All Mercury News - 2012

Boys cross country: Milpitas' Yohaness Estifanos is Mercury News' runner of year

By Glenn Reeves Posted: 12/05/2012 04:58:26 PM PST Updated: 12/05/2012 04:58:27 PM PST MILPITAS -- It all started for Yohaness Estifanos in his native Ethiopia, homeland of some of the world's greatest distance runners. "I was 10 or 11 years old and watching the Olympics on television," Estifanos said. "It excited me a lot, I wanted to be one of those guys, I started running or jogging to school in the morning." That early training -- which brings to mind the movie "Endurance," about Ethiopian running legend Haile Gebrselassie -- helped Estifanos develop into a dominant high school distance runner. This season he won the Central Coast Section Division I title for the second consecutive year, set three course records throughout the season and placed sixth in the Division I race at the state finals. For these accomplishments, he is the Mercury News boys cross country runner of the year. Estifanos was 12 years old, in seventh grade, when he moved with his family to the United States and enrolled at Rancho Milpitas Middle School. He ran the 1,600 meters in 5:06 as an eighth grader. He placed second at CCS as a sophomore. He set course records at Baylands as a junior and then at Lynbrook, Toro Park and Central Park in Santa Clara as a senior. He ran 14:38 at Crystal Springs in the Serra Invitational, No. 5 all-time on that course, then started experiencing foot pain. "After that he followed a minimal training schedule,'' Milpitas coach Bridget Hall said. "But he still wanted to race. It's amazing he stayed at that level. He's a really passionate runner. It's his love.'' As a junior Estifanos placed sixth at the state track meet in the 3,200 meters with a time of 9:09.12 and had a best of 9:08.06. The goal as a senior is to break 9 minutes. Then it's on to college. Estifanos has been contacted by a number of four-year colleges and said he's leaning towards UCLA. After that, it's a pursuit of his ultimate goal of taking part in the Olympic Games, the inspiration that got him started on his path as a competitive runner. "I want to represent the U.S.,'' he said. "That's how I would thank this country for the opportunity I have received.'' ALL-MERCURY NEWS boys cross country First team Yohaness Estifanos, Milpitas, Sr. Richard Ho, Leland, Sr. Ryan Corvese, Sobrato, Sr. Daniel Bereket, Carlmont, Sr. Miguel Vasquez, Andrew Hill, Sr. Terence Rabuzzi, Los Altos, Jr. Raymond Meijer, Bellarmine, Sr. Steven Sum, Saratoga, Soph. Second team Eduardo Garibay, Yerba Buena, Sr. Ciaran Murphy, St. Ignatius, Sr. Tim Layten, Carlmont, Sr. George Baier, Menlo-Atherton, Sr. Miles Meijer, Bellarmine, Soph. Rory Beyer, Aragon, Sr. Lucas Matison, Carlmont, Soph. Joey Berriatua, Serra, Sr. Honorable mention Jacob Calvillo, Leland; Justin Robison, Lynbrook; Ben Zaeske, Los Altos; Charles DeAnda, Bellarmine; Arthur Schulte, Carlmont; Josh Cohen, Los Altos; Justin Barry, Bellarmine; Grant Murphy, Mills; Alex Carr, Los Altos; Chris Swanson, Fremont; Chris Foster, Los Gatos; Logan Marshall, Half Moon Bay; Wyatt Cooper, Aragon; Jose Pina, Lincoln; Ricardo Romero, Overfelt; Alex Sasser, Bellarmine; Patrick Cummins, St. Ignatius; Tanner Sartwell, St. Francis; Ryan Dimick, Carlmont; Daniel Chiriaev, Prospect.

Girls cross country: Los Gatos' Danielle Katz is Mercury News' runner of the year

By Glenn Reeves Posted: 12/05/2012 04:58:07 PM PST Updated: 12/05/2012 07:08:32 PM PST LOS GATOS -- Danielle Katz took her junior year off from running cross country. Judging by her results as a senior, it was a good decision. Katz won the Division II race at the Central Coast Section finals and took third in the state Division II race, earning Mercury News girls cross country runner of the year honors as a result. "I just needed to take some time off from running," Katz said. "I have a totally different perspective now. I lived for the first time in high school as a non-athlete. It feels real good to be back. The time away made the success I had that much more rewarding." The training that dedicated distance runners undergo can take a toll. An example can be seen in Aptos standout Nikki Hiltz, the state 1,600-meter champion, who didn't take part in cross country this fall due to a stress fracture that put her in a cast for 10 weeks. "It's not like other sports, you can't train five hours a day," Katz said. "There's a fine line between peak performance and injuring yourself. I feel so lucky that I have coaches who take a conservative approach to training and focus on long-term goals." Katz took ninth at the CCS cross country meet as a freshman and third as a sophomore. In track, she focused on the 1,600 and 3,200 her first two years at Los Gatos, with bests of 5:05.53 as a sophomore in the 1,600 and 11:06.06 as a freshman in the 3,200. As a junior, she had a breakthrough in the 800, running 2:13.33 at the CCS finals and qualifying for the state meet. "It's a tough call now," Katz said, regarding which event she will focus on during her senior track season. "Last year I thought the 800 was my race and running the 4x400 was such fun. But now that I had success in cross country, it's hard to say what I'm going to do." Regardless, her future looks bright. Katz plans on running in college at Harvard, where she is considering an emphasis in a pre-med course of study. all-mercury news girls cross country First team Danielle Katz, Los Gatos, Sr. Kylie Goo, Westmoor, Sr. Maya Weigel, Mountain View, Sr. Lauren Jacob, Los Altos, Fr. Catherine Lowdon, Burlingame, Sr. Kendall Hacker, St. Ignatius, Jr. Hannah Allen, Homestead, Soph. Molly Haar, Archbishop Mitty, Sr. Second team Gillian Meeks, Gunn, Fr. Zoe Enright, Menlo School, Fr. Melissa Reed, Mountain View, Jr. Hannah Wood, Presentation, Jr. Katie Foug, Palo Alto, Soph. Alyssa Johnson, Leland, Sr. Lizzie Lacy, Menlo School, Soph. Olivia Brobst, Archbishop Mitty, Jr. Honorable mention Lauren Shlee, Willow Glen; Ellie Lemco, Prospect; Kellie Redmond, Sacred Heart Cathedral; Olivia Rintala, Archbishop Mitty; Chandra Anderson, Half Moon Bay; Laura Reynolds, Mountain View; Fiona Maloney-McCrystle, Castilleja; Ana Duffy, St. Ignatius; Ashley Dattalo, Archbishop Mitty; Claire Bowie, Los Altos; Jacqueline Escalera, Fremont; Shaelyn Silverman, Lynbrook; Zoe Barrie, Aragon; Taylor Fortnam, Menlo-Atherton; Shelby Cox, Fremont; Jenny Xu, Monta Vista; Ameena Tawakol, Homestead; Gillian Belton, Sacred Heart Prep; Ashley Lara, Valley Christian; Ashley Mathews, Santa Teresa.