By Grethel Muralles
The past two years, Granada Hills Charter High School’s (GHC) cross country team has performed substantially better than previous years.
They have placed relatively high in all the events that they have entered and both the individual boys and girls teams have done well; this includes varsity, junior varsity, and freshman-sophomore (fro/soph).
In 2016, they came in second place in Los Angeles City Section (LACS). Their finish in LACS qualified the team for the state championship for the first time ever, for both girls and boys.
Cross country coach, Francois Wolman, took over the team for the first time last year. Since then, he says he knew they needed to perform well because they were not on anyone’s radar.
“The girls are doing amazing. The runners are doing very well. They are very motivated and talented, they even practice on Saturdays. There are many kids coming into the program and I am finding a lot of talent at GHC. It’s pretty exciting,” Wolman said.
Senior Tanya Larbaoui has been on the cross country and track team since her sophomore year and was one of the runners who was able to go to the state tournament.
“It was really awesome that we were all going together because we’re so close. Knowing how hard we work, it was nice to see how it paid off. We knew we probably wouldn’t be one of the top teams, but we enjoyed it and had fun with it,” Larbaoui said.
Like any other program going to a state competition, qualifying was a proud achievement. In previous years they had not qualified as a team, although individual athletes had gone to state.
This year, the fro/soph team is also just as strong and eager to win. They have already won or placed multiple tournaments.
Although, the team has had more success, there still is not much recognition for their efforts. They also receive such little funding that after their team tents broke, it took a parent donation to afford new ones.
Despite, the cross country season coming to an end, many of the athletes will continue to do track and field in the spring giving them more opportunities to succeed.