Injuries plague hopeful runners

Although the Diamond Bar team greatly improved this season, the coaches believe they still have room for progress.

Brian Chang , Asst. News Editor

Diamond Bar High School’s cross country team is nearing the finish line to its long season. Despite being unable to claim top ranks at meets, the team has improved and is performing far better than they had at the start of the year.

Unfortunately for the Brahmas, a series of injuries spelled disappointment in their final league game of the season where both varsity teams placed fifth. Junior Paul Abdo advanced to CIF individually.

“We’re not really sure if we’re going to have a strong team for league, which is next week [Oct. 28]. We’re praying that [our injured runners] are able to get back in before then; otherwise it’s probably not going to be a very good end of the season,” assistant coach Malinalli Cooke said before the meet.

The season started off slowly, with many members unprepared for the first meet of the season, just a month after school started, due to a lack of summer training.. The cross country team picked up the pace near the middle of the season and was able to perform on a higher level, but was unable to sustain its momentum, as injuries took their toll. At the final league meet of the season, the Brahmas placed fourth out of six schools.

Despite the underwhelming season, the team has had some bright moments, one of which was at the Mount San Antonio College Invitational. Abdo broke the Mt. SAC record by running the three-mile course in  15:49.

Head coach Sally Jarvis is proud of the team for its steady improvement and sees potential in the varsity boys team, which she says will become strong enough to beat Bonita High School, the third place team, in coming years.

“Overall each individual athlete has improved tremendously throughout the season; their times just keep dropping and we haven’t even really plateaued yet,” Jarvis said. “The top three schools are some of the best in the state, so we’re doing our best.”

As a team, cross country has consistently placed fourth or fifth out of six teams in league meets, an improvement from the last place finishes from years prior.  In addition, the team has been able to place in the top 40 percent of competitors at invitationals this year.

In order to prepare for next year, Cooke hopes to improve the team by having members participate in a six-week summer training, which had been neglected this year. She points to multiple injuries as a major factor in the team’s lackluster performance, especially for the varsity girls team, which had a large number of its members out for the second half of the season.

“We weren’t able to do summer training this past year, so we want to implement is summer training and we also want to implement strength training,” Cooke said. “A lot of the kids get injured because their muscles are kind of weak because when you run, only certain muscle groups tend to get strong.”

Cook believes a rigorous summer program will set the stage for the team to be able to place higher in meets in following years. Also, trail runs will also be a major factor in lowering overall times.

“I hope that we do more out-of-school trail runs because they provide better training for competition courses,” co-captain Jessica Au said.