By JOEL TIMBRELL
Special to the Tribune
The second DFAL dual meet of the season was held at Shadow Cliffs Park in Pleasanton last Wednesday, Oct. 28. All runners from the seven DFAL schools raced either the 1.9-mile distance (Frosh/Soph and Junior Varsity) or the 2.95-mile distance (varsity).
Shadow Cliffs, a flat location, is always a welcome break from the numerous hilly races the Bulldogs compete at every year. Martinez’s Hidden Valley Park, Castro Valley’s Canyon Middle School, and the Mt. SAC Invitational in Southern California are all tough, mostly uphill competitions.
Several runners from Alhambra improved their overall finishing place from the first dual meet, which took place at Hidden Valley Park in September.
Nicole Tria impressed again in the Frosh/Soph girls 1.9-mile distance. Facing formidable competition, she moved up to finish in fifth place out of 82 runners in a time of 13:21. At the first dual meet earlier this season, Tria took 13th place.
Freshman runners Graham Manning and Alan Kobylik also continued their progression. Both set solid times in the Frosh/Soph boys race, with Manning taking 22nd in 11:17 and Kobylik finishing in 12 minutes, 7 seconds. Gabriel Gonzales was the third Bulldog to cross the line in 14 minutes.
In the boys JV race, another two runners represented Alhambra High School. First year cross country runner Kyle Thompson finished in a respectable time of 12:55. Senior Kyle Fitzpatrick, a previous NCS qualifier in track for the discus throw, completed the race here in 14:20.
Marissa D’Atri returned to form in the varsity girls 2.95-mile run. Having raced sparingly this season, her performance proved she is one of the most underrated runners in the North Coast.
In a race that saw 21 people run faster than 20 minutes, D’Atri established herself as one of the leaders with a fourth-place finish in 18 minutes and 14 seconds. Only Miramonte’s freshman phenom Cassidy Haskell, 2014 State Cross Country Champion Chloe Hansel (Las Lomas) and Hana Sun (Campolindo) were faster, with all three breaking the 18 minute barrier.
Finishing the same race in a personal best 21 minutes, Alhambra’s Erica Cardinale proved she is on the rise as well.
An astonishing 35 people ran faster than 17 minutes on the varsity boys’ side. Noa Nabeshima was the first of the Bulldogs, clocking in at 16:52. The combined times of Connor Hayes (17:13), Robert Viano (17:23), Dylan Gregory (17:44) and Luis Garcia (18:22), while respectable, were not enough to beat any of the other six schools by team score.
The Diablo Foothill Athletic League Championships will take place at Hidden Valley Park this Saturday, November 7 at 1 p.m. This will be the final battle between Acalanes, Alhambra, Campolindo, Dougherty Valley, Dublin, Las Lomas, and Miramonte for the Diablo Foothill Athletic League Title.