Archie Williams cross country season starts with a quick splash

A pack of MCAL girls runners take off from the starting line at the Stinson Beach Relays.
A pack of MCAL girls runners take off from the starting line at the Stinson Beach Relays.
Willy Finley

Wednesday, Sept 6, marked the start of this  year’s cross country season.The Archie Williams boys and girls cross country teams hit the sand at Stinson Beach for the annual Stinson Beach relay. However, the Falcons season started long before this in early August as they gained several new team members and trained together every day. They did so in preparation for redemption after Redwood High School beat them to first place last year in the Marin County Athletic League (MCAL).

Archie Williams sophomore Ani Stieg fends off Marin Catholic senior Audrey Carr as she leads her team to a first place victory. (Willy Finley)

MCAL cross country teams battled for a spot on the podium, celebrating both victories and losses with a plunge into the water at the end of the race. Though most meets don’t include beach day fun, this local tradition began in the 1960s as the perfect way to kick off the cross country season. 

Senior varsity runner Jackson McFerron battles with a Redwood competitor in the third leg of the Stinson Beach Relays. (Willy Finley)

The Falcons girls team took first place at this exhilarating beach race. Even with the waves continuously sneaking up on the teams, the team of sophomores Ani Stieg, Brooke Lee, and Alyssa Silverstein, and senior Ally Greenwald had a time of 46:08 minutes and took their well-earned first-place position.

“Having the first race in four months was really fun,” Ally said. “It was really fun running with the team and seeing all the other ones [teams]”. 

Racing through a tide that continuously rose throughout the race was not an easy feat, but the cross country runners kept their feet above the water and stayed consistent throughout the entire run. They cheered each other on from the sandy sidelines and waited until the last runner crossed the finish line.

The Stinson Beach relays were a strong start for the Girls Varsity Cross Country team and left everyone smiling and ready for the season. 

“I’m excited for the strength of the team and to see us go far,” said senior Taylor Denitto

I’m excited for the strength of the team and to see us go far

— Taylor Denitto

Senior Taylor DeNitto looks back for the high five hand off as her teammate senior Jasmin Desruisseau finishes her leg of the race. (Willy Finley)

Following close behind the girls’ first place position, the Archie Williams boys placed second in the relay with a time of 38:10 minutes. While Redwood took first with a time of 37:52. This second place finish didn’t discourage Will Mulliken, an Archie Williams junior who placed as the top individual boys runner with a time of 8:53. Will ran the anchor leg for his relay team, securing them second place.

Senior Archie Williams teammates John Minutoli and AJ Aguilar congratulate each other after finishing fifth and sixth place in the team standings at the Stinson Beach Relays. (Willy Finley)

“I feel good,” Will said. “Stinson Beach relays is always the opener that we look forward to. This race is always a blast.” 

Both the Falcons boys and girls teams placed high in the ranks, making a respectable name for themselves and causing friendly competition to brew early on in the season. 

Having the first meet of the season as a relay instead of an individual race helps provide a sense of community and tones down the pressure of the meet, making it less daunting for first-time athletes and even for those who have already ran the course before.

“It definitely gets the nerves out for future races to come. It’s great to run out here with all the teams, with not as much competition,” said Junior Ian Sharp.

The cross country team has bright hopes for this year’s MCAL season as they look forward to following their strong first and second place finish at the Stinson Beach Relays.

“This season we’re bringing the energy,” Will and Ian both said.


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