Under new head coach Justiniano Gerson, the Mark Keppel cross country team attended the Rosemead High Invitational race this past Friday at the Marinelli Stadium. The race was divided by gender and grade level, adding up to eight parts total, with the fresh- men girls starting and the senior boys finishing. The course was three miles long and consisted of running on grass, artificial track, and cement.
When questioned about this year’s team, cross country Captain Janelle Zamora said with confidence, “They’re tough. They survive.” The first year Keppel coach, Gerson Justiniano agreed, saying, “They have a lot of heart.” The Aztecs run at least five miles a day during practice.
However, he said that their goodwill may work against them, adding that they were “too nice” during races. He stated that they would work on getting faster and beating previous records, which most of the runners did.
The winning runner of the freshman girls race came from Mayfield High and the freshmen boys race victory went to Los Altos High. The sophomore girls race champion attended Flintridge Prep and the sophomore boys race was won by a runner from Gabrielino High School. The junior girls victor came from Flintridge Prep and the winner of the junior boys race came from Los Altos High.
There were no senior girls from Keppel who participated in cross country this year; Valley Christian won the race. The final race was between senior boys, which began at 9:00PM. The winning runner came from Flintridge Prep.
Although Keppel didn’t place first in the races, the team seemed cheery after the event. Co-captain Alina Shahin, who won a medal in the sophomore girls race by placing 23rd, said her team could advance by “individually focusing on our own times and focus on ourselves.”
Junior varsity runner Aaron Lockett, who had hoped to improve his personal record, agreed, stating that the entire team needed to “work on getting faster”. As the Keppel cross country team keeps up with academics and individual training, they strive towards improving themselves.