On October 12, the Berkeley High School cross-country team traveled to a meet at Point Pinole, where they raced against nine other schools. The course was three miles long and consisted of rolling hills as well as paved and unpaved paths.
The meet was successful for BHS, with men’s varsity taking first place and women’s varsity taking second place. In addition to team accomplishments, Olaf Dietz, a junior, and Carina Nottingham, a freshman, placed first and second in the men’s and women’s races, respectively.
A highlight of the meet was that both the men’s and women’s teams prevailed over their rival, Piedmont High School. “In the league, we go back and forth with Piedmont, but we know them really well. So, we’re rivals but it’s all fun,” Dietz said. Sonia Delangle, a senior, appreciates the rivalry with Piedmont because if she “sees someone pass who’s (a Piedmont runner), it’ll definitely make (me) try to go catch them.”
Each course that the team races hosts its own set of distinct features, and as such, Point Pinole presented unique difficulties at times. Head Coach Bradley Johnson said that what makes the course challenging is that, “(Coaches) can’t get a lot of instruction in because the athletes are away from you for the entirety of the race. They’re on their own, which could lead to athletes to kind of fall asleep in the middle of the race.” Kai Kumar, a senior, says that the course is difficult because, unlike other courses, “you’re not doing loops over and over again so you don’t know where you are in the course.”
Since cross-country is a more individual sport, there is great variance in the performances of the individual runners. Some did well, while others have room to improve. However, one consistently positive aspect of the meet was the supportive culture, including the teammates cheering from the sidelines. For Hanna Gohlke, a senior, the cheering is“what makes the race.” She says that “if there was no cheering people would gain 10 to 20 seconds because of the amount of energy you get when there are people watching you and you have your team.” Delangle stated that it’s really nice to see her “team looking out for (her) and cheering (her) on.”
“I think that everyone gave it their hardest. I think that’s just what our team does. We do a really great job of keeping it positive to others around us,” said Gohlke.