By Rick Eymer
Palo Alto Online Sports
Menlo-Atherton junior Jack Beckwith turned the tables on some of his Peninsula Athletic League rivals Thursday, racing to victory at the first PAL cross country meet of the season in Half Moon Bay.
Beckwith considered the team title even more of an accomplishment. After all, Carlmont enters the season as the five-time defending Central Coast Section Division I boys' champion.
The Bears served notice there will be a bit more competition in the PAL this season, as their top five runners all finished in the top 13 on the 2.33 mile course.
Menlo-Atherton won the boys' race with 38 points, followed by Woodside (71) and Carlmont (83).
Beckwith said the meet was an indicator of how the Bears stacked up against the rest of the league.
"It's a way to see where we are," he said. "It's a way to see if we're fit and how we trained in the preseason. This is a pretty solid squad and we proved that here."
Beckwith raced 12:11, needing a late burst to fend off fast-closing Chris Waschura of Woodside, who crossed two seconds later, to win the boys' title.
Waschura took the early lead in a tightly-bunched group of runners. Beckwith took over near the 1.25-mile mark and never looked back.
"I like running from the front," Beckwith said. "It helps keep me motivated. What keeps me running hard is knowing someone could catch me."
Beckwith ran 30th in last year's CCS meet at Crystal Springs, finishing behind of a group of runners he beat Thursday.
Also scoring for M-A were Mike Hester, who was sixth in 12:30, Spencer Berry, who finished eighth in 12:45, John Lovegren, who ran 10th in 12:47 and Jordan Scandlyn, who was 13th.
The M-A girls finished ninth with 212 points. Half Moon Bay won with 72 points.