HALF MOON BAY -- Carlmont's Daniel Bereket turned in the fastest time Tuesday of any Peninsula Athletic League runner, winning the boys race on the 2.33-mile course at Half Moon Bay High School in 11 minutes, 58 seconds at the first PAL cross country meet of the season.
Half Moon Bay coach Paul Farnsworth said only "a half-dozen runners" have broken 12 minutes on the course, so Bereket is among a select group.
And in a testament to how much he has improved in a year, as well as to Carlmont's incredible wealth of distance-running talent (the Scots have won six of the past seven Central Coast Section Division I championships), Bereket was most often an alternate last year as a junior, not among the team's top seven runners.
His fastest time last year on the Half Moon Bay course was 12:59. He had the sixth-fastest time overall at Saturday's Earlybird Invitational in Salinas, running 15:48. His best time on the same Toro Park course the previous year was 17:08.
"The whole team was very motivated over the summer, really started amping up the mileage," Bereket said. "That did a lot for me. I feel stronger."
Breakthroughs in cross country invariably begin with doses of high mileage over the summer. Bereket said he ran 60-70 miles a week over his summer vacation.
Teammates Reese Dickson, Lucas Matison, Tim Layten, Ryan Dimick and Arthur Schulte went 3-4-5-7-8 as the Scots easily won the team title Tuesday with 20 points. Half
Westmoor's Kylie Goo ran away with the girls race, winning in 14:11. Taylor Fortnam of Menlo-Atherton was a distant second in 15:27, but Fortnam led the Bears to the girls team title. M-A, with five runners in the top 17, had 54 points. Half Moon Bay was second with 83.
Goo was a finalist in the 800 at the state track and field championships in June. She is going on a recruiting trip to Columbia on Sept. 22 and is also being recruited by Oregon State and Washington State.
"I want to win both PAL and CCS this year," Goo said. "And at state I want to improve my finish from last year."