Cross Country sets perfect pace for success


Cole Anderson ’22

EJ Odocayen ’20 runs toward the finish at the Westmoor Invitational.

Christian Ramirez Cortes ’22, Staff Reporter

Elijah Odocayen ’20 and Aidan Murtagh ’20, varsity athletes, continue to lead the Archbishop Riordan High School Cross Country team to various successful meets, three in the past month.

At the Lowell Invitational on Sept. 7, varsity finished 7th out of 30 teams and the other levels such as the freshman and junior varsity showed great improvement.

Benny Willers ’08, head coach of the cross country program, stated, “It’s always fun watching the freshmen get their feet wet. The first race is always an anxious occasion for the youngsters.”

The first WCAL meet on Sept. 18 proved to be successful and showed a lot of improvement throughout all the levels. There were two freshmen in the top 10 in the freshman race, and varsity finished in fourth place with four runners in the top 20. This was the best showing and performance since the 1980s.

The Ram Invitational on Sept. 28 resulted in a third place finish for Riordan. Jordan Noeuku ’21 ran a very good race, but his score was not added to the total points of the team. Conflicts such as his bib, paper with a number that is used to identify the runner, being lost and his tracking chip not being tracked affected the total scores. Instead of taking first place, the Riordan runners had to settle for third place.

Murtagh ’20 said, “We were really happy with what we did, but we didn’t get to go home with a plaque.”

Every year, there is an increase of five to 10 runners. There are a total of 55 on the team this year, which is a record amount unlike seven seasons ago, when there were only 18 on the entire team.

The Cross Country program has many goals in mind, both as a team and individually with each runner. What they do to prepare for every race will be vital to completing these goals. Riordan also stands out from many other cross country programs due to various reasons such as mental toughness and teamwork.

Jesus Aguilar ’22 said, “We have to put in a lot of work, but we also have to consider how we are feeling and how hard we have to push ourselves.”

For the Junior Varsity and freshman level, the main goal is to reach the varsity level and work hard in order to get there.

Mary Dalton, Junior Varsity coach, stated, “For the Junior Varsity, we are focusing on running faster and stronger.”

At the varsity level, the main goal is to finish top four in the league and ultimately win CCS.

Coach Willers has even bigger goals for the Varsity runners. He explained, “For me personally, I would love to see them make it to the state meet and finish in the top 10.”

The future for Riordan’s Cross Country program looks bright, as leaders Elijah and Aidan are prepared for the season. Everyone is feeling good and ready to work hard following several successful meets.

Aguilar stated, “I think we have a lot of things to work on like getting some injured guys fully recovered, but we are ready for competition and I believe we’re all in a good mindset for the season.”