Published Dec. 15, 2021
By CLAIRE PETERSON
The Carmel High girls’ cross country team qualified for state championships Nov. 27 for the first time since 2008, placing 17th out of 25 teams in their division at Woodward Park’s 5,000-meter course in Fresno.
“Our ultimate goal, or one of them, was qualifying for state,” CHS cross country coach Whit Rambach says. “And we achieved that, so we’re all pretty happy about that.”
In August, the team started out with shorter, less strenuous runs, and then Rambach had them gradually increase their running distance as the season progressed in order to build their fitness and endurance and to avoid injuries.
“I’m very proud of our team making it to the state championships,” reflects freshman standout Ava Ghio, who placed 85th overall at state with a time of 20:13. “We put a lot of effort in training for all of our races and always tried our hardest during the races. I am very grateful for having an amazing team and coaches.”
The team held practices six days a week, often including runs on Saturday, which were usually the more physically exhausting ones. Practices ranged from ones that focused more on speed and turnover to ones that were more relaxed.
“I got together with the team, and I kind of explained that if we’re going to have some lofty goals, such as qualifying for CCS, and then if we want to take it one step further and qualify for state, that it’s going to take a lot of commitment and dedication on their part,” Rambach explains. “I was there for support, and they all agreed and said, ‘Let’s go for it.’”
The distance of the runs differed based on what aspects Rambach wanted the team to focus on.
“Sometimes we’ll have long runs, and the long runs can be six to eight miles,” Rambach says. “And then if we’re doing some high-intensity speed work, we might just run two and a half or three miles total.”
The team’s overall work ethic and efforts over the course of the season led them to complete an impressive goal that they are extremely proud of.