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Published September 21st, 2016
Cross County Squads Star in Early-Season Action
Jonathan Fierro Photos Gint Federas

Running in a new division, the Miramonte cross country team will garner some extra attention this fall.
"The boys immediately went to having the target on their backs because it's D IV instead of D III," explained head coach Brian Henderson. "We do have some high expectations because of that."
Senior Jonathan Fierro is the leader of the bunch. At the Monte Vista Invitational on Sept. 6, Fierro ran the ninth-fastest time in course history.
"He's kind of established himself as being one of the top frontrunners in the area," Henderson said.
"That was pretty cool," Henderson added. "We knew he was fit, but he just stepped up and decided he wanted to be with the big boys."
Junior James Bull, who is currently working his way back from a concussion, is the No. 2 runner on the deep squad.
"We have a huge pack. The strength of the boys is that our three through seven will probably be finishing 10 to 20 seconds of each other every meet," Henderson said. "The pack is what's going to take us to greater heights."
The shift to Division IV has also raised the expectations for the girls' team.
"[That] makes a huge difference for us because immediately makes our girls' team one of the top three teams at NCS ," Henderson said.
Like the boys, the girls have also hit some early-season injury speed bumps. When they return to full health, the group - headlined by Cassidy Haskell, Hannah Fishlow and Rosie Cruz - will also be one of the most talented in its new division.
At the De La Salle/Carondelet Nike Invitational at Newhall Park in Concord on Sept. 17, the Mats' No. 1 runner Haskell finished second overall.
"We have one of the best front-two (runners) of any girls' team in Division IV - possibly the best one, two three potentially," Henderson said. "We're missing Fishlow right now because she's had a little tweak of her knee but we're hoping things are coming together here and she'll start racing pretty soon."
Like their neighbors at Miramonte, the Campolindo boys' and girls squads have big plans for the fall.
On Sept. 10, the Cougars hosted the Ed Sias Invitational at Hidden Valley Park in Martinez. The meet - one of the largest cross country invitationals in Northern California - featured 2,900 athletes from 55 programs.
At the meet, the boys' claimed first place in the small school race, with senior Jared Yabu running in fifth and the team's top five runners all finishing in the top 37.
"The expectations for the varsity boys this season are to win their ninth consecutive league championship and to win their fourth consecutive North Coast Section Division III championship," said assistant coach Andy Lindquist.
The girls' team landed in fifth place in the small school race, with juniors Hannah Ruane and Emma Overell finishing in fifth and 24th place, respectively.
"For the varsity girls, they will look to win another league championship and place in the top four in the North Coast Section and to make it to the state championship meet," Lindquist said.
The Acalanes girls' team, which finished 19th at Hidden Valley Park, are running under the guidance of first-year co-head coach Michael Maloney.
"That's kind of been a transition period," explained Maloney, who leads the team along with co-head coach Nate Beach. "But I think a lot of the kids have responded to it and taken it as, 'Oh, okay. Well I'm going to step up now and really be as good as I can.'"
Junior Annie Klopstock and freshman Samantha Swan are the two runners who will lead the way for the Dons.
"I defnitely would want to shout out our female captain Annie Klopstock," Maloney said. "She's a junior and she's really stepping things up and putting more focus in this season."
Maloney added that Swan, who had the second best time among freshmen at Ed Sias, is a runner "that has really excited us early on."
On the boys' side, Maloney is calling on Christian Lyons - his junior captain - to set the tone for the rest of the squad.
"The kid's a rock star, great attitude, good leader, all the right intentions everything like that," Maloney said. "But he's also one of our top performers to boot. He's really the full package from that standpoint."
Junior Ethan Frigon, who led the Dons at Ed Sias running in 48th place, is the X-factor for the team.
"That kid's like a sports car," Maloney said. "When he's on, he's the one that I really look out for and I say, 'Man, if it all came together at one meet, he could really take on the load.'"

Jared Yabu
Christian Lyons
Cassy Haskell
From left: Cassidy Haskell and Samantha Swan
Hannah Ruane

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