With Mustang cross country runners from as far back as the Class of 2000 in attendance, the inaugural Alumni Run was a great gathering of current and former runners - all sharing the common bonds of MV Cross Country! And of course, the Eliminator!
The social hour started at 9AM, with former runners seeing old teammates, and meeting the current team. The course was readied, bib numbers were obtained, and the finish chute set up. At 9:35 Coach Huntsman - on crutches due to ankle surgery - called everyone to the line. Coach Mark handled the photo's, while Coach Davis snuck into the back line to run. Several parents and siblings ran as well (way to go Mrs Hoppens and Mr Kanzaria, along with Parker Hoppens).
Prior to the start, both the Alumni and the Current Squad performed their ritual cheers, and then the horn was sounded. Running yet another new course didn't seem to faze anyone, as new courses are as much a part of MV XC tradition as the Overnight Relay and the Eliminator. The race itself featured a mixture of hard racing by the front runners, while some of the alumni were just hoping to get through the course. Several alumni -Ted Vergis, Will Rogers and Cole Kuiper - seemed to appear and disappear at various points in the course! As a fun run, no DQ's were issued by race management.
For many of the 2006 Summer Running Club members, this was their first 'race' at Oakhill Park. While the first time up the Eliminator is a challenge for sure, most all runners reported that they had fun and survived the hills just fine.
After being challenged early by 2006 grad Chris Simpson, current team member Bhavik Kanzaria (Jr) pulled away to win the overall race title. Alumni Jason Kanar (2006) and Matt Bieniosek (2005) were second and third, followed by yet another alum Jordan Ritenour (2004). It looked good for the boys alumni! However, the 2006 team took the next four places (Connor Donley, Keith Romoser, Tyler Breen and Jake Smith) to edge the Alumni by a score of 27 to 29!! John Berhing (2000) and Hunter Oliver-Allen (2005) rounded out the Alumni Boys scoring.
One the girls side, a couple injuries kept the Alumni from fielding a full scoring team, but that didn't stop Alumni Brittany Rezowalli (2004) and Joei Yau (2004) from racing very fast. Brittany was 10th overall and the first female finisher, while Joei was 3rd. Current team member Kaitlin Kelly took second place on the girls side, with a strong race effort. Alex D'Souza, Ali Grupe, Christine Barake and Paula Taylor completed a 26 point effort. Amanda Swan (2005) and Jamie Callahan (2006) completed the Alumni team.
After the race, trophies for the top 3 in each race were handed out, and some birthday cake was eaten (happy b-day Chris Gergley!)
Special thanks to our race helpers - Mr Quade, Mrs Kanzaria, alumni Jenni Davis (04), Claire Hoppens and alumni Daniela Gergley (06).
Plans were already started to alert more alumni next year, and build on this tradition. Will we see you all next year?