Cross Country (2021)
Girl’s Team, Mateo Malko-Allen Run Big @ NCS. Next Up: State Championships!
November 20th, 2021
Hayward, CA – For the first time since 2014, the girl’s cross country team is headed to the California State Championships after a spirited, tough, gritty run at the North Coast Section Championships.
Hosted by Hayward High School and spanning the entire north coast of California, the meet features the section’s top division 4 teams… north from Arcata and south to Fremont. With nearly 200 runners in the race, only the top 3 teams advance to state. Still, despite the competition and high pressure stakes, the girl’s team placed 2nd, just a few points ahead of 3rd place Acalanes and only a few points behind eventual winner Miramonte. Their total team time was the 2nd fastest in school history and bodes very well for a team that next year returns the top 6 runners from this year’s squad.
Nicknamed the “Jackson 3”, sophomore Milan Jackson, junior Sofia Jackson, and freshman Khaya Jackson all placed in the top 10 individually and led the way for the Panthers. Afterwards, a smiling coach Denis Mohun was certainly pleased with their runs. “Those three all ran much faster than they did a month ago on this same course. Today, they all ran under 19 minutes and really set the tone for our team. We needed those performances today.”
Junior Leiah Goode ran her PR 19:40 to place 4th, while sophomore Annika Punz was 5th (PR, 19:42) and freshman Alexa Lawson was 6th (19:43). Senior Mallory Boell, who coach Mohun calls the team’s “spiritual and emotional leader” rounded out the state-bound squad, running 20:48.
For the boy’s, the race was equally as competitive and tough. Overall, the team ran well, placing 6th overall… outrunning perennial powers Miramonte, Marin Catholic and Moreau Catholic. Junior Mateo Malko-Allen was the lone Panther of the day to win an individual medal,(awarded to the top 7 runners in each race), placing 6th overall.
“Mateo did not have his best race today,” noted coach Jeff Rogers, “but he gutted it out and earned his spot into the state meet. He represented Saint Mary’s very well today.”
Senior Ryan Painter (17:03), running his final NCS Championship race, finished 2nd on the team, while junior Adrian Licea (17:19) was 3rd for the Panthers. Fellow junior Jurgis Vass was next (17:44), followed by sophomore Charlie Higley (18:02) and senior Simon Moss (18:05).
Next up is the California State Championships next Saturday, November 27th at Woodward Park in Clovis (Fresno). Good luck to the girl’s team and to Mateo!
More Championships for Panther Harriers @ TCAL Finals!
November 10th, 2021
Richmond, CA – It has been said that familiarity breeds apathy and that apathy adds up, in the long run, to cowardice. Luckily, these ancient proverbs couldn’t have been farther from reality at the TCAL Cross Country Championships on Wednesday at Point Pinole Regional Park. Running on their very familiar home course, the Panthers were anything but cowardly as they captured 3 of the 5 team races along with placing dozens of runners on the all-league list.
The show-stealers were certainly the varsity girl’s squad. Coming into the meet ranked #5 in the state and #1 in the North Coast Section, the defending TCAL Champions were anything but apathetic. Led by what has become known as “The Jackson 3”, sophomore Milan Jackson, junior Sofia Jackson, and freshman Khaya Jackson were the top 3 finishers for the victors.
“All of our girls ran solid races today,” said reigning TCAL coach of the year Denis Mohun. “The tone for our race is usually set by our leaders and they did a good job today of focusing our team and taking care of business. It would have been easy to come into the race today over confident and lackadaisical. Luckily, our leaders were focused and their tenacity when racing spreads to everyone on the team. As a coach, I’m lucky in this way.”
Milan’s PR 18:39, 3rd place overall finish was followed by Sofia (4th - 19:35), Khaya (5th -19:36) , Alexa Lawson (6th - 19:51) and Leaih Goode (PR 19:56). The girls team scored a mere 25 points, which more than doubled the score of runner-up Albany. Sophomore Annika Punz and senior Mallory Boell also ran fine races according to Coach Mohun.
The JV girls, coached by former Panther standout Ariana Corwin, also extended their TCAL Championship streak to 8 with a resounding win. The girls won 7 of the top 8 places and 9 of the top 11 in a muscle flex that is becoming all too commonplace.
“Our girls are not only talented but SO competitive,” commented coach Corwin afterwards. “It’s no wonder they do so well. Their willing to run hard and they really want to win. It makes my job pretty easy!”
Freshman Jing Li-Chou was the JV Girls champion, followed by teammates Aoife Shen and Hailey Vines, who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. Juniors Cally McIntyre, Honey Rose Smith and Olivia Tarango… along with freshmen Lia Sullivan and Maddie Potter also were heralded by Coach Corwin.
On the boy’s side, the frosh-soph boys avenged an early season loss to Albany when they won their championship race against the arch rival Cougars. Sophomore Charlie Higley was the day’s fastest, running a 2.0 mile PR of 11.17 to win. Fellow 10th grader Darragh Westover was 2nd (11:25), while a bevy of freshmen (Brandon Bosio, Luke Bradley, Kai Valle, Jacob Demissie, and Gabriel Cabral), joined forces to secure the victory for the Panthers.
“I thought we ran great today,” said former Panther great and current Saint Mary’s teacher/coach Rob Riccardi. “Our team improved by more than 5 minutes in just the past 6 weeks… and that’s not counting the guys didn’t score today but still ran really well. It’s that type of growth and improvement that makes us winning even that much more special. I’m happy.”
Finally, the varsity boy’s, up against the state’s #2 ranked Albany boys, put up a courageous battle before finally succumbing 19-38. Junior Mateo Malko-Allen placed 2nd overall with a Point Pinole PR of 15:36. Senior captain Ryan Painter ran his way onto the TCAL 2nd team all-league squad, placing 9th overall. Sophomore Colin Kopchik and junior Vale Johnson Vigeant also scored course PR’s.
Both Panther varsity teams advance to the North Coast Section Championships on Saturday, November 20th at Hayward High School.
State Ranked #5 Girls Finish 12-0 in TCAL League; Boys Now 11-1
November 4th, 2021
Richmond, CA – The girls cross country team, who have won every TCAL Championship since the league was formed in 2013, ran their league record to 12-0 with easy wins over El Cerrito and John Swett on Thursday. The girl’s dominance comes as no surprise considering the team is currently ranked #1 in the North Coast Section (Division 4) and #5 in California. They go into next week’s TCAL Championship meet as the heavy favorites to once again repeat as champions. The junior varsity girls, who have also won every league championship ever contested, will also enter the meet as considerable favorites.
The boy’s teams, both JV and Varsity, finished the regular season 11-1 after defeating the aforementioned teams. They were led by varsity winner Mateo Malko-Allen and JV winner Charlie Higley. Senior Ryan Painter and junior Jurgis Vass ran strong varsity races as did freshman Brandon Bosio and sophomore Darragh Westover in the JV race. They, along with several of their teammates, will have all-league aspirations at next week’s championships.
Huge Medal Haul for Runners @ Mariner Invitational!
October 16th, 2021
Hayward, CA – On Saturday, the cross country team sent 4 teams and 26 runners to the 38th annual Phil Wilder/Mariner Invitational, hosted by Moreau Catholic High School. Because the race is run on the famed Hayward High School course, site of the North Coast Section Championships next month, it attracts many of the top teams from area, all wanting to preview the facility and assess their teams strength on the rolling 3.0 mile course. Consequently, one can expect the competition to be fierce and the times to be fast in the mid-October showdown of top caliber teams. And, as expected, the competition was top-flight and the Panthers, along with many others, did run scorching fast times while bringing home a bevy of hard-earned medals.
The varsity boys opened the meet with a spirited 4th place finish in their race. Mateo Malko-Allen, himself not a stranger to fast times, ran the fastest time of his young life - and the fastest time by a Panther in more than a decade – when he placed 3rd overall in 15:23. Only former Brown University star Matt Duffy and former Claremont McKenna runner Dan Maxwell have ever run faster at Hayward, according to longtime coach Jeff Rogers.
“Mateo competed very well today,” assessed coach Rogers. “He ran in the 2nd spot for most of the race and really executed the race plan we talked about beforehand. Both he and I were quite happy afterwards.”
Senior captain Ryan Painter, no stranger to races at Hayward High, started aggressively and hung on to finish :30 faster than he ever has - a PR 16:41, which also earned him a medal.
Adrian Licea, who seems to get faster and faster every week, also medaled by running a satisfying but agonizing PR 17:01. The 17:00 barrier, one every varsity boy high school runner is aware of, remains elusive for the fast charging junior. Fellow junior Jurgis Vass and senior Simon Moss also ran the fastest races of their lives, each flirting with the 17:00 barrier ½ through the race before falling back a bit and finishing in 17:23 and 17:25 respectively.
The girls, who earlier this week were named the state’s #5 ranked division 4 team after their huge Clovis performance, were once again facing several larger, state ranked teams as well as several of the top large school teams from the Central Coast Section… and once again the Panthers came to run. Junior Sofia Jackson led the way this week for the Panthers, running a PR 19:12 while earning herself a medal. Khaya Jackson, Milan Jackson and Alexa Lawson all ran in the mid-19:00’s to follow Sofia, while Leiah Goode moved up from her 6th spot a week ago to place 5th and close the scoring for the Panthers. Leaih’s time of 19:52 was also a lifetime best.
The junior varsity girls team – Jing Li-Chou, Hailey Vines, Tatiana Wilson, Lia Sullivan, Cally McIntyre, and Georgia Rogers – easily won their small school (division 3-5) race. The team of 6 spent much of the race running with and against each other, exchanging leads and positions frequently, before finally finishing in the order listed above. All of the runners medaled despite this being, for most of them, their first ever 3 mile race!
Finally, the junior varsity boys also made a valiant effort at a team win before finally falling just a few points short and finishing second. Sophomore Collin Kopchik and Charlie Higley were the front runners, placing 3rd and 7th respectively – in 17:36 and 17:45. Sophomore Darragh Westover placed 3rd (18:34) and collected himself a medal, while freshmen Brandon Bosio (19:23), Luke Bradley (19:24), Gabriel Cabral (19:37), and Jacob Demissie (19:57) all ran solid races in their ever trip to Hayward.
The Panthers won’t be racing officially again until Thursday, November 4th when they host El Cerrito and John Swett at Point Pinole Regional Park.
Panthers Run to Victory @ SPSV
October 14th, 2021
Vallejo, CA – All four Panther cross country teams – junior varsity and varsity – scored resounding wins in their 2nd of 3 TCAL Cluster meets on Thursday at St. Patrick-St. Vincent High School. The JV Boys team swept the likes of SPSV, Jesse Bethel (Vallejo), and Hercules to run their league record to 7-1. The team, running an unorthodox 2.0 mile course, was led by sophomore Darragh Westover (12:47) and freshman Brandon Bosio (12:58), who finished 2nd and 3rd overall. Freshmen Luke Bradley (13:07), Kai Valle (13:07) and Gabriel Cabral (13:14) completed the scoring for the victorious Panthers.
The JV Girls followed suit, with freshmen Sorcha Shen, Aoife Shen, Tatiana Wilson and Lia Sullivan combining with senior Hailey Vines and juniors Cally McIntyre and Georgia Rogers to sweep the first 7 places.
Both varsity teams – boys & girls – ran to convincing wins as well. The boys had the top 5 placers while the girls had the top 6 as both squads recorded perfect 15 point totals.
Next up for the Panthers is the Mariner Invitational on Saturday, October 16th at Hayward High School – site of the 2021 NCS Championship meet.
Girls Send Message to State Division 4 @ Clovis: "We’re Good"
October 9th, 2021
Clovis, CA – After spending most of the 2021 season flying under the radar – un-ranked and un-noticed - the girl’s Varsity Cross Country team stepped onto one of California’s big cross country stages on Saturday, taking on 7 state ranked teams at the prestigious Clovis Invitational. Running with the ferocity and determination they’ve shown all year long, the Panthers nearly scored the shocker of the meet in nearly winning their small schools varsity race. Leading half way through the race, the Panthers faded a bit but still managed to hang onto 3rd place overall, just a few points from second and a mile away from what the pre-meet predictions had scored them.
“Well, I guess we’re no longer a secret,” beamed head coach Denis Mohun afterwards. “We hadn’t run our full team together until today. We like the freshman and sophomore to run in their grade level at the beginning of the season so our team hasn’t been complete until today’s races so it was hard for the analysts to know how good we are. I guess they do now,” coach said with a wry smile.
Sophomore Milan Jackson once again led the way, placing 8th overall on the famed Woodward Park course. Her 19:17 on the rolling 3.1 mile course was a personal best in that it was the only time she’s ever run a 5k. In fact, for most of the girls and boys this was their first ever 3.1 mile race!
The dynamic freshmen duo of Alexa Lawson and Khaya Jackson had “great races” according to Coach Mohun, finishing 20th and 26th (out of 176 runners) to place 2nd and 3rd on the team. Teammate Annika Punz, who Coach Mohun calls the most improved runner on the team, was 3 places behind Khaya.. finishing 29th in 20:15. Sofia Jackson (20:25), Leiah Goode (PR – 20:57), and Mallory Boell (PR – 22:01) rounded out the scoring and placing for the soon-to-be state ranked girl’s team.
The boy’s race was equally as competitive as the girl’s race - with 6 state ranked teams in the field of 24 teams and 170 runners. The boy’s, again like the girl’s, went out fast and hungry and were 3rd after the first mile. However, the pre-race exuberance quickly turned to fatigue as the boys faded to 8th. Still, they managed to outpace and outrun several highly regarded teams while scoring some big individual PR’s.
Junior Mateo Malko-Allen finished 5th overall in 16:07, which was more than 1:30 faster than his 2019 race. Senior Ryan Painter also had a solid race, placing 36th in his personal best 17:19. Junior Adrian Licea, “steadily rounding into shape,” according to Coach Rogers, had his best race of the year – running 17:56 to break the 18:00 barrier for the first time this year. Sophomore Charlie Higley (18:08), senior Simon Moss (18:18), and junior Vale Johnson Vigeant (18:43)– all making their first appearance on the Woodward Park course – completed the Panthers squad at Clovis.
Next up for the Panthers is their 2nd TCAL Cluster Meet, on Thursday, October 14th, at St. Patrick-St. Vincent (SPSV). First race is at 4:00.
Fast Runners Show The Way to Half Moon Bay
October 2nd, 2021
Half Moon Bay, CA - The Panthers Cross Country teams came away from the 50th annual Artichoke Invitational, hosted by Half Moon May High School, with a horde of personal bests, individual medals, a victorious team plaque, and plenty of smiling faces. But, according to girl’s assistant coach Ariana Corwin, what may have been the biggest result from the always-popular invitational is “the confidence that so many of the runners seem to be running with. I don’t think I’ve seen our team compete as fiercely as they did today. I mean, they were getting out with the leaders and battling for medals and team titles. It was awesome.”
Indeed, the times and results themselves substantiate Coach Corwin’s astute observations. Four teams entered: 12 medalists, 1 overall team win, 3 second place team finishes, and 100% of the runners captures personal bests. Incredible!
The Panthers grouped their squads by grade on Saturday – having the freshman and sophomores run in the frosh-soph race while the juniors and seniors competed in the varsity division. The highlight of the day was the team victory in the frosh-soph girls race. Despite racing without their top runner Milan Jackson (out with a minor hip injury), the Panthers more than made up for her loss with an impressive array of talent and determination.
Freshmen Khaya Jackson and Alexa Lawson, fast becoming two of the top 9th graders in the East Bay, ran together and amongst the leaders for most of the race before finally finishing 2nd and 4th overall. Teammate Annika Punz, also competing in her first ever cross country season, continues to excite and impress the coaching staff with her efforts, this time finishing 6th in 15:35. Freshmen sisters Aoife and Sorcha Shen are also raising eyebrows with their continued success, each earning an Artichoke Invitational medal by finishing 9th and 12th respectively. Tatiana Wilson and Lia Sullivan, also freshmen who are brand new to the sport, cemented the victory with their prize-winning 16th and 17th place finishes.
In the varsity girls race, the Panthers finished in the runner-up spot, a scant 5 point ahead of third place Soquel High School (Santa Cruz). Sofia Jackson, who in 2019 ran 17:16 on the course, ran 1:41 faster this time around, finishing in 15:35, to place 2nd overall.
“Sofia is such a force on our team,” said head coach Denis Mohun after the race. “She’s such a competitor who puts it all out there when she runs. She sets a great example for all of our runners on how to grind and dig deep. She earned her medal today.”
Fellow junior Leiah Goode had her best race of the season as well, running a tough, courageous final ½ mile to move all the way to 3rd place overall. She too ran more than 1:00 faster than she did in 2019. Senior Mallory Boell placed third on the team and 17th overall with her 1:20 PR, while juniors Cally McIntyre and Georgia Rogers also ran close to a minute faster than they ever have at Artichoke to close out the scoring. Junior Olivia Tarango was the 6th runner for the Panthers.
The boy’s races, like the girls, were divided up by grade. In the varsity race, super junior Mateo Malko-Allen – seeking to celebrate his 17th birthday with an Artichoke Invitational win – fell (literally) just short of that goal. Leading the 2.33 mile race the entire time and with just 300 meters to go, Mateo tripped while jumping over the hay bails – crashing to the ground, surrendering the lead, and having to settle for the runner-up spot. After the meet, and still flashing his usual glowing smile, Mateo pondered whether or not the steeplechase is part of his future?
After Mateo, the varsity boys squad was what coach Jeff Rogers called “the best they’ve been all season.” Senior Ryan Painter ran his lifetime best by a full minute that earned him an individual medal; fellow senior Simon Moss – competing for the first time at Artichoke – grabbed one of the last medals handed out in his race; while juniors Jurgis Vass, Adrian Licea and Vale Johnson Vigeant packed well together and finished a mere :05 apart. Both Jurgis and Vale ran about 1:40 faster than 2 years ago.
The frosh-soph boys race also featured a pair of medalists: Charlie Higley and Colin Kopchik. Both sophomores were running their first ever Artichoke, including the vaunted Cougar Hill and it’s crushing ascent. Both runners as well as their entire team, fortunately, survived the dread and were able to finish 4th and 6th overall.
In fact, their times were the 3rd and 4th fastest times on the team. Fellow 10th grader Darragh Westover and freshman Brandon Bosio ran well together… as did first timers Gabriel Cabral and Jacob Demissie. The group’s collective effort got them a runner-up team finish, just 2 points ahead of host Half Moon Bay high school.
Up next for the Panthers is the Clovis Invitational in Clovis, CA on Saturday, October 9th. The meet features most of the top teams from around the Golden State. Only the Panthers top 7 boys and girls varsity squads will travel to the meet.
Girl’s Teams Dominate 1st TCAL Meet; Open Season 5-0
September 30th, 2021
Richmond, CA – The Saint Mary’s Cross Country Teams opened their 2021 TCAL season on Thursday, running at Point Pinole Regional Park against league rivals Albany, De Anza, Salesian, Pinole Valley and Richmond. The 5-way meet was the first of 3 league cluster meets that bring together multiple teams to a single competition. On Thursday, the other teams were no match for the powerful girls squad, which is quickly emerging as one of the top teams in the North Coast Section.
Led by fast-rising sophomore Milan Jackson, junior co-captain Sofia Jackson, and a multitude of young, talented upstarts, the Panthers have the look of section contender. “Today was our first 3 mile race of the season,” said veteran head coach Denis Mohun. “For some of our runners, it was the first time they’ve ever raced for 3 miles. Given that, I thought we ran pretty well. However, I think this team has a lot more than we showed today.”
The aforementioned Milan Jackson was the first Panther across the finish line, covering the rolling three mile course in 19:42. Sofia Jackson was next in 20:02, followed by freshman Khaya Jackson (20:12), sophomore Annika Punz (21:00) and freshman Alexa Lawson (21:05). Junior Leiah Goode (21:21) and senior co-captain Mallor Boell (21:40) made up the top 7 for the victorious Panthers.
Earlier, the junior varsity girls completely dominated their race, grabbing 9 of the top 10 places (including the top 6) to cruise to an easy shut out victory. Senior Hailey Vines, a newcomer to cross country, won the race, followed by three freshmen: Tatiana Wilson, Jing Li-Chou, and Lia Sullivan, and a pair of juniors: Cally McIntyre and Georgia Rogers.
On the boy’s side, both varisty and junior varsity teams won 4 of their 5 races but both lost to powerful Albany teams. In the varsity race, junior Mateo Malko-Allen (16:12) was the top Panther, followed by seniors Ryan Painter (17:11) and Simon Moss (17:51), sophomore Charlie Higley (18:05), and juniors Adrian Licea (18:25) and Vale Johnson Vigeant (18:28).
In the junior varsity race, junior Jurgis Vass – normally a varsity runner who was, instead, running the shorter 2 mile race on this day - led the way for the Panthers, followed by freshman Brandon Bosio and sophomore Darragh Westover. Ninth graders Gabriel Cabral and Luke Bradley completed the scoring for the JV team, many of whom were running their first race of the season.
Next up for the Panthers is the annual Artichoke Invitational on Saturday, October 2nd in Half Moon Bay. The Panthers have 25+ runners entered into the always popular 2.3 mile race. Good luck to the Panthers this weekend!
Player Profile: Ryan Painter
by Sydney Scott
September 28th, 2021
This week, I caught up with Varsity Cross Country Captain Ryan Painter. Ryan has run both cross country and track since he entered Saint Mary’s 4 years ago. As a track athlete in the spring, he runs the 800 and 1600 but in the fall it’s nothing but 2 and 3 mile cross country races. Ryan recently finished 12th at the Viking Invitational with a personal best 11:04 on a two mile course. When not running, Ryan plays piano and enjoys mountain biking and surfing. He enjoys studying math and history and thinks he’ll pursue one of those areas once in college.
Q: How did you get into your sport?
A: I ran track in 8th grade and freshman year I ran cross country and I’ve been doing it since. I initially enjoyed both of them and have gotten more attached to them as time as gone on.
Q: What do you like best about Cross Country at Saint Mary’s?
A: I’d say the comradery and everyone working together and pushing each other to improve. I love the team culture as we support each other and work hard together every practice.
Q: What has been the highlight of your Saint Mary’s running career thus far?
A: Our race in Clovis in 2019. The whole team drove out and it was a lot of fun. Everyone raced well and we got a chance to compete on the state meet course against some of the best teams in the state. But mostly, it was really fun to just spend time with the team.
Q: Do you have a favorite story you could share about one of the coaches or your teammates?
My favorite story so far has been when we ran the Taco Bell Run at the end of last year. The Taco Bell Run has each person run an all out mile after eating Taco Bell tacos. As runners, our diet is usually pretty good so to have to eat fast food and then run as hard as we can is… let’s say… challenging. Some guys had the tacos go down and then back up. When people hear the stories, they think it’s pretty disgusting. But somehow, it’s kind of fun. It definitely is something you never forget.
Q: Do you have a pre-meet meal or ritual?
A: I eat pasta before every race and drink a lot of water the day of.
Q: What advice would you give to a new player/teammate?
A: If you’re new to running, don’t get discouraged after just a few weeks. Running is hard and it takes a LOT of running to get good. It gets easier as you build a base and before you know it you can do things you would have thought you could do. I never would have thought I could run under 5 minutes for a mile or have a chance to run 3 miles in under 17:00 but I can. Believe in yourself and trust the coaches' workouts because it's helping you improve.
Q: Any hopes/goals that you have for yourself and for your team this season?
A: For myself to break 17 for the 3 mile and for the team to be competitive in TCAL and the NCS.
Girl’s Win F/S Girls Race @ Viking Opener
September 18th, 2021
Santa Rosa, CA - Both the Girls and Boys Cross Country teams utilized their depth, talent and determination to win two of the six races they were entered in at the Viking Invitational at Spring Lake Park in Santa Rosa on Saturday. Along with the team victories, both squads featured individual champions and award winners as well as a slew of personal bests recorded.
The girl’s frosh-soph team began the day by placing 4 runners in the top 11 to secure a dominant team victory. Sophomore Milan Jackson led the way with a PR 12:18 over the rolling 2.0 mile course, placing 3rd in her race while running the 5th fastest time of the day. Freshmen teammates Alexa Lawson and Khaya Jackson were in hot pursuit, placing 6th and 8th individually.. while sophomore Annika Punz placed 11th. All of those times were also personal bests.
Junior Sofia Jackson opened her 2021 campaign with a solid 6th place finish in the junior-senior race. Her 12:59 was her fastest ever over a 2.0 mile distance. Teammate and fellow 11th grader Leiah Goode placed 18th at 13:38, followed by senior co-captain Mallory Boell (14:07) and a pair of juniors – Georgia Rogers (15:29) and Cally MacIntyre (15:33).
Another trio of freshmen, running in the Open Race against a mix of runners from all grades, ran themselves into a first place tie with perennial power Maria Carrillo. Aoife Shen, donning a Saint Mary’s uniform for the very first time, ran away from the field to win in 13:56. Her sister, Sorcha, placed 7th (14:44) while Lia Sullivan ran the best race of her young career to place 3rd at 14:23.
For the Boys, junior Mateo Malko-Allen ran 10:25 to place 2nd in the junior boy’s race. That time made him the 2nd fastest boy of the day, no matter the race or grade. Senior captain Ryan Painter was also up to the task on Saturday, running 11:04 for the 2.0 mile course, which was the fastest race of his life. Earlier in the day, a trio of sophomores ran very inspired races. Colin Kopchik placed 11th in the very fast, very competitive sophomore race. His time of 11:39 was his lifetime best. Charlie Higley was nipping at Colin’s heels the entire race, finishing 13th at 11:41 while newcomer Darragh Westover continues to impress, running a minute faster (12:30) than he did just two weeks ago at the time trial.
Next up for the Panthers is their TCAL opener against rivals Albany, De Anza, Salesian and Pinole Valley on Thursday, September 30th at Point Pinole Regional Park.
Stars Shine @ Ed Sias Invitational
September 11th, 2021
Martinez, CA – After a pandemic created hiatus in 2020, the annual Ed Sias Invitational returned in 2021 with the usual cast of Northern California powerhouses, perennial stars, high-level competition, hot weather, and plenty of fast times. Led by a couple of veterans and a bevy of young talent, the Saint Mary’s cross country team emerged from Ed Sias serving notice that they’ll be in the state meet conversation come November.
Junior Mateo Malko-Allen was the top runner for the boy’s squad. Running in the Varsity Boy’s Small School Race, Mateo stayed with the lead group for the majority of the race in finishing 5th overall. His medal-winning run over the rolling 2.0 mile course was timed in 10:49 – which is his personal best at Ed Sias. Teammate Ryan Painter also gutted out his personal best (11:41), running almost a minute faster than he did in 2019. Seniors Simon Moss and Andreas Pichardo also ran solid races according to assistant coach Ben Turman.
The Boy’s JV Race was run in the early afternoon in almost 90 degree heat. The hot weather, however, didn’t seem to bother sophomore Charlie Higley, who followed up his eye-opening time trial with another solid run at Ed Sias – finishing 6th overall in 12:13. Sophomore teammate Darraugh Westover, competing in his first-ever cross country meet, also received praise from the coaches for his gritty performance.
The talent-heavy girl’s squad also had several top notch individual performances. Sophomore Milan Jackson, quickly emerging as one of the unscripted stars in the East Bay running corridors, picked up a medal of her own with her 5th place finish in the Girl’s Varsity Race. In the history of our school, her time of 13:02 “has only been bettered by a couple of girls” according to longtime head coach Denis Mohun. “Milan has the potential to be one of the best we’ve ever had,” beamed her coach. Juniors Leiah Goode (14:48) and senior Mallory Boell (14:51) also ran very well according to coach Mohun.
The Girl’s JV race was completely dominated by the Panthers up front, placing 3 girls in the top 10. Freshman Khaya Jackson took charge of the race late and pulled away to win (13:36), while freshman Alexa Lawson finished 4th (14:06), and sophomore Annika Punz placed 5th (14:27). The strength of those three places, combined with the runs of freshman Lia Sullivan and junior HoneyRose Smith, propelled the Panthers to a 4th place team finish.
“Overall, I thought the runners competed well today,” concluded coach Mohun. “For many of them, it was the first time they’ve run since 2019 and for some it was the first time they’ve ever run a race in a Saint Mary’s uniform. Couple that with the hot weather and stiff competition, and I think they represented themselves and our team very well.”
Next up for the Panthers is the Viking Opener next Saturday, September 18th, in Santa Rosa.
Youth Serve Notice @ 23rd Annual Time Trial
September 7th, 2021
Each year since 1999, the Saint Mary’s Cross Country team has kicked off their season with a team time trial at Tilden Park. The course - a winding, rolling 1.9 mile run through the trees and trails of the beautiful Berkeley park – both challenges runners and serves as a peak into the runner’s fitness level, talent, determination and competitiveness.
“This is one of my favorite days of the year,” said longtime varsity girls coach Denis Mohun. “It helps develop team chemistry, allows the runners to finally get a race in after a long summer of running, gets the younger runners a chance to experience a competition, and offers us coaches a preview of who’s ready to go.”
On Tuesday, many of the runners let the coaches know that are certainly “ready to go.” Junior Mateo Malko-Allen, forecasted to be one of the top runners in Division IV, became the 6th fastest runner in school history on the course, blazing to a personal best 10:20. That time also makes him the 4th fastest junior ever. Sophomore Charlie Higley also cracked the all-time list, running almost 2:00 minutes faster than he did a year ago… crossing the finish line in 11:30.. which was the 4th fastest time of the day. Freshman Brandon Bosio also secured a spot on the all-time 9th grade list, finishing as the day’s fastest newcomer in 12:52.
The headliners of the day, however, had to be the 9th and 10th grade girls. Combined, they placed 8 different girls on the all-time list – including 6 in the top 10 all-time! Leading the way was sophomore sensation Milan Jackson. An accomplished hooper, Milan is also an outstanding runner who showed her talent and competitiveness with her 12:42 scorcher. Milan now ranks as the 4th fastest sophomore ever and the #7 girl to ever run the course.
“Milan runs with such courage; such guts,” remarked Coach Mohun. “She’s a great model for both the younger runners, older runners, girls and boys on what it looks to run tough.”
Another sophomore, Annika Punz, delivered a remarkable run herself which may have made her the most improved runner of the day. Her 13:19 makes her the #7 sophomore ever, ahead of runners who have state meet medals!
Freshman Khaya Jackson, Milan’s sister, also announced her arrival to the storied Panther squad. Her 13:06 makes her the 2nd fastest freshman ever, behind only state meet award winner and former UNLV star Spencer Moore. Teammate Alexa Lawson, whose family and legacy is well documented on the Saint Mary’s campus, was close behind in 13:15.. making her the 4th fastest 9th grader in school history. Sorcha Shen (13:58) and Jing Li-Chou (14:16) ran themselves into the record books and won themselves a “Tilden All-Time Top 10” t-shirt for their efforts.
In all, the day was a successful one for sure. “For the most part, we’re proud of the effort,” concluded boys head coach Jeff Rogers. “As a coach, all we can ask for is their best effort. If they’re willing to give that, we feel like we can coach them to times and performances that will make us all proud.”
The Panthers first invitational meet is the Ed Sias Invitational this Saturday, September 11th at Hidden Valley Park in Martinez. Come out and support the Panthers as they open their 2021 season!
Excitement and Uncertainty Usher in 2021 Cross Country Season
August 12th, 2021
Each cross country season brings with it an air of uncertainty and the 2021 season will be no different. Having graduated 7 varsity runners from the boys and girls 2020 teams, this year’s teams are hoping that those voids will be filled - in numbers
and performance, - by a young group of hungry, dedicated, talented runners.
“Anytime you lose the kind of talent and depth that we did, a bit of uncertainty is sure to follow,” said boys head coach Jeff Rogers. “The jump from JV to Varsity is substantial, both physically and psychologically. So the challenge certainly lies in front of us. Still, I am optimistic that this group can carry on the strong tradition we’ve established over the past two decades.”
These feelings of optimism are fueled by the combination of several returning runners and a group of talented up and comers. Leading the way for the girls will be the two top runners from last year’s squad: Milan Jackson and Sofia Jackson. Along with sharing the same last name, Milan and Sofia also share an abundance of drive, determination and talent that make them two of the top runners in the TCAL. “Our two fastest runners to start the season will most certainly be Milan and Sofia,” said longtime coach Denis Mohun. “Those two were are top two last season and both had strong track seasons. I look for both of them to lead the way early on.”
In addition to Milan and Sofia, Coach Mohun’s squad has some solid upperclassmen leadership is senior co-captain Mallory Boell as well as a bevy of talent in underclassmen Alexa Lawson, Khaya Jackson and Annika Punz. Add to the mix juniors Leiah Goode, Georgia Rogers, Olivia Tarango and what appears to be a feisty, eager freshman class and the 7 time defending TCAL champions seem more than capable of defending their title.
For the boys, the 2021 team’s hopes rest on the ability of some of the younger runners to transition to varsity as quickly as possible. The team will be led by one of the top NCS runners in Division IV, junior Mateo Malko-Allen. Mateo - fresh off a 4:25 (1600), 9:38 (3200) track campaign- enters the 2021 season as one of the individuals vying for a medal at the NCS Championships meet in November.
“Mateo’s talent and desire are a gift,” said boy’s varsity assistant and former CAL Bear Ben Turman. “I’ve been in the running world for 4 decades now and can say that I haven’t come upon many high schoolers like Mateo. His determination and passion for the sport will take him places. We’re excited to have him on our team.”
After Mateo, the Panthers will rely on their captain, senior Ryan Painter as well as senior Simon Moss and junior Adrian Licea. Ryan’s commitment to running this summer – on the heels of his 4:51 mile in the spring – suggest he’s ready for a breakout senior campaign. Likewise, Simon’s run a significant amount this summer and should be ready to contribute “significantly”, according to Coach Turman. Junior Adrian Licea, whose summer was derailed with injury, is back and should provide the much-needed depth a good team needs. After that, senior newcomer Andreas Pichardo is “intriguing” according to Coach Rogers, while sophomores Colin Kopchick and Charlie Higley… along with juniors Jurgis Vass and Vale Johnson Vigeant hope to make that much talked about jump from JV to Varsity.
“My hope for our 2021 team is that their appetite for running continues to grow,” says Rogers. “I think that is the prerequisite for improvement and success in this sport. I see a few of the guys already chomping at the bit but we’ll need everyone to match their enthusiasm. I’m equal parts excited and uncertain heading into this season.” Which, in many respects, is what most runners feel as they get on the starting line of a race… excited and uncertain.
The season opens on with the 23rd annual time trial at Tilden Park on Tuesday, September 7th, followed by the Ed Sias Invitational on Saturday, September 11th. Come out and support the Panthers as they kick off their 2021 campaign.