Cross Country Competes at Clovis

West High Boys’ Varsity Cross Country team placed third this year at the annual Clovis Invitational. Though they are a Division III team, they successfully competed against Division I and Division II teams from northern and central California. Picture courtesy of Frank Wong (11).

West High Boys’ Varsity Cross Country team placed third this year at the annual Clovis Invitational. Though they are a Division III team, they successfully competed against Division I and Division II teams from northern and central California. Picture courtesy of Frank Wong (11).

Sarah Han, Staff Writer

   Running on the hot and sticky days of California is just one of the many challenges that West’s Cross Country runners face. They run for miles and miles, never stopping for a break. During the first week of October, the cross country team traveled up to Woodward Park in central California, where they competed in the Clovis Invitational with some of the best runners in the state. 

   This annual event is special for a variety of reasons. The meet allows the team to run against new people from every division and face new challenges against northern California’s Division I and Division II teams. The athletes typically arrive in Fresno a day before the race and stay in a hotel, spending the night with some of their best friends, enjoying each other’s company, and bonding with one another. 

   On the day of the race, West’s Boys’ Varsity team placed third and the JV team placed fourth out of dozens of competitors. When asked about the team’s preparation, Frank Wong (11), a JV runner, commented that the sport is “10% physical and 90% mental.” He explained that “as much as we train, when it comes down to the race, it’s about how well you can push yourself to the limit and how well you can keep going, even though it hurts.”

   The girls’ team also participated in the Invitational with seven Varsity girls running, placing 17th out of 24 teams. Lily Ball (12) ran notably well that day, placing seventh out of 196 other runners. She stated, “I felt great about the results and the race overall because I was running with girls faster than who I used to run with… I thought the race was a good opportunity to get out there and then see how I can compete against other divisions.” 

   The Clovis meet emphasized that cross country was about more than just running. Wong expressed that he loved the team aspect of cross country, and that he enjoyed being able to run with friends. Ball spoke of “finding [her] purpose in life,” since the sport helped her find a talent that she truly excels at, and “also helped [her] find lifelong friends.” She feels that she will “continue to stay in contact with [girls from previous years who have now graduated] and the friends [she] made this year for the rest of [her] life.” 

    For West’s Cross Country, the Clovis Invitational was much more than a race for first place. It was something that gave athletes the chance to challenge and push themselves, while reaffirming everything that they love about running for the team.