By JOEL TIMBRELL
Special to the Tribune
For their fourth invitational cross country meet of this season, the Alhambra Bulldogs went to the 44th annual Artichoke Invitational at Half Moon Bay High School last Saturday, Oct. 3.
The Artichoke course is 2.33 miles in distance for every race. It consists of grass fields, pavement, a few loops around the track, and the infamous “Cougar Hill,” which is a very difficult uphill climb during the 1.5 mile mark of the course.
With several of Alhambra High School’s runners taking the SAT Test, only about half of the team competed. In this meet, the top 25 finishers in every division took home a medal.
Graham Manning started the day off strong in the freshman boys race at 9 a.m. In a season best effort, Manning traversed the course in 14 minutes, 12 seconds, to finish in seventh place out of 68 competitors and his first medal of the 2015 season. Teammate Alan Kobylik also raced well, finishing in 32nd place overall.
Once again, Nicole Tria was the only Bulldog in the Frosh/Soph girls’ race. Tria’s race had more than twice as many athletes as the freshman boys race, but she still finished high up in the results at 37th place out of 158 opponents and a time of 17:23.
At 11:20 a.m. the varsity girls started their race. Erica Cardinale looked to be in contention for another top-25 finish during the whole race. In the last 100 meters, however, Cardinale ended up crossing the line in 28th overall, just outside the medals. Her time was a personal record 16:41.
Finally, the Bulldogs’ six varsity boys went to the starting line. At 11:50 the race began.
From the start, junior Noa Nabeshima ran with the lead runners. By the time he reached Cougar Hill, he was still among the top group and he continued the downhill momentum towards the finish line. Using his signature sprint finish, Nabeshima completed the course in eighth place to capture his third medal of the season.
Robert Viano also raced well, finishing in a solid 13:38 as the second Alhambra runner on the team. Dylan Gregory, Trevor Oliveira-Smith and Connor Hayes rounded out the top five scorers.
As a team, the varsity boys placed an impressive sixth out of 24 teams.
After everyone had completed their races, the team continued the tradition of enjoying the afternoon at Half Moon Bay’s local beach.
Next on the race schedule is the Peter Brewer/Castro Valley Invitational at Canyon Middle School this Saturday, Oct. 10. This meet is another opportunity to collect more medals for the Bulldog treasure chest.