Recap: State (November 30th) & NCS (November 23rd)

The last two weeks were a whirlwind, with the boys winning NCS and the girls taking 3rd, and culminating in an incredible day in Fresno on Saturday:

Senior Colton Swinth is the officially a State Champion, the first for Maria Carrillo in Cross Country! His 15:10 was the fastest ever in Redwood Empire history by 12 seconds.

Senior Rory Smail took 2nd place! His 15:23 is a tie for the second fastest ever in the Empire, with two guys who were..wait for it…also state champions!

The team took second by just 17 points and behind a resurgent Campolindo team. Our boys had six PRs and improved on their Redwood Empire record at Woodward park with a 78:31 team time (improving by 1:10 from 79:41 at Clovis)!

Our top girls finisher was Sophomore Ashley Busienei (19:35) in 56th, and just behind Monty’s Maria Briceno; way to go Ashley!

The girls took their 15th top 15 finish, running 13th overall. They did well considering a spate of injuries and challenges the last couple of weeks, only missing a top-10 by four points.

It has been truly an amazing season. The team, parents, and coaches should hold their heads high that they left it all on the course at Woodward Park and can now look forward to some needed rest and the coming of the Track season!

Results and News Coverage:

Recap: Night of Two-Mile Madness

Fun was had for all last night at the Maria Carrillo track. There was fun music, fast times and PRs, hanging with other team (8 teams in total showed up) and even a mean Spike Ball game in the infield. Thanks to our coaches, who pulled this meet together in just a few days to offer an alternative to Hoka Postal meet that was cancelled. A 3200m on the track at the end of Cross Country is a neat way to show how much fitness they’ve acquired and to build confidence by running fast times as we head toward the Track & Field season.


  • One of the unique aspects of this meet was that seeding was done purely on time and not separated by boys and girls. It was exciting to see the collegiality and respect among the runners, pushing one another to PRs, and high fiving each other at the finish line.
  • In Heat 1, Freshman Josephine Rivera-Hoagland ran 12:56.0, dipping in the 12s and showing good late season form.
  • In Heat 2, Sophomore Ashley Busienei took 8th out of 14 and clocked an impressive 11:31.7. In the same heat, Freshman Logan Dawson ran 11:10.2, showing promise to get below 11 minutes very soon.
  • In Heat 3, Sophomore Noe Vieyra took the win with a 9:47.7, which is an 8 second PR running alone at the front. Noe showed poise, going out controlled in the first 3 laps and the pulling away for the win. Freshman Dustin Hatfield also ran a strong freshman time of 10:20.6, which shows that he’s ready to dip toward the coveted 10 minute mark during track season. Way to go Pumas!


Recap: NBL-Oak Championship (11/8/19)

Friday was an amazing day to experience. A season is full of ups and downs and part of the process of Cross Country is picking up your teammates when things don’t go as planned, and sometimes picking yourself up (literally) from the ground and finishing the race. But Friday, nearly everything went right and as planned for the Pumas. It speaks to the team spirit, hard work and preparation by the entire team. Well done Pumas!


  • On November 8th, the Maria Carrillo boys became the NBL Champions for the 8th year in a row! 
  • Set a new Spring Lake record of 76:58 (15:24 average on the 3.05 course established in 1988). The Pumas put the entire seven man roster into the top 10 and toppled the record set by the Piner 2011 state podium team.
  • Congrats to: Seniors Colton Swinth (1st/League Champ), Rory Smail (2nd), Pierce Kapustka (3rd), Omar Alvarez-Hernandez (4th), Patrick Philip (6th), and Sophomores Jacob Donohue (8th) and Noe Vieyra (10th)
  • League Champ Colton Swinth (15:05) also ran the 5th best time in course history!


  • NBL Champions for the 9th year in a row!
  • NBL-Oak Individual Champion: Junior Nicole Morris (18:40).
  • The Puma girls earned a sweep, taking the first three spots:
    • Junior Nicole Morris (1st), Senior Jasmin Hirth (2nd), and Sophomore Ashley Busienei (3rd), followed by Freshman Avery Hedden (6th), Senior Avery Damron (7th), Freshman Rebekah Taylor (8th), and Sophomore Vivien Mattice (20th). 

The Maria Carrillo JV teams also came thru with wins:

  • The boys team took the top 8 spots. Junior Simon Peterson took the win for the boys (15:59), followed by Senior Elijah Ettedgui and Junior Dante Benedetti.
  • The girls team took the top 6 spots and 8 of the top 10. Sophomore Brooke Cregan took the win for the girls (20:35), followed by Freshman Ella Chong and Josephine Rivera-Hoagland.

Both the boys and girls teams are ranked high in NCS and will compete on 11/23 at Hayward High School for the honor to continue on to state. The boys are also ranked #2 for CIF D3 and will be in the hunt for their first state championship, which is also something no NCS D3 team has ever done!

Results and Coverage:

Recap: NBL#3 vs. Ukiah (10/23/19)

The Puma’s showed their incredible depth and got the job done yesterday in Ukiah under hot and try conditions on a hilly course. Senior Patrick Philip (17:24) took the win ahead of Sophomore Noe Vieyra (17:27). Patrick’s time was the 6th fastest MCHS time ever on that course! In a funny statistical coincidence, three runners ran the 3rd fastest all-time for their class: Junior Simon Peterson (17:36), Noe, mentioned above, and Freshman Dustin Hatfield (18:49).

On the girls side, Freshman Avery Hedden (22:05) took her first career win in a MCHS jersey! In second and third was Sophomore Vivien Mattice (22:13), and Senior Avery Damron (22:30), who is coming on at the right time. The top five girls had the 4th fastest team time ever on that course, and with 4 underclassman!

Next week we face Healdsburg and then onto NBL finals. Great job team!

Results and Local Coverage:

Recap: NBL Combined (10/16/19)

Full Google Photo Album: Here (Photos courtesy of John Page)

Fast and Fun Times at Spring Lake:

Due to the power outage and other scheduling constraints, the NBL#2 meet turned into a NBL-Oak combined meet and a de facto preview of the upcoming NBL Championship next month.

Given that none of the racers were under serious pressure, and senior runners were assigned to help others pace to PRs, this meet was pure fun!

Here are some highlights:

Five runners made the varsity standard at this meet (<17:00 for boys and <21:00 for girls) and several runners are “right there” and we expected them to make it at NBL Champs:

  • Sophomore Adam McCorquodale (16:48.5; 4.4% improvement) and Freshman Dustin Hatfield (16:56.7)
  • Freshman Rebekah Taylor (19:13.6), Avery Hedden (19:43.9), and Payton McGarva (19:44.3), and Sophomore Brooke Cregan (20:32.2).

We also saw three boys go sub-16, including: Senior Patrick Philip (15:54.4), Sophomore Noe Vieyra (15.55.0) and Junior Simon Peterson (15:58.6). And, Noe’s run was the 4th fastest sophomore time in team history and the 21st fastest sophomore time in Redwood Empire history!

Wins and Top Placings:

Junior Bryce Lindemann (17:35.0) won the JV boys race without much pressure, except for the next seven runners, who were all Pumas, including a strong freshman Spring Lake debut by Sean Gubera (17:47.2).

In the JV Girls’ race, we saw Freshman Elianah Demange (21:33.7) take 2nd place, followed closely by Freshman Ella Chong (21:34.3). We expect these girls to make a serious run a the varsity standard by NBL Champs!

Several runners had huge PRs too:

  • Sophomore Ashley Busienei (19:09.4; 8.1% improvement)
  • Junior Logan Field (17:37.4; 5.8% improvement)
  • Sophomore Jason Page (17:45.2; 4.6% improvement)
  • Junior Kyle Hirth (17:52.6; 5.3% improvement)
  • Junior Patrick Cooper (17:56.8; 4.6% improvement)

Celebrating our Seniors:

The last home NBL meet is also when we celebrate our graduating seniors. We look forward to seeing these fine young men and women do great things during the rest of this season and in their bright futures. They have continued on the legacy of Carrillo XC, and taken it ever further. We are truly grateful and will miss each and every one of them. Go Pumas!

Local Coverage and Results:

Recap: Clovis Invitational (10/12/19)

Images courtesy of John Page. Full Album here.

Clovis is one of the funnest meets of the year. The students get to preview the state meet course and run against top schools from other divisions, as well as some of the top ranked teams and runners in the nation. Overall, this year’s meet maintained a strong positive note, with good weather and air quality and our runners performed great at both the individual and team levels. The students felt good about their performances and their prospects to get even stronger by NBL Championships and beyond!

The Varsity ladies got things started with the earliest race of the day (7:15am). They took 4th place in the Varsity Girls Medium race, against larger D1 and DII teams, and even beat a strong Chico girls team that is state ranked in DIII. Junior Nicole Morris (18:58.2) and Senior Jasmin Hirth (19:08.9) went 13th and 17th, both running PRs, followed by Sophomore Ashley Busienei (19:28.8) and Freshman Rebekah Taylor (19:35.8) who went 27th and 30th. Senior Avery Damron (20.48.8) to make it five under 21 minutes, including moving up 50 spots between the 1 mile and 2.1 mile marks, and then picking off another 10 spots in the final mile. There is a lot to be excited about on the girl’s team, as they begin to rebuild from last year, including Rebekah Taylor running the 7th fastest MCHS freshman time at Woodward (just ahead of some big names, like Cal Poly runners Aimee Armstrong and Sydnie Rivas).

The Varsity men had a historic race, running the fastest time at Woodward of any team in Redwood Empire history:

Team Times
1:19:41 Maria Carrillo 2019 Clovis (15:56 0:53)
1:19:55 Petaluma 2008 (15:59 0:43)
1:20:42 Piner 2011 (16:09 1:20)

The team was led by Seniors Colton Swinth (15:33.4, team record) and Rory Smail (15:36.0), both finishing in the top 25 overall and running the 1st and 2nd fastest MCHS times ever at Woodward. They also ran the 10th and 13th fastest times in Redwood Empire history at Woodward!

With key Senior Pierce Kapustka encountering a foot injury, we saw Senior Omar Alvarez-Hernandez (15:52.6) run a huge PR, and also the 5th fastest MCHS time ever at Woodward! Sophomore Jacob Donohue (16:12.1) and Senior Patrick Philip (16:27.2) also ran big PRs to close out the team scoring.” Jacob also ran the 2nd fastest MCHS sophomore time ever.

In other action we witnessed many great performances:

  • Sophomore Noe Vieyra (16:59.7) took the win in the S/M Frosh-Soph Race, followed closely by Freshman Dustin Hatfield (17:10.7) in 3rd place, which is also the 2nd fastest MCHS freshman time ever. The Frosh-Soph boys team also took 2nd overall!
  • Freshman Avery Hedden (21:00.2) just missed breaking 21 minutes and also ran the #6 MCHS girls time for the day, while braving higher temps in the Girls F/S race.
  • Top PRs of the meet:
    • Sophomore Misha Cheek (18:34.9): 19.4% improvement
    • Sophomore Ashley Busienei (19:29.8): 9.8% improvement
    • Senior Omar Alvarez-Hernandez (15:52.6): 9.7% improvement
    • Sophomore Jacob Donohue (16:12.1): 7.4% improvement
    • Sophomore Noe Vieyra (16:59.7): 4.2% improvement

National Coverage:

  • Recap
    • “Look for Agoura, Maria Carrillo, and Campolindo to battle for the state title in Division 3 at year’s end. The Chargers beat Maria Carrillo by 7 points here. Campolindo takes its stab at the Woodward Park course at next weekend’s Roughrider Invitational.
    • “Maria Carrillo’s Pumas enjoyed another strong outing from its fine frontrunners, Colton Swinth and Rory Smail.”

Local Coverage:

Meet Results:

Special Team Event: Gerry Lindgren Live (10/8/19)

On Tuesday Oct 8th, Gerry Lindgren joined us via his cell phone from Hawaii to discuss what it takes to build a strong mind-set as a runner. It was a fantastic opportunity for more than fifteen of our student runners to talk to one of the legends of high school running.

Who’s Gerry Lindgren? …Only one of the best all-time American distance runners of all time!

He’s #2 on the all-time best high school distance runners of all time (behind Jim Ryan) described as, “the most complete and versatile high school runners in American history”:

One of only 2 Americans all-time to beat Pre while in college:

We will likely pick a race of his to take us through lap-by-lap, here’s a good one with Marty Liguori. Frank Shorter, Pre and Gerry, who wins in a strategic race (on a gravel) in a “just OK” time of 8:45

Gerry’s High School Resume:

  • 1964 Broke National HS 5K with time of 13:44
  • 1964 US Olympic Trials winner in the 10K (at only 18 yrs of age), defeating Billy Mills, who won gold in the ’64 Olympics (Gerry got hit by a car 3 days before this race)
  • Set the indoor 2 mile American record at 8:40 (on an indoor wooden track that took 11 laps to run 1 mile); that stood for 49 years!
  • Lindgren’s durability for high mileage training was virtually un-matched, even to this day, often running more than 200 miles/wk

MCHS Alumni at Capital Cross (9/28/19)

Look who Greg ran into at Capital Cross:

MCHS Alumni, with Nicole Lane

Left to Right: Aimee Armstrong and Sydnie Rivas (Cal Poly), Cecilia Rivera (Santa Clara), Shannon Paladino (Nevada Reno), with Nicole Lane (Grad. El Molino and All Big West at UC Davis, 2014).

Here is the link to their results (College Women’s Invitational Race, 6K):

Speaking of running in college, here is the info/links from our recent Running in College seminar. Enjoy!

Recap: Woodbridge (9/21/19)

The MCHS cross country team traveled to Woodbridge again this year to compete in the what has been aptly and affectionately called the “Norco Speedway.” Our 14 boys and 14 girls joined 500+ schools and 15K+ other runners to test themselves on good flat surfaces, mostly gradual turns, and under the lights. Here are some highlights:

  • The Puma boys challenged themselves to move up to the Sweepstakes race, a first for the program, and faced a faster and more aggressive environment than anyone expected (the Norco Speedway seemed like the Norco Roller Derby). The boys had to contend with hard falls, shoving, and elbows, and yet they persevered. We didn’t witness as many personal best performances, but finishing in the top 1/3 of the teams was a moral victory for that race. It will also make the State meet seem like a breeze.
  • We are also seeing some positive tightening up of our 1-4 runners. In the past, we’ve been known as a team with a very strong top 3, but we’ve struggled to perform consistently across 1-5. Junior Omar Alvarez-Hernandez has run two strong races and much closer to C-P-R. This yielded a 27 second 1-4 spread, as opposed to ~45 seconds in the past.
  • Senior Colton Swinth was our top boy’s finisher (14:47.6) and also ran #1 All-Time for MCHS & #3 All-Time for Redwood Empire. In addition, we saw Omar Alvarez-Hernandez break out for another team-top-5 performance (15:14.6, 5.2% improvement).
  • In the girls Rated race, Senior Jasmin Hirth was our top girl finisher (17:52.6), breaking thru the 18 minute barrier! She also ran the 4th fastest time ever by a Carrillo girl.
  • In other action, the Boys “B” team took first place in the Varsity Gold race. The first four boys (Jacob, Noe, Patrick, Simon) came across in a tight pack (12, 15, 17, 18; with <4 second spread), making it virtually impossible for Southern Section powerhouse Claremont to steal the win. Sophomore Jacob Donohue was our top boy’s finisher in this race (15:27.0; 5.9% improvement). Sophomore Noe Vieyra (15:29.3, 4.5% improvement) also turned in a bit PR!
  • Our Freshman girls ran earlier in the day, which meant hotter temps, but they persevered, finished 5th overall and continue to show great promise. Our top finisher was Freshman Rebekah Taylor, who finished 4th. We also saw a strong finish from Freshman Payton McGarva, who sprinted home for 14th.
  • Meet Links:
  • Professional photos by PhotoSina (thousands of photos will be searchable by BIB number). Click here to learn more.
  • Next up for the Pumas is the first NBL meet on 10/9/19 at Spring Lake. See the Team calendar for all upcoming events.

Special thanks from Greg:

This meet could not have happened without the help of our coaches and parents. It is a huge undertaking to go that far for a race and it takes a well-oiled machine to make it work as well as it did. When you see Russ Pugh, Sue Philip, and Leanne West, please thank them profusely and express how much we appreciate them. When you see Dana Kapustka, please thank her for all that she did to get us flights, hotel beds, food, etc. All the detail Dana manages could not possibly be captured here. Thanks also to her merry crew of parent volunteers who helped with shuttling, food runs, and cheering/encouraging the runners.

Recap: Ed Sias Invitational (9/14/19)

New: Colton’s Interview (Dystat)

The Pumas came to Ed Sias on a mission this year to race and to race fast! Here are some highlights:

  • Temps were warm and it become warmer as the day wore on. The light breeze and shade was welcomed by the parents and spectators, but our students truly had to show great grit in their performances to achieve what they did in the pounding sun!
  • The boys were #1 out of 45 teams and the girls finished #3 out of 37 in the combined results. This is where all results from all races are merged together and it provides an early season snapshot about how the team compares to it’s DIII rivals, such as Campolindo, but also against bigger schools that are also state ranked.
  • Our team took home a lot of hardware, earning home medals in every race they entered.
    • Championship Plaques (1st Place Team, by race):
      • Boys Varsity Small School (Top 7)
        • The Pumas got out fast and had 3-4 guys in the lead pack for most of the race. At the base of the hill it was Seniors Colton Swinth and Rory Smail, followed closely by Campos lead guys. Colton and Rory were able to maintain the gap, followed by the unleashing of Colton’s kick for the win. Rory was a hair behind to give the boys the 1-2!
        • 1st place: Colton Swinth (10:20 = fastest time of the meet; MCHS course record, besting the great Ben Lawson by 0.4 seconds!)
        • 2nd place: Rory Smail (second fastest time of the meet)
        • Plus, we saw 6 Pumas in the top 20 combined, out of 1017 runners!
      • Boys JV Small School (Top 7)
        • 5th place: Junior Patrick Cooper
      • Boys Frosh-Soph (Top 7)
        • 2nd place: Sophomore Jacob Donohue (10:49 = MCHS sophomore course record)
        • 4th place: Sophomore Oswaldo Rodriguez
        • 5th place: Sophomore Noe Vieyra
      • 2nd place, Girls Varsity Small School (Top 7)
      • 3rd place: Senior Jasmin Hirth (sixth fastest time of the meet)
      • 4th place: Junior Nicole Morris
    • 3rd place, Girls Frosh-Soph (Top 7)
      • 4th place: Freshman Rebekah Taylor
    • 4th place, Girls JV Small School (Top 7)
  • Top MCHS All-Time Performances on the Hidden Valley Park course:
    • The varsity boys broke the team record, as well as the individual all-time marks below:
      • Colton Swinth, 1st all-time
      • Rory Smail, 3rd all-time
      • Pierce Kapustka, 7th all-time
      • Omar Alvarez-Hernandez, 8th all-time
    • The sophomore boys set all-time grade marks too:
      • Jacob Donohue, 1st all-time
      • Oswaldo Rodriguez, 7th all-time
      • Noe Vieyra, 9th all-time
  • Personal Records (PRs)
    • 18 out of 29 returning runners had a PR!
    • Girls
      • Senior Jamie Lu, 6.3% improvement
      • Sophomore Ashley Jepkoech, 4.2% improvement
    • Boys
      • Junior Patrick Cooper, 17.6% improvement
      • Noe Vieyra, 7.3% improvement
      • Omar Alvarez-Hernandez, 7.2% improvement
      • Junior Kyle Hirth, 6.7% improvement
      • Junior Logan Field, 5.4% improvement
      • Sophomore Adam McCorquodale, 4.3% improvement
  • Top Performers (Rancho + Ed Sias):
    • Statistically speaking, if we look at Rancho and Ed Sias combined, the two runners below have had the best start to 2019:
      • Rebekah Taylor, 1.13 (# of standard deviations from the mean)
      • Omar Alvarez, 1.55 (# of standard deviations from the mean)
  • Coaching Focus (Insight for Parents)
    • The coaches are focused on several key topics this month, such as hydration, race goal setting, and a strong competitive mindset. Visit the Training Resources page to learn more.
    • The coaches also reviewed an analysis of the splits from Ed Sias at practice yesterday (9/16/19). The second mile of Hidden Valley Park is harder than the first mile and they wanted the kids to shoot to limit the difference between them to 105-106%. The Average difference was 109.7% and the median was 107.8%. This goes to show that despite the great success yesterday, there is room for improvement on race execution. The splits analysis is also on the Training Resources page.
  • Videos by Andrew Smail
  • National Coverage:
  • Local Coverage: Redwood Empire Running
  • XC Stats Meet Results Page

Recap: Rancho Invitational (8/23/19)

Google Photos Album: Rancho 2019

Thanks for the photos John Page! If anyone wants to contribute photos in the future, please contact Patrick or Samantha at Thanks!

Meet Highlights

The annual Rancho Invite was a fantastic opportunity to test the legs after a several weeks, or in some cases an entire summer, of hard training and to “knock the rust off” under live racing conditions. It was also the first high school race for our freshman and first time runners. The Pumas did not disappoint, turning in solid performances and getting the season off to a great start. Here are some highlights:

  • On the girls side, we saw Junior Nicole Morris take the win, with a kick we haven’t seen before, holding off hard charging Senior Emma Boswell from Casa Grande. Senior Jasmine Hirth took 3rd. The top varsity girls were mainly running this as a tempo/training run, but still got the job done: Carrillo took four of the top 10, including strong runs from Sophomore Ashley Jepkoech (6th) and Freshman Rebekah Taylor (10th), Sophomore Brooke Cregan (11th) and Freshman Payton McGarva (12th). Freshman Ella Chong took 1st in the JV race. Overall, the future looks bright with a rising underclassman presence that was strongly felt at this meet. That depth will help with some of our top ladies battling some injuries.
  • On the boys side, Carrillo rested the top five varsity boys, giving the leadership reigns to the rest of of the team. In response, the boys took five of the top 9 spots. Senior Omar Alvarez-Hernandez sprinted home for fourth place and Sophomore Oswaldo Rodriguez took sixth, also earning them a spot on the coveted Woodbridge Sweepstakes roster. The “where in the world is Simon Peterson” theme (following the closure of RVCS) officially came to end too, with Simon posting a strong time and 7th place finish in his Vegas Gold debut. Junior Kyle Hirth took 1st in the JV race and Freshman Sean Gubera took 1st in the Freshman race, beating fellow Puma Freshman Benjamin Choe by 1 second!
  • Overall, the team ran great! The course was warm but not blazing (e.g. it was 77 and sunny for the boys Varsity race). The year-over-year improvements are hard to calculate, given that last year’s course was shorter due to construction (2.72 vs 2.97 miles). That said, there were some incredible 2-year PRs. Keep in mind that the coaches train for 3-5% improvement year-over-year. See below:
    • Senior Chilo Mandeville improved 3:12 (14.2%)
    • Senior Patrick Phillip improved 2:07 (11.8%)
    • Senior Jamie Lu improved 2:38 (11.0%)
  • Also, four girls and five boys ran top 40 all time marks at this race. You can see the breakdown via the links below. Also, GPS showed the course at over 3 miles (3.03 to 3.04 miles) and so the mile pacing was likely better that it shows in XCStats.
  • From the Coaches:
    • The coaches worked with the students last week to review their splits. For new parents, this is when the coaches take their time at the 1 mile, 2 mile and finish line and help students see how they paced thru the race. Many of our runners will be encouraged to work on the middle mile of the race when it’s easy to get tired or mentally check out. The middle of the race is when everyone else is hurting as much as you are it’s a great opportunity to pass and take points for your team!
  • Next up is the Ed Sias Invite on 9/14 in Martinez. We hope to see everyone there. It is a well run event, giving all students a chance to challenge themselves and win as a team. There will also be other top ranked teams from California, a luxury that Carrillo usually has to travel out of the area for. It should be a barn burner!

Links and Local Coverage

Recap by: Patrick Donohue

Cross Country Season Information

Team Calendar

Parent’s Page/Checklist

Meet the Coaches

Team Communications

  • Bookmark the Cross Country page, which has the latest and greatest information
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    • Tip: to add the team calendar to your personal calendar app, click “+ Google Calendar”.
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Contact Us

We strive to be student-focused and parent-friendly (we can’t do this without our amazing parents). If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us:

  • Coach Greg Fogg,, (707) 291-2967
  • Team Parent Dana Kapustka,
  • Recent Freshman Parent (and Webmaster) Samantha Donohue,