The online student newspaper of Palisades Charter High School

Tideline

The online student newspaper of Palisades Charter High School

Tideline

The online student newspaper of Palisades Charter High School

Tideline

Dedication, Depth Push Pali Runners to City Title

Dedication%2C+Depth+Push+Pali+Runners+to+City+Title
Margot Madeira

Pali’s Boys Cross Country team won their third consecutive City Title in the Los Angeles City Section on Saturday, Nov. 18. Led by team captain Max Fields, Pali runners posted a team time of one hour, 18 minutes and 18.4 seconds, breaking the LA City Section team record by more than two minutes, previously held by Belmont High School in 1998. 

After winning the City Championship, the Pali team moved on to the state finals in Fresno, placing fourth in the California Interscholastic Federation Division I section and sixth overall in the state of California. Ranking 28th in the state, Fields led the team with a time of 15 minutes and 32.1 seconds for a distance of three miles.

According to coach Robert Hockley, the Cross Country team dedicated hours each day to winning the City Title. He stated that Cross Country runners practice six days a week, running as many as 65 miles. As they continue practicing during the off-season, every runner’s weekly mile averages vary depending on the player and weather conditions.  

Weather is an important factor runners must prepare for that affects both practice and races. Different weather conditions can alter a runner’s performance, changing planned paths due to perceived dangers. For example, during the City Finals at Pierce College, rain altered the original course planned for the runners. Most of the course consisted of dirt and dried plants. With the heavy rainfall, puddles were scattered throughout the course and patches of slippery land had to be filled with sand. 

Fields said the team was ready to adapt to inclement weather and wouldn’t let it prevent them from succeeding.

“We were all locked into the same mindset that no matter what conditions we faced, we knew we had the best training and that we would be happy with whatever results,” Fields said.

While practicing every school day, injuries can affect each individual’s training schedule.

“Injuries are a big factor in the number of miles our runners run,” Hockley said. “We had a runner on the team who barely ran 10 miles a week last season while navigating big injuries.”

Another runner suffered a hip injury just before the City Finals, forcing him to drop out. Consequently, he was replaced by sophomore Lajus Collins, a junior varsity runner, a few days before the race. 

Collins said he was worried about taking the place of a varsity runner, but many teammates eased his anxieties. 

“I knew I had to step up, and it made me nervous,” Collins said. “But the [varsity runners] gave me some tips during practice that really helped get me excited before the race.”

As the team captain of the varsity team, Fields said he sets a high bar for his training. Fields runs more hours than required, especially when his teammates are injured and cannot practice or participate in competitions.  

“Everyone puts in at least 10 hours a week, I probably put in more like 15 hours,” Fields said. “But at the end of the day, you have to do what you have to do for the benefit of the team.”

Due to long practice hours, players say they have to juggle their academic and social lives. 

Varsity co-captain Axel Mammen said he struggles daily with the long practice hours, yet he motivates himself to continue playing.

“The training takes up a lot of my time, and it’s really hard sometimes balancing both running and academics,” Mammen said. “There were times I wanted to quit, but then I thought about my teammates and our goals, which gave me the motivation to continue.”

At the end of every season, Hockley said he starts brainstorming for next year’s Cross Country team and how they can succeed. This year, with two varsity runners graduating, Hockley plans to continue training and supporting the returning team members to fill these positions. 

“We will keep working on developing the team, not only as athletes, but also as humans,” Hockley said. 

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About the Contributors
Kamran Yashouafar, Staff Writer
Kamran Yashouafar, a sophomore, is a first-year staff writer who is excited to be a part of Tideline. He wants to use his diverse background and exciting travel experiences to write about different topics that influence Pali students. Outside of journalism, Kamran loves to play soccer, read books and hang out with his friends. He is a Dolphin Diplomat, a member of the school’s cross country and track and field teams, and is a viola player in the Pali orchestra. 
Margot Madeira, Staff Photographer
Margot Madeira is a first-year staff photographer for Tideline and excited to extend her skills and portfolio. Outside of Tideline, she plays for Pali High’s volleyball team and spends much of her time at practice or with her friends. Margot also enjoys watching movies, traveling and spending time in nature, because she is always looking for new inspiration for her photos.