XC face off at invitationals

Elias Moura, Staff Writer

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Saturday was quite the day for the boys and girls cross country teams. Sept. 16 was seen by many of the players as a successful day.
The boys varsity cross country team ran at an invitational race in Hood College, Maryland. According to their coach, the boys lived up to their standards.
“The boys team is almost twice as big as last year’s team and many of the guys were racing a full 5,000 meters for the first time,” boys varsity coach Dave Ciccarelli said.
“The weather was not on our sides, it was hot and humid so times were not as fast as they could’ve been, but, in general, we ran well.”
“Saturday went pretty well for me, I hit a personal best time along with most of my time, and I also got a medal,” junior Abbey Yared said, a runner for varsity, agreeing with his coach.
The medal was well earned, with Yared running an impressive 17:04 5k.
Ciccarelli thinks the team is improving very well.
“Last year was the first year under the new high mileage and heavy intervals system and the goal was to advance from conference to regionals in three years. The guys did it in one. This year, the goals are to win the Gunston District meet and to improve significantly on our 12th place (out of 14 teams) regional finish of last year, ” Ciccarelli said.
With the boys team consistently getting better and with new talents on the team, Ciccarelli wants to look even further with his goals.
His icing on the cake goal would be to send an individual or two to the State Championship meet.
The team can see their goals in reach, and the coaches and the players are ready to put as much work in to be able to accomplish those goals.
“The boys squad is improving each week by putting in the hard miles and doing the tough interval work.
The Varsity boys have been averaging about 50 mile per week for the past month or so and even the JV boys are between 35 and 45,” Ciccarelli said.
“We’ve been doing at least two sessions of interval training each week including some killer repeat thousands at Poe Middle School under simulated cross country conditions and some really tough repeat hill workouts in Wakefield Park,”Ciccarelli said.
“We run these workouts several times a season and the data shows consistent improvement for those athletes who apply themselves.”
Yared sees these goals also, and he agrees with his coach with his goals for the season and how he can accomplish them.
“By running everyday, finishing my workouts, and with nonstop training I think winning the conference as a team is very manageable. I also aim to place top 5 in the conference,” Yared said.
The girls also had a meet that day. They ran at a meet called Oatlands, alongside the company of Loudoun Valley, Stuart, South County, and many others.
Junior Vitalina Fuentes was one of the girls varsity runners from Saturday.
“I personally did not do as well as I’d hoped, however the other varsity girls did great as did the underclassmen,” Fuentes said.
Many girls had personal records, giving it their all as they went up “The Hill”, the toughest part of the course.
The varsity runner thinks improvement is necessary and she has a plan to do just that.
“We can improve by doing a few more hill workouts because the course was basically all hill. I also think that staying hydrated in days prior is really important because it gets super hot on the day of the race,” Fuentes said.
The boys’ next meet is on Sept. 30 quite a ways away in Carlisle,
Pennsylvania and the girls’ next meet is on Sept. 27, at the Lee district cross country course.
Both cross country teams are looking forward to continuing their strong season and ending on a high note.