11.5.2021 – Finishing the regular season with a kick, the Menlo School cross country teams dropped a school record. They advanced to the CCS Championship after the boys won the WBAL title and the girls took third at Friday’s league finale.
At Crystal Springs course in Belmont, the Menlo boys’ cross country team scored 33 points to edge out Crystal Springs with 36. Woodside Priory was third with 96 and the King’s Academy will also advance to CCS. The Knights finished with a school record team time on the course of 1:22:00.7.
Menlo’s Landon Pretre tore down the last stretch, started his kick with about 800 to go and finished first in 15:28.4 - the all-time fourth fastest mark by a freshman.
“It came to the last 1000, and I just laid it all out there.” Landon said. “I started my kick, and it was like no thinking, just running.”
Junior Justin Pretre took second in 15:39.5 on the 2.95-mile courseand will be going to his second CCS meet.
“We knew we would have to run a solid race; Crystal has a great team,” Justin Pretre said “We knew that some of our younger runners would also have to run their best.”
And they did, freshman William Hauser, finished 14th in 17:17,7. Junior Aiden Deffner was seventh in 16:39.5 and senior Nik Khuntia ninth, making four players top 10. Sophomore Alex Boesch ran in 17:37.9 for 19th and senior Nishan Rajavasireddy was 35th in 18:54.8.
On the girls’ side, Menlo’s race Tang was the top finisher for the Knights in ninth place with a time of 20:13.5. Freshman Eden Chuang came in 14th at 20:43.4. and senior Pia Gallo took 24th in 21:24.2. Freshman Audrey Tsao placed 28th in 21:38.0. Junior Alea Marks took 19th in 21:53.8 and sophomore Beti Essa finished in 23:56.6.
“I am so proud of our team for our performance,” Tang said. “It’s amazing to be headed to CCS with the team during my senior season. I am so thankful for my awesome teammates and all the hard work they’ve put in, and for the coaches for all their guidance and support. We couldn’t have done it without every single person giving it their all.”
Now, the Knights turn their attention to CCS. The last time Menlo ran CCS was in 2019 when it tied for third, and Justin Pretre took 20th as a freshman.
“We’ve just got to stay focused in our training, and make sure we don’t count ourselves out,” he said. “We have to believe we can go out there and compete with some of the best teams in CCS like Scotts Valley and other great teams.”
Justin Pretre, Rajavasireddy and Deffner all competed in 2019.
We told them how it felt to upset teams there, and just telling them, they deserve to compete at this high a level and telling them that if they put in the work, they can do that as well, ” Justin Pretre said.