty accomplishment would validate the endurance 2019 has required of them.

Both the CIF Prelims and next week’s Finals are held at the Riverside Cross Country Course, a home “field” of sorts for the Wolves that they have raced on many times. Friday dawned chilly and fog settled nicely over the course making for prime running conditions. With the great course and cool weather, all the Wolves had to overcome was their roller coaster of a season.

The boys team has been waiting for it to be “their day” all season long. It seemed like every race only half of the boys would be having a good race and the other half would be struggling. They had all the potential they could need, they were just having a hard time showing it. However, on Friday morning, it finally happened. The CIF-SS got to witness the potential King has been hiding the entire season.

The guys raced great, surprising everyone including themselves. Brian Green (’20) said, “This season has not been what we expected, but this Friday it was amazing to see our team come together to do better than expected.”

The squad was led by freshman John Gathuu who looked strong throughout all three miles of the course. Gathuu ran a nice PR and grabbed himself a 10th place finish. Mitchell Machuca, Austin Fortenberry, Francisco Zavaleta, and Edgar Ortega all finished within 8 seconds of each other with Brian Green and Gray Mavhera bringing them home shortly after. Austin Fortenberry earned himself a season best with his performance, something very special for it being his senior season. The boys’ collective effort and close finishes enabled them to snag a third place finish in their heat beating Vista Murrieta, a highly respected opponent. (The top 8 teams advance to CIF Finals on November 23)

On the girls side, the season has been filled with ups and downs for the Wolves. Injury and illness appeared to be inescapable for the ladies. Making CIF Finals would be a great challenge for the squad, but one they were obviously up for as they placed 8th to secure their spot on the line. Just like the guys, the girls surprised themselves with their performance.

Joan Green and Jocelynn Stevenson led the squad as numbers 1 and 2 which they have all season. Joan finally got the PR she was hoping for and Jocelynn set a solid season best time. Victoria Gonzalez followed as King’s number 3 with Jenna Bernath and Andreya Goodson finishing shortly after. Freshman Andreya held her own among the highly competitive Division 1 field running her second best time on a 3-mile course. Camille Bradford, battling a cold, and Audrey Brunken rounded out the group finishing only one second apart. All the girls went to the line knowing what they wanted to accomplish and they pulled it off. Jocelynn explained, “The race on Friday was a breath of fresh air for the girls team … making it to Finals was something we were all hoping for and how we raced really showed that.”

The amount of struggles that both teams have gone through this season didn’t get in the way of them accomplishing the goals they set for themselves. They proved that CIF Prelims is not where King’s story ends no matter what their prior races seemed to be saying. Maybe the Wolves will surprise themselves again at CIF Finals next week.

Results: Boys Girls Photos