By JOEL TIMBRELL
Alhambra sent 17 cross country runners to compete at the 35th annual Ram Invitational last Saturday, Sept. 24, at Westmoor High School in Daly City.
Westmoor has an odd race distance of 2.4 miles. Everyone starts from the all weather track and completes one lap around the oval. Then they make their way up the side hill and go around the soccer field. From there it’s a tour of all the other Westmoor sports fields – the football stands, tennis courts and baseball diamonds until they reach the parking lot and cross the finish line on the turf of the track.
With 70 participating schools, the divisions were split into two races for each category (Frosh/Soph, JV, and Varsity).
Team awards went to the top two finishing schools, while individual medals were awarded to the top 25 individuals not part of the top 2 winning teams. A total of 454 medals were distributed.
The freshman boys competition started right after at 9:30 a.m. Carson Edwards wasted no time in making his way to the front of the race out of 179 runners. Edwards ended up collecting Alhambra’s first hardware with a 13th place finish in 14:33, only two seconds behind College Park’s top runner Joseph Ziegler.
At 10:30 a.m. Nicole Tria raced in similar fashion in the Frosh/Soph girls race. Having medaled the week before at the Farmer Invitational in Hayward, Tria picked up her second medal here as she crossed the line in seventh out of 157 athletes in a time of 16 minutes, 35 seconds.
Graham Manning added a third medal to the pile shortly after, finishing the sophomore boys race in 14:42 for 15th place overall.
Junior Marissa D’Atri, who already won awards at the Ed Sias (Martinez) and Farmer Invitationals, made the Westmoor Invite her third medal win in a row. Facing tough competition from Alameda’s Lauren Lum and Lara Vetter, who took first and second, D’Atri still claimed a very solid fifth place in 15 minutes and 9 seconds.
Not to be outdone, Senior Erica Cardinale picked up a fifth individual Bulldog medal by completing the race in 16:04 and 23rd place.
The Varsity Boys began the day’s last race at 3:30 p.m. Noa Nabeshima and Trevor Oliveira-Smith led the way for the Bulldog pack, but it was only Nabeshima who returned home with an award with an 20th place result and time of 13:18. Oliveira-Smith ran a huge personal record of 13:40 which placed him just four seconds away from a medal.
Teammates Connor Hayes, Robert Viano and Dylan Gregory added their times to finish tenth in the varsity boys team rankings. Willow Glen won with a low score of 38 points, while local teams College Park and Northgate were second and third, respectively.
The Bulldogs will travel next to Half Moon Bay’s Artichoke Invitational on Saturday the first of October. For more information and results visit www.alhambratrack.org.