UCSD student athletes compete at state cross country tournament, boys team takes 5th place
Unalaska High School’s cross country team traveled to Anchorage to compete in the state tournament earlier this month.
Nine UCSD runners competed in the five kilometer race, which took place on a muddy course at Bartlett High School.
Led by co-captain and senior Herwin Riodil, the boys team took fifth place overall.
While there weren’t enough girls to qualify as a team for the tournament, three competed as individual runners, including co-captain Alexa Esnardo.
KUCB’s Eldred Paradeza competed in the state tournament, and sat down with Riodil to talk more about the competition and the 2021 season.
HERWIN RIODIL: This year's season was different from last year's season since there was COVID-19 — that hit us pretty hard last year and we weren’t able to travel, but this year is different because of our vaccine shots and the school board and ASAA rules changed, which allowed us to travel and put us in races that we haven't seen before.
ELDRED PARADEZA: So this year, going into a season when you first heard there's traveling, you were probably really excited, huh?
RIODIL: Yeah, especially since this is my last year. Yeah.
PARADEZA: Were there any challenges you encountered this season? And what were they?
RIODIL: Some challenges that I encountered this season was having a knee injury. It would hurt to run. And it also sucked since I'd want to run hard days to get better. But it was hard to improve, since that knee injury wouldn't let me run as hard as they can. So I had to take it slow or I could have ended my season there. And another challenge was probably COVID. There was a time in our season where we weren't able to travel because some of our teammates got COVID. Yeah, we were able to travel one trip. And that was kind of a waste. We had to get tested first before we practiced. So we made extra precautions of not practicing for a few days, until we got our COVID results back.
PARADEZA: So those teammates who were out with COVID did it affect their run or anything coming back?
RIODIL: I think the people that had COVID and came back to practice and to race — it had a big impact on them because we had a regional race right after they came back. And they only had like a few practices or a few days to get ready for that regional race, which is pretty big, since it tells us who's qualifying for state or not.
PARADEZA: So with you being a senior, this is going to be your last season. So what was something this year that was memorable for you?
RIODIL: I think being able to travel my last season, since I'm a senior, was one of the big parts because it allowed me to make more memories with my teammates. It made us feel like more of a family. We bonded more. We just made a lot of memories throughout the whole season, which made me happy. And I think that's what it’s all about
PARADEZA: And region day — how was your senior speech? I heard that there was some tears coming.
RIODIL: Oh yeah, it definitely sucks because it's your last season and you won't be doing that no longer after you graduate high school. Thinking about it, time goes really quick, and you should cherish those moments while you're at it.
PARADEZA: If you could give one piece of advice to the upcoming runners, what would it be?
RIODIL: Keep running, working hard. Make goals so that you can achieve them. Every time you achieve a goal. It makes you feel better about yourself and makes you want to make more goals. So keep striving for the best, and I think you'll do pretty great.
PARADEZA: So how do you think the team did as a whole during state?
RIODIL: It was a hard run. The course was slippery, muddy, had puddles. It was cold. It was one of the hardest courses that I've ran. And I think the team did awesome. They ran pretty hard. They gave it their all. Especially [since] it was their last race of the season. And I'm proud of them for that
PARADEZA: Proud of me?
RIODIL: Yeah. You ran your hardest, right?
PARADEZA: Yeah, back in Bartlett, there's a hill there called Separation Hill. How was Separation Hill?
RIODIL: Separation Hill is a very steep hill. It's one of the hardest hills I've ran, especially when it's almost to the end where you're already tired and you gotta finish. And a big hill is just in front of trying to stop you, but you got to overcome it. Separation Hill is a hard hill, especially when it was slippery that day. And it's just a big incline that you have to pass.
PARADEZA: How is traveling with the team — going to the mall and everything?
RIODIL: Oh, traveling with the team, going to the mall — it's like the best part. You get to enjoy the time with your friends, you feel like family. It's amazing. is one of the best experience you’ll feel.
PARADEZA: Yeah, and we get closer to people that we didn’t really talk to, too.
RIODIL: Yeah, new faces on the team — just a few weeks later, it's like you know them so well. You know everything about them.
PARADEZA: Feel like you guys are family?
RIODIL: Yeah, feels like your family already.
PARADEZA: Anything else you'd like to share with the community about this year's season?
RIODIL: I think running is a great sport — cross country. I think we should see more new younger runners that haven't tried it before. I think they’ll enjoy it.