Crystal clear skies and moderate temperatures welcomed
everyone to kick off the 2010 cross country season on the beautiful California coast at the 2010 Earlybird Invitational at
Toro Park (Salians) hosted by North Monterey County High School. High temperatures had plagued the event in recent years but
this edition was about as good as it gets. The meet drew one of its largest crowds ever with the CCS Finals to be held here
later in the year and lots of pre-season questions were answered. The unmatched early season competition plus the great conditions
made for some amazing results!
The day kicked off with our open race for the truly brave
coaches, parents, alumni, etc. and the host school was proud as former runner Danny Tapia (NMC class of 2004) toured the 3
mile layout in what we believe to be the fastest ever clocking on the course at 15:02! Danny recently became the first local
runner to ever win the Big Sur Marathon and is shooting for a run at the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials.
Next we had the first ever middle school race as part of
the festivities and the eager young harriers toured an altered 2 mile layout without the famous Toro hills. Official results
were not kept in this inaugural edition but we can say there were nearly 100 kids and we hope to expand this portion of the
event for 2011!
Then, the real show began! The ladies were highlighted
on the individual front while the gentlemen had the fastest early season crew in the history of the course! Rachel Hinds (St.
Ignatius) has been the Earlybird darling the last 3 years with amazing wins each year to kick off the season. She burst onto
the running scene here four years back and today she sealed the deal with what may have been the best dual in the history
of the meet. Jessie Peterson (Carlmont) had played second fiddle to Rachel in two previous editions and today she wanted to
play spoiler. The two dueled throughout the race with Jessie pushing the pace early on and looking to break Rachel before
the Toro hills. Rachel rallied as they hit the hill loop and came out onto the final flat loop with a slight lead but looked
to be struggling. Jessie made a big move to bring her back in the last half mile and Rachel got her second breath and put
in an amazing last quarter mile for the win and an Earlybird four year sweep!! She stopped the clock at 17:59.5 that was later
made official at 18:00 and launched her to #3 ALL-TIME at the park!! Her performance may rank as one of the greatest early
season efforts we’ve seen in this area of California. She now only trails the legendary mark by Tori Tyler of 17:16
(Gunn 2004) and the great run by Michelle Gallagher at 17:53 (Sacred Heart 2002). Jessie finished strong only 9 seconds back
at 18:09 and rockets to #7 ALL-TIME! Unfortunately, Rachel and Jessie will represent CCS in different divisions down the road
but these performances place them right among the state championship favorites! A great footnote is that Rachel will take
her amazing talents to Stanford, but, the running community will loose a great one and take a step back as she goes on to
play Lacrosse! We wish her and Jessie the best!!
The boys show was highlighted by the Bells from Bellarmine!
We knew they would be special in 2010 and we were not disappointed. They put on a team running clinic with a combined team
time of 81:10 which moves them to a tie with North Monterey County (2003) to 4th All-TIME at the park! They now
only trail Mountain View (80:13 2008), Los Gatos (80:45 2006), and Carlmont (80:49 2006) on the record board! And, the teams
ahead of them set those marks late in the year. Bellarmine has the tools to take the 80:13 record down at CCS Finals and could
make some noise at the state level in the ultra-tough Division I level. Today they featured a 23 second 1-5 spread and dominated
the field so much that they would have placed 6 runners before any other team had their 2nd runner in!!! Incredible
team running with a HUGE upside for this squad. San Benito (83:21) and Madera South (83:34) placed 2nd and 3rd
overall and renewed their friendly rivalry once again after also locking horns last week. Los
Altos and Willow Glen also showed well while a couple of our pre-meet favorites struggled here but we’re hoping that
when things really count they will be back in the mix.
On the team front for the ladies we had Jessie Peterson
lead Carlmont to a nice early season effort at 99:48. They featured three girls under 20:00 and if they can shore up their
final two scorers they could be a force down the road. Mountain View may have had the best team showing top to bottom as they
ran 100:41 but featured five girls under 21:00 and has the depth to mix it up in big fields later on. Los Gatos, St. Ignatius
(led by Rachel Hinds) and a re-surging San Lorenzo Valley squad, rounded out the top five teams today.
On the grade level team front we had Bellarmine once again
being the class of the field winning ALL FOUR BOYS RACES and with that, taking home the OVERALL TEAM CHAMPION AWARD even though
they don’t even have girls! San Lorenzo Valley had the best new crop winning the 9th grade girls race while
Presentation (10th grade), Mountain View (11th grade), and St. Ignatius (12th grade) also
took home team plaques.
On the individual grade level front we had our trophy winners
in Anna Maxwell (9th 19:10 San Lorenzo Valley), Danielle Katz (10th 19:02 Los Gatos), Morgan Lira (11th
18:51 Valley Christian), and Rachel Hinds (12th 18:00 St. Ignatius) for the girls and Takuto Doshiro (9th
17:02 Monta Vista), Richard Ho (10th 16:00 Leland), Kevin Bishop (11th 15:51 Monta Vista), and Domenic
D’Aquisto (12th 15:42 Enterprise) for the boys. We want to congratulate Domenic for his 3rd Earlybird
win in 4 years!!
Well folks, thank you to everyone that helped make the
meet possible and we especially want to congratulate all the runners as they are the ones that it’s all about. We wish
you all the very best in 2010 and we hope to see you back at Toro Park next year!
Coach Gustavo Ibarra
Earlybird Meet Director