AHS Cross Country Team Qualifies for CIF Finals


Darin Buenaluz, Staff Writer

Both the Boys and Girls Cross Country teams of Arcadia High School (AHS) have continued to perform at nothing short of excellence throughout the duration of their season this year. Recently, the Boys Cross Country team qualified for the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) finals. To get some insight as to how the team has achieved this feat, I spoke to junior Brandon Chang, who is one of the team’s finalists for the competition in Fresno on Nov. 27.

The road to the CIF finals has been no walk in the park, as the past several weeks have been constant practice and competition for AHS. Despite this, Chang and his teammates accepted the challenges put in front of them and came out on top, managing to initially qualify for the CIF preliminary round.

“We participated in a few large competitions, like the Woodbridge Classic, where the competition was tough. However, we took it as an opportunity to set personal bests and prepare ourselves for the even tougher competition in CIF,” said Chang.

After entering the preliminary competition, things didn’t get any easier. Squaring off against some of the best schools in Southern California on courses that aren’t the easiest to traverse, the true capabilities of each individual runner on the AHS Cross Country team were put to the test.

According to Chang, “I’d say that the CIF competitions have so far been substantially challenging, as both CIF preliminaries and finals are at Mount Sac (a notoriously hilly course). We are more susceptible to making errors during our race as the steep hills are very unforgiving.”

One of the teams that has been dominating thus far is from Newbury Park High School, located in Ventura County. Recently, all seven of its competitors qualified for the CIF finals, leading the pack in Ventura County’s heats. This team, alongside other schools such as Loyola and Great Oak, will be some of the fiercest competition that AHS has been put up against.

However, despite the adversity coming from both the terrain he will be running on, as well as other runners, Chang feels prepared for the upcoming competition.

“I’ve focused on maintaining a relatively clean diet and an efficient work rate in order to maximize the amount of sleep I get. My only expectation heading into CIF finals is to give it a good effort and run smart,” said Chang.

Furthermore, Chang and his teammates are a tightly knit group. Since the beginning of COVID-19, they have done their best to do their workouts and run together. This is not only to keep everyone in shape, but also motivated and never feeling alone in their efforts to remain one of the best cross country teams in the region.

“The overall chemistry of the team is good; we joke around and tease each other a lot. But as soon as we do a hard workout or race, we cheer each other on. We all want to help each other perform well and create a lively atmosphere,” stated Chang.

The CIF finals will be one of the largest hills for the AHS Cross Country team to climb this season, but as Chang and his teammates have displayed, there’s not much that has kept them down from the top seed of cross country teams.


Photo courtesy of Brandon Chang