The strong performances by cross-country teams from Los Altos and Mountain View highs were nearly lost in the off-the-course excitement at last week’s Santa Clara Valley Athletic League meet.
Signs of heat exhaustion in a few of the participants led to emergency medical personnel swarming Crystal Springs in Belmont and the cancellation of the last two races. At least three fire trucks and five ambulances arrived at the meet after someone called 911 to report that a runner had collapsed, according to Los Altos coach PattiSue Plumer. Two girls were taken to the hospital, neither of them from local schools, and several more runners were checked out by EMTs.
Mountain View’s Allison Sturges was among those examined after she won the girls varsity race on the unseasonably warm day.
“Allison was hot and tired and her legs were rubbery after the finish line, just like she is after most cross-country races,” said her mom, Jill Sturges, who attended the Nov. 2 meet. “I think there was way more medical drama than there needed to be.”
“It was warm, but not that hot. I don’t think it got out of the 70s. It was not ideal conditions, but it was manageable,” she said. “I don’t want to belittle what happened or make light of serious injuries or illnesses, but the reaction was way over the top.”
Plumer questioned the decision to end the meet early – the frosh-soph girls and junior-varsity boys did not get to run – and said the other coaches felt the same way.
“Canceling the meet was unheard of – I’ve never seen that happen before,” she said. “There were about 1,000 kids racing (that day), and five or six went down. It didn’t merit the kind of reaction that occurred.”
Plumer’s team won two of the four races that did go off. The boys varsity and frosh-soph squads claimed SCVAL El Camino Division titles, with the former qualifying for Saturday’s Central Coast Section meet in Salinas.
“I went back through 10 years of results and have yet to find any Los Altos cross-country team that had won leagues until (Nov. 2),” Plumer said. “I’m pretty happy that we were able to break the cycle with both boys teams.”
Six varsity boys from Los Altos finished in the top 13. Ben Schneider paced the Eagles (fourth, 16 minutes, 6 seconds), followed by Austin Bowie (seventh, 16:28), Dane Kreisman (eighth, 16:30), Alex Carr (11th, 16:57), Michael Vendelin (12th, 16:58) and Terence Rabuzzi (13th, 17:02).
Los Altos’ Joshua Cohen won the frosh-soph race in 17:18.
The Mountain View varsity girls also won an El Camino title, besting No. 2 Gunn by 21 points.
Sturges’ time of 18:18 was the fastest of the day among the girls. Los Altos Hills residents Erin and Sarah Robinson, sisters who run for Gunn, placed second (18:22) and third (19:08), respectively.
Five other Mountain View girls finished in the top 13: Cass Carpenter (fifth, 19:37), Maya Weigel (sixth, 19:39), Melissa Reed (seventh, 19:44), Emily Andrew (12th, 20:24) and Izzie Baney (13th, 20:29).
The Spartan boys came in third, just good enough to join their girls at CCS. Mountain View’s Parker Schuh won the boys race with a 15:05 – the fastest time of the day – and teammate Bryan Crook took third (15:51).
“Los Altos and (runner-up) Gunn had a little too much firepower for us to handle,” Spartan coach Jim Bordoni said. “Hats off to those teams and their coaches.”
SF girls win league
A day later at Crystal Springs, the St. Francis High girls won the West Catholic Athletic League meet by one point over St. Ignatius. Morgan Healy, Madeline Roemer, Emilia Schrier and Rosie Casarez led the Lancers.