Published Sept. 8, 2022
By AINSLEY HENDERSON
After placing 17th in state championships and landing third in the Central Coast Sectionals last year, the CHS cross-country team is warming up for another go at CCS and state, helped along by the addition of freshmen runners and a new course, the Palo Corona Cross-Country Trail at Palo Corona Regional Park.
“I find myself in a unique situation because usually when I take over a program they have to start from scratch, but I’m getting a really good team,” says Daniel Tapia, who’s beginning his first year as the team’s head coach. “I think that we have a legitimate shot at winning CCS with both teams and having an individual champion in both the men’s and women’s races.”
Prior to coaching the team, Tapia placed first in the Monterey Bay Half Marathon, setting a personal record of 1:03:35. During practices, he runs with the team, helping to encourage and strengthen them.
Unlike other Carmel High programs, the cross-country team did not lose key members to graduation. Instead, their ranks grew with the addition of freshmen, including Lila Glazier, who participated in Carmel Middle’s cross-country program as well.
“The camaraderie between the high school team is really great,” Glazier says. “They’re just really cool people. It’s definitely challenging as we’ve done a lot of longer, faster stuff, which is really painful, but it’s definitely really fun.”
In order to gear up for CCS and state, the team has been doing long runs, ranging from two to eight miles, around Carmel, at the high school track and at CMS. Their current goal is to focus on endurance and strength before gradually moving on to focusing on speed at the end of the season.
At competitions, the participants typically race around three miles.
“We have center meets, which are kind of like league meets,” says junior Chiara Kvitek, who placed second in the Gabilan Division’s 200-meter race, “and we have to attend at least three of those to qualify for our championship. We have multiple meets after that which let us qualify for state.”
Their first meet is scheduled for Sept. 15 at Palo Corona where they will be racing against five other schools from the same league; however, there has been some controversy around the Palo Corona course.
“A lot of people are upset that the Palo course is going on,” says junior Christy Kvitek, who ran during both state and CCS last year. “They’re stating that it’s getting rid of some of the habitats for animals, but there was already construction there and old trails there. They’re just renovating it so that cross-country and other high schools can have a chance to run.”
In prior years, teams across the peninsula have been racing at Toro Park, but the increasing costs to hold events there coupled with the narrow and hilly course caused programs to look elsewhere. The Palo Corona course has been under construction since 2021, and it has 1 mile, 3.1 mile, 4.1 mile, 6.2 mile and 7.4 mile distances.
Despite issues, the course is completed. It will be used by Cal State Monterey Bay and Monterey Peninsula College students, high school students and the public while there are no meets taking place.
The team is entirely up to the challenge of state.