Oakmont Runs for Gold and Glory

Two Varsity Cross Country girls medal at Mt. Sac.


Ryan Nugent

Seniors Mia Hirsch and Peyton Fisher stand proudly with their medals.

Matty Hauth, Copy Editor

Oakmont runners had the opportunity to compete in the 73rd annual cross country invitational, commonly referred to as Mt. SAC on Oct 15, 22, and 23.

Hosting over 12,000 elementary, middle, and high school students, Mt. SAC is seen as a massive privilege for many runners. Competing in races of this magnitude at the age of 13-17 is no small feat, with runners and coaches alike being aware of the situation.

“It’s the biggest cross country invite in the world,” Coach Ryan Nugent said. “It’s not uncommon to see Arizona schools there, sometimes some Oregon schools. Sometimes even teams from Mexico that show up compete.”

Runners had to endure the massive, hilly battle that came with this invitational. Being able to compete for a medal at one of the most established races for cross country high school students is no small task.

“It’s weird how fast it goes,” junior Tatum Emerson said. “I think [races start] every 12 minutes, before the other ones are even finished.”

Although daunting, the invite is not impossible to earn a medal in, as shown by three of Oakmont’s own runners, freshman Emily Richardson and seniors Peyton Fisher and Mia Hirsch.

While earning a medal in this competition is coveted enough, there’s none more sought after than the gold, something Hirsch was able to accomplish.

“[Winning gold] was really cool, because I’ve never won a varsity race before, especially one of that size,” Hirsch said. “I was honestly really surprised.”

Despite the shock factor, it’s unsurprising that she was able to pull off a feat this large during her 3 mile race.

“We practice every day after school, until 4:30 or 5 pm,” Hirsch said. “Half the time, we do distance runs… up to 7 miles. But the other half, we do repeats, so maybe 1 [kilometer] a bunch of times.”

While the races themselves are impressive, the opportunities the team was given to bond was a massive highlight of the weekend by itself.

“We all spend a lot of time with each other, even in the car on the way there, since the drive is six hours,” Emerson said. “That gives you plenty of time to talk. I feel like that’s really the important thing about that trip.”

The team was also able to experience some downtime during the weekend, visiting the boardwalk and spending time at the beach.

“We raced in the morning and we had the rest of the Saturday to figure out what we were going to do,” Nugent said. “So we took the kids to the beach, and that was a lot of fun.”

This trip will be a special memory to all of those who participated in it, and winning in a race definitely has a massive weight on that.

“[I just] wanted to do the best that I can,” Hirsch said. “It’s my last season, so like, I might as well go for it, you know?”