Added today from the Petaluma Argus Courier:
Petaluma has hopes of a national ranking.
The following is Bjorn Griepenburg's account of Petaluma's trip to the Nike Team Nationals this past weekend as they competed in the Open Race and had an outstanding effort. Bjorn, Petaluma's 5th man at NTN, is standing far right on the picture to the left courtesy of Bill Yungert.
Our team’s trip to the Nike Team Nationals was a perfect way to end a great cross country season. We went up to Portland with the plan to relax and soak in the experience while enjoying ourselves, which we unquestionably succeeded in doing.
For Cole Yungert and myself, this represented our last high school cross country race, so we obviously wanted to go out with hard fought races. Everyone else did too—after state, the seven of us came together and talked about our race, realizing that no one met his individual goal. I think we were all a bit disappointed with the times we ran, although we were ecstatic at the same time to make the DII podium. Going into the NTN Open race, all seven of us wanted to make up for our races at state and go out on a good note, leaving nothing to regret.
With that being said, we did not approach this race with the same focus that we did for state, and it may have helped. On Friday we ran the course, which was incredibly sloppy. We practiced jumping over the hay bales and running the camel back hills, two of the more unique aspects that, along with the mud, make the course unlike anything else in high school cross country. After a day of sliding around in the mud, we were anxiously awaiting the next morning’s race, despite the “unfavorable” weather forecasts.
The weather forecasts had all of us excited. Coming from the Bay Area, Portland’s weather took awhile to adjust to, but we were all wishing for the sloppiest conditions possible. On Friday night the forecast for our race was low 30’s with snow. We watched a movie and joked around, keeping our minds off of the race.
We woke up early Saturday morning and piled into our vans to head over to the course. It was snowing when we got there, the first snow any of us had seen in quite some time. Unfortunately, it stopped snowing by the time our race began.
There is nothing that can describe the Portland Meadows course. There are a number of areas with standing water, including “the lake,” a portion of ankle deep water that stretches about 50 meters. The entire course is on mud and grass, both of which slow runners down dramatically. The race itself was probably the most fun one I will ever be involved in.
We finished fourth, behind the Kenyans, Vista Murrieta, and Crescenta Valley, three great teams that helped provide the race with some high quality competition. I don’t think there was any disappointment in the performance. All in all, it was a great experience, and a great way to cap off my high school cross country career.