By Connie and Lynn Baer
Grossmont has a rich athletic history. Cross Country is one of its more recent sports, with the first boys team appearing in 1951 and the first girls team in 1977.
Boys Cross Country
Boys Cross Country began auspiciously, with the teams winning league championships in 1952, 1953, and 1954.
The past two years, the boys have been coached by Oscar Talamantes.
“I’d have to say one of the most enjoyable parts of coaching cross country is seeing our students progress and mature throughout the season, or if they’re a returning athlete, from one year to the next,” Talamantes said. “Thanks to record keeping, we can see how our team has changed from year to year and how our current team stacks up against some of our older teams.
“This season was a very important milestone in their development as runners. Since last year was a building year with younger athletes, this year allowed them to find their stride and they were able to compete against some of the best teams in our district.”
Proof of this improvement was the GUHSD Conference League meet, where the Foothillers finished second overall out of 11 schools, something the boys hadn’t done for at least the past six years.
Girls Cross Country
In the museum’s archives, the first photo we have of Girls Cross Country is from 1979 when the team consisted of just three girls. In 1989, 1991, and 1992, the Girls Cross Country team had a celebrated group of girls who were League Champions all three years!
In 2015, cross country runner Courtney Clifford broke a school record and dual meet course record for the Grossmont Conference. Courtney was unanimously selected Athlete of the Year for the Grossmont Hills League and was First Team All-San Diego County for Cross Country.
For 13 years, Ross Bartell has been the coach. In 2004, 12 girls were on the team; this year’s team had 37 girls. According to Coach Bartell, this year’s team was the strongest and most successful team he has coached at Grossmont — most of the nine seniors on the team had been on the team for four years and wanted their final season to be their best.
To prepare for the season, most of the varsity girls ran over 250 miles during the summer, and at the end of the summer, with the Steele Canyon Girls Varsity team, participated in a Mt. Laguna summer running camp. After the challenging, hilly, 5,000-feet elevation workouts, the team returned with a stronger work ethic.
As proof of their accomplishments, this year’s girls team set a team-time school record at the Mt. Carmel Invitational at Morley Field and a week later placed second out of 20 teams at the South Bay Invitational in the JV and Varsity Girls races, finishing in the top two at that meet for the first time in 20 years.
Two girls were selected for 2016 First Team All-League honors — senior Rileigh Dunning placed sixth in the Hills League and seventh overall in conference and junior Lisset Dominguez placed 10th in the Hills League, her second year in a row as an All-League Honoree.
Due to the dedication of coaches and student athletes, both the GHS Boys and the Girls Cross Country teams finished second in the 11-team GUHSD league meet.
To learn more about Grossmont’s rich history, visit us or explore our museum website at foothillermuseum.com. The museum is open noon-3:30 p.m. Jan. 4th. Contact us at email@example.com or 619-668-6140.
—Connie and Lynn Baer write on behalf of the Grossmont High School Museum.