Run like the wind


Ms. Courtney Moder

The boys XC team runners Ryan Dalzell, Jonah Bazerkanian, Asher Lee, Samuel Bado, Noah De la Rionda, Jaden Morales, and Ryan Moder at the Mt. SAC race.

This year’s cross-country team had a very successful season. Though small the team has it all. Two varsity head runners, two strong teams (Varsity and JV), and two amazing coaches. The team starts the year off with three months of summer training, which includes a trip to Mammoth. This helped enhance their speed, endurance, and commitment to the sport.

During practice on a hard day, the team usually runs eight to ten miles. An easy workout for the team is anywhere from mile repeats to 400 (a lap around the track) repeats. The team is “like a little family, a dysfunctional one though, because each year the freshman become friends with the juniors and seniors and every year they leave and the team has changed, and it’s hard because every year is different, and this time I’m going to be leaving,” said senior Noah De la Rionda. Regarding what makes a good runner, De la Rionda said, “Is someone who doesn’t give up, it’s really easy to, you can go slow sometimes and you can take it easy, but as long as you’re able to blow out the punches and keep going, then you’ll see how well your work pays off.”

Though both Jonah Bazerkanian and Noah De la Rionda constantly compete head to head with each other for 1st place they are actually really good friends who push each other to work their hardest. The team had three major races Woodbridge, Clovis, and Mount SAC; these are races where they have around 200 runners in a line from different states. On Saturday, October 22, the Royal Cross Country Team competed at the Mt. SAC Invitational. The team did great overall. Varsity Boys placed 3rd in Division 1 and 2 Team Sweepstakes Race. Senior Bazerkanian took 1st place overall in the race (15:00) and Senior De la Rionda took 2nd place overall (15:01).

Our Highlanders have done an amazing job at this year’s Coastal Canyon League Finals with our  JV boy runners Noah Pham, Issac Rockamore, Ernesto Perez, Brandon Ghent, and Tyler Castellano all placing under 60 in their division. The Frosh-Soph boy runners Jaden Morales, Jeffry Van Kirk, and Preston Hernandez all placed under 27. The Frosh-Soph girl runners Billie McMillan, Kenna Magoffin, and Lorelei Lee all placed under 16. For the Lady Highlanders, the varsity girls Tatum Taylor, Camila Carrion, and Anna Sweeting all placed under 29. Last, but not least, our varsity boy runners Ryan Dalzell, Asher Lee, Ryan Moder, Samuel Bado, Jonah Bazerkanian, and Noah De la Rionda all placed under 25 in their division. The team won the League Championship, as well as taking third in state prelims, and has been ranked as high as eighth in the CIF southern section. 

Coach Ryan Luce said this about the season coming to an end, “I’m sure the team and I would all agree that it’s sad to make it to the end of the session, we have senior runners graduating and running their last races, but at the same time you’re ready for rest, resetting your body for the next season.”

The first thing your mind goes to when you think about cross country is, I can’t run that far, the sport isn’t about instant gratification it’s the feeling of reward you get when you see yourself getting fit every day and the mile that before you barely could run, that now run you can run it in a breeze. The internal motivation according to De la Rionda is “Slam it!” and makes you wanna come back.

“Some of my best runners have been diamonds in the rough, students who thought they couldn’t run at all,” said Luce.  The team has had a successful season and we wish our senior runners a great final year, and as always, as Mr. Luce would say, don’t forget to “Join Cross Country!”