The Anzar High boys' cross-country team finished in third place in Thursday's league championships, with Diego Avila (37) winning the individual title. This was a file photo taken from last year, showing Nat Hsia-Coran (41), Joshua Jojosselyn (42), Alex S

The Anzar High cross-country boys and girls’ teams are primed for one of their best seasons in school history.

Both squads are the defending Mission Trail Athletic League champions, and remarkably, neither team lost much in the way of depth.

Although the Anzar boys lost their top runner, Diego Leon, they returned the rest of their starting lineup. The girls lost just one starter as well, bolstering the belief that each squad can have a historic 2013 season.

“Everyone is looking forward to repeating as league champs,” said Daniel Lowell, who coached the program for the last four years before handing over the reins to David Harris this season. “Another goal is to make it to state. The boys missed by a couple of points last year, and I believe it’s going to be a season of redemption for them and a number of runners on the team.”

Lowell said the team’s top three runners — sophomore Nat Hsia-Coron, senior Diego Avila and senior Christian Monroy — are fairly close in ability and will be pushing each other to put up times under 17 minutes.

However, Avila has emerged as the team’s No. 1 runner. Hsia-Coron ran a personal-best 18:11 at the Earlybird Invitational at Toro Park’s 3.1-mile layout on Sept. 7, and Lowell expects his times to go down drastically as the season goes along.

Hsia-Coron’s older brother, Aaron, was a former Anzar standout, winning the 2008 Central Coast Section Division V championship. A year ago, Monroy was the team’s No. 2 runner, Hsia-Coron No. 3 and Avila No. 4.

The Hawks also expect to receive strong contributions from sophomore Charles Winterbottom, junior Joshua Jojosselyn, freshman Jacob Avila and senior Alex Samuels, who was the team’s No. 5 runner last year.

“Both Diego and Charles battled injuries last year, so we’re looking for them to really peak and hit their personal-best times this season,” Lowell said.

The girls’ team returns its top runner in junior Yvette Felix, who has only improved with each training session. From the start of the 2012 season in August to the end of the season in late November, Felix saw her times drop by four minutes.

“Yvette’s sole purpose when she trains is to win races,” Lowell said. “You don’t get that too much from high school kids anymore. Yvette has the drive and is a tough competitor, and she puts in the extra work to be successful.”

Other top runners on the girls’ side include Christina Huerta, Jeniesha Parra, Julia Katz, Carly Zako and Noemy Vasquez.

The girls are also fielding a full junior varsity team this season, while the boys have a partial team, Lowell said. The increased number of athletes coming out for cross-country at Anzar is proof the program is thriving.

“We almost have two full teams with the boys and girls, which hasn’t happened in many years,” Lowell said.

The boys and girls train together, whether it’s at Toro Park, the Juan Bautista de Anza Trail, or around Anzar and Gavilan College.

“Pretty much anywhere there’s a good place to train, the team will go there,” Lowell said.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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