Mattis, cross country team fail to reach postseason, but have no regrets

De Anza College’s cross country teams ranked third (men’s) and second (women’s) in the conference this season following their meet at the Coast Conference Championship on Oct. 27.

When asked if the season could be considered successful, head coach Nick Mattis looked to previous seasons for reference.

“In comparison to what we’ve done in the past, no.” Mattis said, chuckling.

Recent changes have been applied to this year’s season, which include reducing the amount of qualifying teams from the NorCal Championships that go to State Championships from 10 to seven.

This new rule is upsetting for De Anza, as both the men’s and women’s teams ranked ninth at the 2017 NorCal Championships on Nov. 3. Not being able to compete at the state level is a first for Mattis, who has led both teams to the meet every year since he started coaching for De Anza .

“This is my eleventh season coaching cross country here, and for the first 10 years, both men’s and women’s teams (always) qualified for the state meet,” Mattis said.

“This is the first year we didn’t.”

Although disappointed about the failure to qualify, Coach Mattis has no regrets. He said the team “ran the best meet of their season” at the NorCal Championships.

“There was definitely some improvement,” Mattis said.

Two men and one woman from De Anza are competing at the state championships because they qualify, though they will be individual competitors, rather than representing De Anza as a team.

Those individuals are freshman Iman Bayat from the men’s team and sophomores Senai Gebrehiwet and Zoe Blankenship from the women’s team.

“I need to get out and recruit really hard again,” Mattis said, alluding to the fact that his whole team was comprised of only 17 people throughout the season, four of which only just joined in October.

On average, the team usually takes in around 20 to 25 people every season. Fewer people competing means the team is less likely to rank higher during meets against teams like Hartnell, who has 38.