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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

Letter to the Editor

Cross country sport shorts 2007

(Latest cross country sports shorts will be at the top of the section. Scroll down to check out past results.


Over 2000 runners representing DI-DV schools across California met at Woodward Park for the State Championships, Nov. 24.

After qualifing at the Valley Meet, also at Woodward Park, senior Whitney Chessum along with coach Ericlee Gilmore set a pace to run the 3.1 mile race.

“Even though she started faster than we had planned,” Gilmore said, “she kept her pace and did not falter at the end. She ran her best when her best was required.”

She was the first athlete, boy or girl, to qualify to the State Cross Country meet.

Chessum placed 64th out of 169 competitiors, finishing the race in 21:10, a 50 sec. improvement on her personal record. Mission Prep’s Jordan Hasay, ’09, won with a time of 17:05 with second place finishing in 18:43.

“She ran a 6:20 first mile, 7:20 second mile, and then finished with a 7:10 for the last mile,” Gilmore said. “She will now be in the record books for our school as the first girl to qualify for the State meet and a school record for the Woodward Park course.”

Along with her family, Chessum was supported by teammates, friends, and an alumnus. Chessum feels the cross country season provided a learning opportunity.

“I learned that running in big meets is nerve racking,” Chessum said. “I was so used to small meets in track, it was an interesting change. I definitely learned that I can run longer than just two miles quickly and efficiently.”

Chessum plans to use the conditioning gained during the cross country season during the track season.

“I will be able to use the seven miles I ran with the guys during practices to motivate myself to beat the one and two mile school track record during track this upcoming season.”

With the completion of the meet, cross country season offically ended.

In preparation for the State Meet next weekend, senior Whitney Chessum ran in the Master’s Meet held at Woodward Park, Nov. 15.

Doug Daniel, ’10, also ran in the meet providing Chessum a training partner prior to the race.

Chessum plans to run the Woodward Park course on Sat. to further her training for the State Meet.

“Whitney just missed her PR on this course, but once again gained valuable experience for State,” coach Ericlee Gilmore said. “Her training on Saturday will help her body know what it feels like to run on the course close to 21 min.”

Gilmore plans to help Chessum stategise to improve her race time.

“She went out way too fast in the first mile,” Gilmore said. “Once she can control that first mile, she can run faster than 22 min. She is a quick learner and I know she will make the adjustments so she can run her best race.”

Chessum views her journey from the beginning of the season to present as a difficult, but well worth the time.

“Racing becomes a habit and becomes easier as the time goes on,” Chessum said. “You learn how to pace yourself and you have your form do so well that you don’t even think about it.”

Chessum feels she has learned the true meaning of winning.

“It’s kind of interesting how people think you win a race when you beat everyone else,” Chessum said. “The truth is you only win when you beat yourself.”

Schools from Divisions I-V assembled at Woodward Park for the Valley Cross Country Meet on Nov. 8. Seven to eight schools competed for each boys’ and girls’ team in D-V.

Senior Whitney Chessum became eligible for the State meet after defeating her 35 competitors with a 11th place overall finish (22:00).

“This was the first time she ran the difficult course and she ran it really well,” coach Ericlee Gilmore said. “Once I found out for sure that she had qualified, I was very excited and proud of Whitney.”

Despite placing 10th overall in the boys’ race, junior Doug Daniel (18:52) failed to qualify for State by 32 sec.

“We all thought Doug was also going to State,” Gilmore said. “But after the final results were posted, I had to have an official explain the results.”

Five schools met at Fowler High School for League Championships on Oct. 31.

While Whitney Chessum, ’08, was slowed by dirt flying into her eye the previous race, she received first place with a time of 19:41.

“Whitney was amazing,” coach Ericlee Gilmore. “She ran from the front again and never looked back. She beat the 2nd place girl by over 2 minutes.”

Despite personal records for each FC girl runner, Fowler overcame the visting Eagles and took first in league.

“I am very proud of them because they almost pulled off the upset to
beat Fowler,” Gilmore said. “We placed 2nd with a score of 31 to 24. The lowest score wins. Each girl had huge PRs but so did the Fowler girls. They all went over my expectations.”

The boys team also took second in the 3.1 mile race with 5 runners finishing in under 20 min.

“Once again they did an amazing job,” Gilmore said. “Each athlete had a personal record. To have 5 boys in under 20 minutes is really cool. Liberty
was just too good so they won with 37 and we finished 2nd with 58

With an average mile pace of 5:37, Doug Daniel, ’10, lead the boys team with his 5th place finish.

“Doug came through this time by beating JP (Josh Palmer) and running an amazing time,” Gilmore said. “Once again the reason they were so fast was because we did more speed work on monday’s practice on a flat course. Today’s course was on the flat street.”

In the final race of the season, the Eagles ran at Kingsburg High along with 60 other schools, representing divisions I through 5, on Oct. 25

Late race speed training earlier the week prepared the FC runners for the final stretch of their race.

“We are now coming to the end of the season, so we are doing more speed work in practice and it paid off today,” coach Ericlee Gilmore said. “It was great to see JP finally pass Doug (Daniel) in the last 50 yds to beat him.

Senior Whitney Chessum almost placed in the top 25 runners, but a physical hinderace prevented her attempt.

“Whitney came so close to earning a medal,” Gilmore said. “She said she could have run faster, but some dirt flew into her eyes when she stumbled near the end of the race. She was basically running half blind for a while.”

Rivalry among teammates not only promotes competition, but initiates the opportunity for players to reach new records.

“It was great to see Frank (Daniel) and Spencer (Lee) push each other,” Gilmore said. “When the do that, they both run faster. Spencer has this great fear that Frank could beat him.”

The team will next compete in the League Championships at Fowler on Oct. 31. Race times are scheduled to start at 3:30 P.M.

Ten teams met in Kingsburg to compete in a 3-mile race at Reedley College for the Cam Ostrand Reedley Invitational on Oct. 18.

In her first race in nearly a month, senior Whitney Chessum placed 4th out of 60 female athletes in the varsity race with a time of 21:46.

“I was really excited about the meet because I haven’t run in a while,” Chessum said. “It was so much fun. I have learned to pace myself to where I do not die and slow down out there. I had a kick at the end which really helped. My breathing and rhythm improved today.”

Chessum was unable to participate due to health reasons since Sept. 14.

“Whitney was determined to do great after not being able to run last few weeks,” coach Ericlee Gilmore said. “She stayed with the front runners and placed very well. She has the ability to run under 21 minutes so if the conditions are right and, if her allergies or asthma does not act up, she will do it.”

Junior Janae Ford finished second for the Eagles and was 26th overall with a time of 24:20 while senior Kelly Gong ran her first race ever placing 41st just over 2 minutes later (26:35).

The girls again did not qualify as a team as junior Melissa Lichti was injured.

The boys were again led by sophomore Doug Daniel. They finished 6th as a team and have improved each meet this season. The top teams at the invitational were Sunnyside, Hoover, Edison, Bullard and Tranquillity.

Daniel finished 15th out of 90 athletes running a time of 18:19. Senior Josh Palmer ran a 19:01 and placed 31st in his best outing of the year.

Coach Gilmore encouraged Daniel and Palmer to run together for the first half of the race in order to improve both of their times.

“In other races, Doug has run too fast in the first mile so I encouraged him to run together with JP,” Gilmore said. Running together is the best strategy. They paced each other well. They also encouraged one another to pass athletes along the way. Team cooperation is the key.”

Gilmore also said the team is improving with each meet.

“We were greatly improved from last time when we were last,” coach Gilmore said. “I am looking forward to the Fowler League Championships because we have a chance to get 2nd behind Liberty or Fowler.”

On a rainy day Roosevelt High hosted their Invitational at Woodward Park on Oct. 12. For the second week in a row, the Valley’s best ran the 3.1 mile course and each Eagle participant earned a personal record.

Overall, 133 boys competed, and for the first time this season, the FC boys’ team all competed at the Varsity level in order to field an official team.

Sophomore Doug Daniel again let the Eagles with a time of 18:33 and placed 51st and senior Josh Palmer finished 66th finishing less than a minute later at 19:12.

“Daniel and Palmer are clearly are fastest on the team,” coach Ericlee Gilmore said. “They worked together the first half of the race. Palmer helped Daniel not to go out too fast. This in turned helped both of them because JP improved by 16 sec. and Doug by 5 sec. That is exactly how I wanted them to run.”

The Eagle girls’ team was again led by junior Janae Ford who placed 55th out of 110 runners with a time of 23:57.

“Ford did a great job with her pacing,” Gilmore said. “She is still learning what it means to push her body. So her last mile can still be better, but Ford’s 10 sec. improvement is great.

“If we can get Daniel in the 17s, Palmer in the 18s and Ford in the 22s, they will meet my expectations.”

Ellie Wilhelm improved her time by over 3 minutes and finished at 26:30 to finish 86th.

“The last time Ellie ran was Sept. 18 and, since then, she has trained very hard and has consistently improved,” coach Gilmore said. “Her body is starting to adapt to the stress of long distance running.”

While the girls have other athletes on the team, Kelly Gong and Melissa Lichti did not finish because they helped carry a fallen athlete whose knee was cut open and bleeding back to the starting line.

“At the mile marker we did not see Mel or Kelly pass by so we thought we had missed them some how,” Gilmore said. “Then at the 2-mile marker they did not pass either and that is when we new something must of happened. So when we ran back to the starting line, which is also the finish line, to see the other runners coming in I saw them.

“I have to admit I was initially upset. Then when they told me the situation I was proud of them.”

Both girls reported a girl had fallen and she was in great pain. Since no one was helping her and there were no coaches along that particular part of the course, they felt compelled to help her. The FC athletes carried the injured girl to the start/finish line so she could get first aid.

“I feel they made the right decision because they helped when no one else was going to help,” Gilmore said. “They sacrificed the race to help the girl.”

Coach Gilmore or the Eagle athletes did not find out what happened after they helped the girl get first aid.

Cross country will next compete at the 15th annually Cam Ostrand Reedley Invitational at Reedley College on Oct. 18.

The cross country team ran at Woodward Park in the 29th annual Clovis Invitational on Oct 6. Over 3000 athletes and 150 schools from all over the state and some from Nevada participated in the event.

Clovis High sponsored the 3.1 mile course and sophomore Doug Daniel was again the top Eagle athlete. In the freshman/sophomore race, Daniel finished 54th out of 229 runners with a time of 18:34.

“Each race Doug is improving,” coach Ericlee Gilmore said. “The top 25 medal in each race and he was 31st at the 2 mile marker. While he ran out of steam in the last mile, this was his first time running the longer distance. The next time he runs it, he will know not to go out too fast and be a smarter runner.”

Sophomore Spencer Lee finished 198th in 22:06 and freshman Frank Daniel was 221 in 24:53 to round out the remaining finishers in the boys’ first race.

In the varsity girls’ race, junior Janae Ford completed the course in 24:07 finishing 130th out of 178 athletes. Josh Palmer was 124th out of 181 runners in the varsity boys’ race with a time of 19:28.

“They each did an amazing job,” coach Gilmore said. “They all surpassed my expectations. This race by far was their toughest competition. It was a good chance to run a difficult course and get some great experience.”

Cross country will next compete at Woodward Park (same course) hosted by Roosevelt on Oct. 12. For the first time, the boys will compete with a full team of boys.

For the third meet in a row, sophomore Doug Daniel earned a medal. The merging cross country star placed third in the JV boys’ 2-mile race on Sept. 18. There were 52 participants. Sophomore Spencer Lee, who only joined the team last week, earned 28th place, in his first meet.

“I am so excited for Doug,” coach Ericlee Gilmore said. “His hard work this past summer is paying off. He ran 5-6 miles every day and he is very strong out there.”

According to Daniel the training was not only helpful, but fun as well.

“To compete against better athletes you need to out-train them,” said Daniel. “I also enjoy the training.”

Daniel credits his success as a cross country athlete to practice as well as natural talent.

“God has blessed me with an ability to run long distances,” Daniel said. “I couldn’t do it without Him.”

Coach Gilmore said that the best athletes strive to run 10-12 miles each day and believes Daniel will have the abiltity to compete at even a higher level.

“When Doug is a senior, I believe he could run at the State Championships,” Gilmore said. “His work ethic is fantastic and he leads by example on this team.”

Senior Whitney Chessum placed 12th and earned a medal in the varsity girls’ 3-mile race. She competed against 40 others.

“The results are exciting to see,” Gilmore said. “It was a great day for the girls because that is the first time they competed at the farther distance. I was very proud of them.”

Senior Ellie Wilhelm placed 31st and junior Melissa Lichti earned 34th.

“I know our team will get better,” Gilmore said, when they consistently eat right and get enough sleep. It is easy to see that these two things directly affect their practices and race day performance.”

As instucted by Gilmore, team members try to eat a balanced diet and get enough sleep at night in order to improve in practice.

“I don’t drink soda or eat overly unhealthy foods,” Daniel said. “Plus I go to bed early.”

Seniors Josh Palmer, Kedric Anderson and junior Janea Ford did not compete as they volunteered to be counselors at Calvin Crest 8th grade camp and senior Kelly Gong was sick.

Nine athletes ran at Hanford. Early in the season race organizers opted to have the runners compete only against athletes their same age. The Hanford Invitational was a 2-mile course except for the senior boys who ran a 3-mile course. Each race had between 30 – 40 students depending on grade and gender. The course was a combination of dirt, rolling hills and soft sand.

2 miles (Sr. girl race – 2nd – Whitney Chessum
2 miles (Jr. girl race) – 5th – Janae Ford
2 miles (Soph. boy race) – 7th – Doug Daniel

The Eagles will next compete at the Firebaugh Invitational on Sept. 19.

Due to the Senior Retreat, the cross country team competed without five members in theit first meet. Despite the absence, the team placed in two events.

2.08 miles (Jr. girl race) -19th -Janae Ford
2.08 miles (Soph. boy race) – 16th – Doug Daniels

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