Northgate’s fastest runners represent at NCS and CIF meets
December 17, 2016
Filed under Sports
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While most were relaxing the week of Thanksgiving, varsity runners Jessie Boucher, Omar Kabbani, and Michael Wheeler were competing in back-to-back weekends as the fastest long distance runners from Northgate.
After a tough season, the NCS (North Coast Section) meet was even harder to compete in. The runners competed in NCS on Nov. 19. The three-mile race was a great success for the Northgate team, where all three runners qualified for state.
“I really had to fight to get to the front of the NCS race to be in contention for state since my start was slow, but it worked out very well in the end,” said Boucher, a senior, who qualified along with Kabbani and Wheeler for the state championship.
“I was just relieved about making it to state. I was so glad when I realized that I had made it,” said Wheeler, a junior.
All three then traveled to Fresno to compete on Nov. 26 at the CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) meet. After a tough season in the new league, qualifying for state was also a major challenge.
The Fresno course is a tough three-mile loop with a large hill at the two-mile mark. Familiar with hills, Northgate runners were unfazed when faced by the challenge, and had strong finishes. There, they competed with the top high school runners in the state. All three Northgate participants raced well, each placing in the top 50 of their races.
“The second mile was very hilly so I definitely had to cool it down and make sure I didn’t use all of my strength before the third mile.Going up to the biggest hill that was right before the 2-mile mark was one of the hardest spots, and every step took a lot of willpower,” explained Boucher.
Coach Peter Brewer was also very happy with the team this year. “This year the team was very deep,” he said. “We had not just a few quality runners in the mix for varsity, but many. This does not happen every year.”
He also mentioned the team atmosphere this year was special. “For this season we had a much more cohesive team spirit, a joie de vie about running that made the team more focused and enjoyable.”
With the closing of their high school running careers, Kabbani and Boucher were thankful for all of their experiences and accomplishments while on the team. Both runners were members of the team for all four years.
“I feel as though I have contributed all that I could to this team in my four years, and I am proud to know that I an leaving the team in very capable hands,” Boucher said.
Both seniors agree the two races were a great end to the cross country season and an even better end to their high school cross country careers.
“I’m not only going to miss everyone on the team but also a lot of my rivals from the league,” Kabbani said. “It really was like a close-knit family and I loved being able to compete against the same guys and race with the team at all of those meets.”