Crossing the finish with personal bests

As times improve and confidence builds, Diamond Bar High School’s cross country team heads into its second league meet with high hopes.

The Brahmas saw strong scores from the boys team at the Woodbridge Invitational on Sept. 21 at Silverlakes Sports Park. Senior Lukas Amare broke his personal record running three miles in 14:48, while senior George Rosales followed  with 16:02.

“Almost everybody is improving from last year with a few exceptions,” head coach Malinalli Cooke said. “We seem to be improving every race as well.”

While the boys varsity team has several strong runners at the top, times from the top five members are counted to calculate the overall score. Given the 2:30 minute gap between the first and fifth runner, Cooke sees potential for more growth in the boys.

“If we can get the rest of varsity to improve just a little, it’ll make a big difference to the final score,” Cooke said.

Meanwhile, with a phenomenal 1:47 time gap between the first and fifth runner, varsity girls will have to focus more on decreasing their combined team time.

“It’s hard to tell right now, but I don’t think the team is as strong as last year,” Cooke said.

Furthermore, she notes that only half of the girls noticeably improve at every race. Cooke hopes that the bottom half of the varsity girls team can bring down their times enough to improve the total team time.  

The Brahmas continued to make headway at the Wayne Walker Invitational on Sept. 28 hosted by Sunny Hills High School. Here, JV boys excelled with many of them improving their personal experience records.

“All around the board, there were a lot of personal course records,” said junior Nathan Sinn, one of the varsity captains.

The senior boys placed fourth and sophomore girls placed fifth in their respective divisions, showing promise for their future meets.

While the ranking for boys varsity seemed inconsistent at the season’s start, Cooke says that the top five—Amare, Rosales, Andy Kim, Sinn and Brandon Rodriguez—are starting to settle in that order.

The girls side also changed quite a bit, with the top five now being Allison Ear, Keili Ishitani, Henna Gonzalo, Cameron Tsao and Victoria Artale.  

On Oct. 3, the Brahmas will be heading to their second league meet at Bonelli Regional Park. Repeating their success from the first league meet, boys took first and the girls placed third. If the team remains top three in league, they will  advance to the first round of CIF like the year before.

Even though the varsity boys are consistently doing well, Sinn still worries about competition from Chaffey and Ontario high schools, potential teams that can outperform the Brahmas. He hopes that working on strategy will help secure the team’s place at CIF.

“We definitely [need to] be working on staying together more, or packing up, to enhance our racing strategies,” Sinn said.

The next meet for the Brahmas is the Bell Gardens Invitational in Cerritos on Oct. 12, where the team usually has a significant amount of personal records due to the flat course,  pushing them throughout the race.