Cross country alum meet puts Sonoma season into motion
Dragon coach Litzenberg back to his winning ways
A large group of runners break from the starting line of Sonoma’s annual season-opening cross country Alumni Meet, which took place Wednesday afternoon at the Maxwell Farms Regional Park course.
Gerard Serafini/Special to the Index-Tribune
After being denied his unprecedented 15th-straight Sonoma Valley High School cross country Alumni Meet title last year by his star runner, who is now traversing the Ivy League trails, Sonoma head coach John Litzenberg is back on top of the pack after notching his 15th victory in the annual season-opening event.
Almost a year ago to the date on the same 2.7-mile Maxwell Farms Regional Park course, former running standout Alex Conner, who now competes for Yale University, built up a lead that his coach, Litzenberg, couldn’t overcome in losing for the first time in a decade-and-a-half.
As a highly competitive runner, Litzenberg – a Sonoma graduate and former prep and collegiate (Colombia University) star runner – wanted to win last year, but, at the same time, he, as his coach, was proud of Conner and his shattering the course record by 42 seconds with a 14-minute, 12-second effort, prior to reaching the state meet.
In Wednesday’s alumni meet, Litzenberg ran away from the field and was the individual winner in a time of 14:58, while his combined Dragons’ boys’ and girls’ squads easily won the team title.
Following Litzenberg across the finish line was a string of Dragons, including second-place junior Owen Ljung’s 15:34; senior Chris Tose’s 15:34; junior Christian Martinez’s 15:40; senior Ryland Osborne’s 17:34; senior A.J. Lemaire’s 18:17; senior Peter Gray’s 18:31; junior Trey Garcia’s 18:50; senior Gianna Biaggi’s 19:08; sophomore Return Bongiovanni’s 19:18; senior Hannah Cenci’s 19:26; alumnus Rod Whiteman’s 19:45; senior Laura Amador’s 20:26; sophomore Ian Sloop’s 20:27; freshman Austin Chapin’s 20:54; frosh Max Serafini’s 21:09; frosh Madeline Libbey’s 21:33; junior Baily Zeller’s 21:51; junior Itzel Macedonio’s 22:33; senior Serena Spry’s 23:57; and alumnae Diana Spry’s 24:03.
The Dragon runners will next compete in the annual eight-schools interlock meets at Spring Lake in Santa Rosa this Wednesday, Sept. 12.