By Larry Feygin
The finale of the cross country season is approaching, and both the boys and girls are in line to finish another great year for Chadwick’s historic cross country program. No Chadwick team this decade has been as dominant as Chadwick’s so-called “X-team”, and this year proves to be no lapse in success.
The girls have often outshined the boys in past years, but this year the boys have made up ground to their female counterparts. The boys finished second in league this year, their best finish in several years. They came in second to their league rival Flintridge by only one point during the Prep League finals.
Senior Alec Borsook said, “Our second place finish was definitely bittersweet. It’s the best we have done in a while, but we beat Flintridge earlier in the season for the first time ever. I really could not see how Flintridge made up that extra point in only a few weeks.”
Though they could not pull through with a league championship, fortunately the boys will have a chance for revenge in subsequent races. First they will have to qualify for CIF finals with preliminary qualifiers on Nov. 13, Division Five finals the next week at Mt. Sac and state finals the week after that in Fresno.
The team has gained a lot of respect from its peers this year. Aside from beating Flintridge earlier in the year, the CIF has ranked the team as high as third in their division. Currently they sit at fifth, but Borsook claims this figure does not speak to the truth of their ability.
“Our top three runners have performed consistently every race, but the rest of ourteam has been plagued by injuries,” he said. “Max [Hawkins], Sean [Ouye] and Connor [Dawson] are all great runners, and I think we could have won league and been ranked higher if they were healthy throughout the year. We hope to have them back for our next few races.”
Fortunately, the team’s camaraderie and leadership has been able to pull them through some of their races. The team is led by seniors Alec Borsook, Lucas Lebowitz and Connor Dawson, as well as the new addition Sam Cartwright. The coaches are headed by cross-country guru George Ramos, along with assistant coaches Tyson Sacco, Michelle Babcock and Becky Cherry. Lebovitz said, “We have been running together since June, so our team has improved both from a friendship stand point and a physical one as well.”
The girls have also produced tremendous results. They finished first in league this year again, continuing their dominancy over their counterparts in the prep league. Since 1998, the X-girls have finished first nine times and have nevergotten lower than second.
Senior captain Jaye Buchbinder said, “There has always been a great tradition here in this program. I really did not want to disappoint myself or the school, so I am really happy we won.”
Buchbinder finished first in the league finals at Pierce College. She was followed by sophomores Lauren Ouye, Hailey Waller and Melissa Shadden who came in second, sixth and seventh respectively. Buchbinder has dominated all of her races, but she says the team’s success comes from its underclassmen. “They have really been able to perform well during our biggest races,” said Buchbinder. “Our success as a team depends way more on how they do collectively than where I finish individually.”
The girls’ friendships and stamina have improved just as much as the boys’, if not more.
“We have been able to become the best of friends through all the activities we do, from summer workouts, to bus rides, to the cross-country sleepovers,” said Lauren Ouye. “But we have also shown that we cannot be held back by the more difficult courses that we face later on in the season. Those courses ain’t got nothin’ on us.”
Both teams’ goals are to bring back CIF and state championships back to Chadwick. Cross country excellence has been a long tradition here, and the seniors who have been on varsity since freshman year do not want to disappoint.
“Cross country has been a big part of my life throughout high school,” said Buchbinder. “Victories in the following weeks would be awesome beyond belief.”