By JOEL TIMBRELL
The Bulldogs stopped by Half Moon Bay High School for the 45th annual Artichoke Invitational this past Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016.
While the Artichoke is mainly a Central Coast Section meet, it is a longtime Alhambra tradition going back to the 1990s.
Unlike most other meets, the race distance remains the same for all divisions. To complete the 2.33 mile distance, everyone starts from the baseball fields, continues to the track, returns in the opposite direction to the baseball diamond, and then makes a second lap around the track. After that it’s a trek towards and up the infamous “Cougar Hill”, before the finish line on the track’s infield.
Small schools competed in the morning while the larger schools had to wait until the afternoon for their turn. The top 25 runners in each race received a medal.
The freshman boys began at 9 a.m. Carson Edwards, who had already acquired hardware at the Farmer and Westmoor Invitationals, claimed a third medal here as he ran a strong race to finish in third with a quick time of 14:04.
At 9:55 a.m., Graham Manning was up for the Frosh/Soph boys’ race, and he did not disappoint either. Following four San Francisco runners, Manning ran a time of 13:44 to finish in 11th overall out of 177 total opponents. His effort earned him the Bulldogs’ second medal of the day.
Shayan Mirzazadeh and Jaime Ayala represented Alhambra during the junior varsity competition. Mirzazadeh crossed the line in 16:22, with Ayala not far back at 17:31.
The third and fourth medals were won in the varsity girls division at 11:20.
Junior Marissa D’Atri, who is cementing her status as one of the top North Coast Section runners, raced the 2.33 mile distance in the same fashion as former Bulldog and current St. Mary’s College runner Allie Timbrell. (Timbrell won the race in Half-Moon Bay in 2013 with a time of 14:17). D’Atri seized the lead fairly quickly and front-ran her way to the finish line to easily win in a stellar time of 14:28.
The medal win is D’Atri’s fourth straight award for the 2016 season.
Senior Erica Cardinale was yet another to collect some more hardware in the varsity girls race, as she finished with a solid time of 15:46, which was good enough to capture sixth place.
Noa Nabeshima led the team in the varsity boys’ race. Nabeshima, who ran the 400-meter sprint during the track season, continued to rapidly improve his aerobic capacity for distance by finishing. He ran the 2.33-mile race with a very quick time of 12 minutes, 48 seconds to take fourth place and grab another Bulldog medal.
Two more Bulldogs medaled after Nabeshima crossed the line, as Trevor Oliveira-Smith completed the distance in 13:22, coming in 19th to comfortably secure the sixth Alhambra medal while Connor Hayes narrowly captured the seventh at 24th place and a time of 13:27.
Scheduled as the next meet is Castro Valley’s Peter Brewer Invitational, which will take place this Saturday, Oct. 8, at Canyon Middle School.