Cross country sprints to triumphant season finale at CCS championships


Jackson Spenner

Senior Romer Rosales-Hasek reaches the top of Hallmark Park’s cardiac hill on Nov. 12 — a notorious challenge for runners in the last mile.

Alex Kelly, Business Manager

On Saturday, Nov. 12, members of the varsity cross country team competed in Central Coast Section (CCS) championships, the final race of their season. The meet, like PAL championships the week before, was held at Hallmark Park, a course Burlingame runners train at frequently throughout the season.

Girls’ varsity qualified for the meet after a strong overall season from all runners, including standout freshman Stella Newman. On Saturday, Newman placed second in Division III with a time of 18:53.10 — the third-fastest finish of any freshman across all five CCS divisions. The run also qualified her individually for the state championship meet. As a team, girls’ varsity finished 6th place, with a strong showing from many of their runners.

“I’m super happy with [the race],” Newman said. “I didn’t expect to do that well.”

Despite finishing second, Newman still identified areas where she could improve her performance. Newman sprinted ahead with the front pack during her first mile, and she ran her second mile about 50 seconds slower than the initial pace. 

“I was tempted in terms of positioning to stick in the top, but I actually think I could have done better if I had held back like 5 or 10 seconds the first mile and then got progressively faster,” Newman said.

The girls’ team may not have qualified for states, but their strong season is certainly something to be proud of. And the team should only get stronger in the coming years: Newman has three bright years ahead of her, and the varsity team is graduating only one senior, Minnoli Raghavan.

On the boys side, senior Romer Rosales-Hasek was the only individual who qualified for the race. Rosales-Hasek finished 18th in Division III, an impressive showing, but not enough to qualify him for the state championships.

“I’m not very satisfied with how I ran, but I’m glad it’s over, and I’m glad I was able to improve so much throughout the season, just it didn’t end exactly how I wanted it to,” Rosales-Hasek said.

Rosales-Hasek’s race was a hard fought one, and he got off to a good start through the first mile. But without him noticing, a gap between Rosales-Hasek and the top runners began to open up throughout the second mile. By the time he realized that the front pack was far ahead, it was too late. There was too much ground to make up, and he was running on his own for the latter half of the race.

Though he was disappointed with his final race, Rosales-Hasek’s senior season was undoubtedly a success. For much of preseason, he was out with a shin injury, and he didn’t even run the first race with the varsity team. But in his three final meets of the season, it was impossible to tell — Rosales-Hasek led the boy’s varsity team with consecutive top-20 finishes.

“To be able to come back from the injury and then improve so much and even make CCS at all, that was a really big accomplishment for me.” Rosales-Hasek said.