With the start of the new school year, there is a wide array of fall sports including one of the most difficult sports one can do: Cross Country. Cross Country is a sport based on distance running. This year for the Dons, Fresh/soph, JV, and Varsity should be very good, and given recent history, there should be runners from varsity that go on to compete in CIF. There are many meets around the county; and it can get very competitive and exciting to watch as both genders can compete in their gender oriented races. This season, both Santa Barbara High School’s Cross Country teams should be very well-balanced and fun teams to watch.
This year, the Dons are blessed with talented athletes at all grade levels for both squads. There are new freshmen, who are expert when it comes to running, while there are a lot of potential and some up-and-coming sophomores who are surprising the coaching staff and doing very well in the current meets. One sophomore runner, Amir Walton, never thought to become a long-distance runner, but after joining cross country had a natural talent and is doing extremely well in every meet and helping the team out as he gets on the leaderboard in the majority of the meets. Another sophomore, Katherine Hendrick, showed great promise in meets and is having a terrific start to the season. As for the juniors, they are all solid, performing at the highest level. Then there are the experienced seniors, who are ready to end their high school Cross Country experience on a good note. One senior, Jake Ballantine, is one of the best cross country runners in the state, and competes in many tournaments outside of school. He is one of the best distance runners the Dons have seen in a long time.
The Dons season opener, (Gaucho Invite), at UCSB was definitely a strong way to start the season, given that star varsity runners Jake Ballantine and AJ Reyes both did not compete. The Dons boys and girls teams both finished 9th overall. It was a very competitive meet with excellent good teams from across the state. It proved that the Dons have a long way to go, but have a lot of potential this season. Another meet to focus on was the Ojai invitational that took place on September 21st. The Don’s boys finished 7th overall and the girls finished 15th, AJ Reyes was back in the lineup and helped the Dons get a good placing on the leaderboard. As for the girls, one junior, Isabella Borduas, had her first meet, and did very well, finishing 13th place in the 1.43 mile of over 50 girls competing. Everyone competed and their hard work paid off.
This year’s cross country team has something special, and they have very talented athletes of both genders. With a great coaching staff, the Dons should definitely be aiming for CIF. Be sure to check out the Dons this year.