Cross country teams run to state


Joanne Kim and Ingrid Lam

Cal High’s cross country teams experienced unprecedented success this past season. 

Both the men’s and women’s teams placed second at the NCS Championships and advanced to the CIF State Meet last month. It was the first time since 2008 that one of Cal’s cross country teams advanced as a team.

In fact, this may be the only time Cal has ever qualified two teams to the state meet in the same season, said cross country coach Nick Shea.

“That is a huge accomplishment,” said senior captain Kayla Neumann.

“Our team did amazing.,”added senior Alyssa Brewer.

Despite being a newcomer to the team, Brewer won the women’s NCS title to add to her accomplishments as a track runner. Neumann placed fourth, less than a minute behind Brewer.

Brewer, who won the NCS and CIF state titles in the 800 meters last year for the track team, joined cross country just this year. 

“I came in new and I could see that from the start, how the team always worked really hard,” Brewer said. “Everybody worked really hard.”

At the State Meet on Nov. 25, both teams finished 22nd out of 23 teams in a field featuring nationally ranked high school programs. 

“Quite literally they toed the line with some of the best high school teams in the nation,” said Shea.

The meet was held at Fresno’s Woodward Park, which has been the site for the State Meet since it began in 1987 and “has the reputation of being a very challenging course,” Shea said. 

Individual State performances were also stellar, with Brewer and Neumann finishing in the top 100 of the women’s race at 43rd and 84th, respectively.  

In the men’s race, junior Jacob Millen and senior Cameron Reyes came in at 109th and 121st place, respectively.  

“I think this season was the best season yet, on an individual level as well as the team level,” Neumann said.

At NCS, Neumann placed fourth and was among the four runners to place in the top 20 for the women. 

The men also had four runners finish in the top 20  at NCS, including Millen in fourth and Reyes in fifth.

The success of this season is expected to raise the bar, with Shea hoping for next year’s team to either match or improve on their performances at NCS and state meets.

“Though we will be losing a solid leader in Kayla and some exceptional individual runners in Alyssa and Cameron,” said Shea.

“The bulk of both the team are all juniors and sophomores, which bodes well for the next season.”

Members of the team are also projected for similar successes  for the future.

“Although some didn’t do as well as they hoped at Woodward Park,” Neumann said, “I know that the freshmen, sophomores, and juniors on our team will be back for revenge next year.”

Regardless of their success, one thing that remains constant is the team’s dedicated support for each other. 

“My experience on the cross country team here at Cal has been nothing but the best,” said Neumann. 

“The team is my second family and they make this sport so much more than just running a race.”