Follmar, Palm avoid 'sophomore jinx'
By Dick Sparrer
Ever heard of the "sophomore jinx," that slump that faces a second-year athlete after an outstanding rookie season?

Well, the girls in the Central Coast Section (CCS) cross country championships must not have heard of it, because the sophomores dominated the field when the best runners of the area competed on Nov. 16 at Toro Park in Soquel.

Eleven sophomores—among them, Alicia Follmar of Saratoga and Becky Palm of Prospect—finished in the top 26 at the CCS finals held last weekend.

Follmar and Palm finished even better when it came to the CCS Division 3 breakdown. The two local runners each ended up in the top 15.

Nowhere was the sophomore jinx less evident than in that Division 3 final at the CCS meet. Eight of the section's top 11 sophomores competed in the division, with Follmar figuring among the best.

Senior Michelle Gallagher of Sacred Heart Cathedral set the pace on the 3.0-mile course in 17:53, with Presentation junior Melissa Grelli second in 18:08.

From that point, it was sophomores dominating the top 10. Clara Viehweg of St. Ignatius was third in 18:09, with McKayla Plank of Mitty fourth in 18:09.

Follmar ran a solid seventh in 18:55 to lead the Saratoga showing at the finals.

Four more sophomores—Stephanie Hamilton of San Lorenzo Valley (SLV), ninth in 19:13; Alyssa Gagliani of Burlingame, 10th in 19:15; Cristina Diaz of Willow Glen, 11th in 19:21; and Emily Romo of SLV, 13th in 19:32—crossed the finish line before Prospect's Palm ran home in 15th in a solid 19:31.

Follmar ended up eighth overall in the girls field at CCS, and Palm was 26th.

In CCS Division 2 competition, a junior and a freshman led the Lynbrook girls to a team third behind Gunn and Los Gatos.

Junior Aya Wakabayashi finished eighth in 19:58, with freshman Zohreh Akhavan 12th in 20:28.

Rounding out the top five for the Vikings were junior Sasoon Kim, 22nd in 21:09; freshman Christina Liao, 27th in 21:21; and junior Agnieszka Goslicka, 29th in 21:29.

In boys action in CCS Division 3, Steven Surrette led Saratoga to a top 10 finish by running 42nd in 17:25 for the Falcons.

Surrette, a junior, was followed closely to the finish line by fellow junior William Aleshouse, 47th in 17:32. Sophomore Hari Subramanaim was 54th in 17:41, with senior Jacob Osborne 68th in 17:52 and freshman Ken Douglas 95th in 18:44 in the 120-runner field.

Prospect senior Scott Smith was 58th in 17:44, with fellow senior Nick Song 96th in 18:45.

For Lynbrook, junior Eugene Berson was 36th in 17:53 in the boys CCS Division 2 race.