By JOEL TIMBRELL
On Wednesday, Sept. 28, the Bulldog Cross Country team competed at the first dual meet of the season at Martinez’s Hidden Valley Park on Center Avenue.
For over 10 years, Alhambra High School was included as part of the Diablo Foothill Athletic League (Miramonte, Campolindo, Alhambra, Acalanes, Las Lomas, Dublin and Dougherty Valley).
This year, most of the former DFAL schools and all the teams from the Diablo Valley Athletic League merged to establish the new Diablo Athletic League (DAL), adding Northgate, Concord, College Park, Clayton Valley, Ygnacio Valley, Mt. Diablo and Berean Christian. The only two teams not present were large schools Dublin and Dougherty Valley, who were relocated to the East Bay Athletic League.
Frosh/Soph and junior varsity runners raced the 2-mile distance. The varsity athletes competed at the tougher and hillier 3-miles distance.
Starting the day off were the Frosh/Soph boys. Out of nearly 200 runners, both Graham Manning and Carson Edwards finished high up in the results, with Manning in 12th place at 12:26.8 and Edwards in 20th with a time of 12:45. Dean Sobhy also placed well, crossing the line in 44th overall and a personal record of 13:27.
The JV Boys saw Shayan Mirzazadeh conclude his 2-mile race with a 14 minute 32 second performance, while teammate Jaime Ayala ended up with his second fastest time ever at Hidden Valley Park in 15 minutes, 38 seconds.
Seven Bulldogs competed in the Varsity Boys 3-mile distance.
Because of the addition of several quality runners into the league, many of the Bulldogs were outmatched yet still finished with respectable times and personal bests. Seniors Connor Hayes and Trevor Oliveira-Smith brought in times of 18:25 and 18:29, while Noa Nabeshima posted an 18:47 with Robert Viano just a second later at 18:48.
Dylan Gregory, Gabe Winslow and Kyle Thompson were the final three Bulldogs to cross the line in 19:30, 19:47 and 19:52 in that order.
In the last race of the day, Varsity Girls 3-mile race, Marissa D’Atri ran with the leaders for the race’s entirety. She nearly equaled her 2015 DFAL time of 19:05 with a 19 minute, 8 second performance. The time earned D’Atri fourth place out of 63 entrants. Only Miramonte’s state-ranked star Cassidy Haskell and Campolindo’s dynamic duo of Hannah Ruane and Isabella Chao topped the performance (17:49, 18:00 and 18:32 respectively).
Sophomore Nicole Tria completed the same distance with a personal record time of 21 minutes, 32 seconds. Senior Erica Cardinale crossed the line less than a minute later at 22:19, and first time cross country runner Karina Diaz finished with a 26:06.
The next DAL dual meet will be held at Newhall Park in Concord on Wednesday, Oct. 26.