CROSS COUNTRY 2022
Santa Fe Christian's Revere Schmidt was all smiles as she approached the finish line in the girls Division V race at the CIF-State Cross Country Championships last November at Woodward Park in Fresno. Schmidt is one of just three State Meet division champions returning for the '22 season. (Kirby Lee/Image of Sport)
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When most people go to the beach, they spread out their blanket, maybe put up an umbrella, and chill.
Revere Schmidt might have other plans. Maybe a long run or perhaps an equally challenging swim. Maybe both.
Schmidt is nothing if not versatile.
The Santa Fe Christian High senior has juggled four sports -- cross country, water polo, swimming and track -- all three years to this point, often having to hurry from one to the other, occasionally changing uniforms en route.
Schmidt very quietly won the CIF-San Diego Section Division 5 cross country title a year ago and while many names were being tossed around as potential State Meet champions, it was more in the range of "and, maybe, that girl from San Diego."
In other words, an after-thought.
"We read all the stories about who was favored," said Schmidt of she and her mom -- swim coach Karen Schmidt. "I'm very competitive but they couldn't stalk me a year ago."
Well, the 2022 fall season undoubtedly will be different for Schmidt, after she ran away with the Girls Division V title at the CIF-State Championships last November at Woodward Park in Fresno.
"I always race how I feel, I don't worry about others, and I felt really good at a mile,'' Schmidt said this summer, reflecting on her race at State. "I recognized some of the runners around me and decided to just go.
"It was scary to take the lead. I wasn't expected to be first, second, or third and I didn't know the course as well as some of the others.
"The week before when I ran on the Balboa Park (Morley Field) course, I'd heard about the Upas Street hill and while I usually like to run hard downhill, this time I was afraid I'd get going too fast and fall on my face.
"I hate Mt. SAC, it has too many hills and I don't like Woodbridge, because it's totally flat. I decided to work the hill at Woodward Park.
"It's a lot like swimming. When you're swimming a 1500 free, there are times when you can just sense it's a time to move, to see who will go with you."
As often happens when Schmidt is in a U.S.A. Swim competition, when she made her move on the Woodward Park course at State last November, the others weren't sure how to react.
So they didn't, and soon she had a comfortable lead that, despite her concerns, was not threatened as she won in 18-minutes, 19.1-seconds -- well clear of Castilleja's Samira Kennedy (18:30.2), San Juan Capistrano St. Margaret's Liesel Blau (18:30.4) and fellow San Diego runner Madeline Cramer (18:33.3) of The Bishop's School.
"I ran like I had my head above water and listened for the other runners," she said. "I tried to read the crowd, but I was in the lead by myself and so I ran hard. Ít was scary but fun."
Schmidt is one of three champions who return looking to defend their titles this fall -- along with Anna McNatt (McClatchy/SJ) in D-I and Hanne Thomsen (Montgomery/NC) in D-III -- and she knows it will be completely different.
In 25 seasons since the State Meet expansion to Division V, six girls have defended titles, including Jordan Hasay (Mission College Prep/CS), who won all four years between 2005-08, and most recently Rylee Bowen (Sonoma Academy/NC) in 2014-15.
After winning the small school division at the Vaquero Stampede last week at El Capitan High, Schmidt is scheduled to race in the Rancho Bernardo Bronco Roundup this Saturday at Kit Carson Park in Escondido. She's entered in the Division II race in the meet which includes 36 boys and girls teams, all from San Diego.
Some of the top teams include Cathedral Catholic, Poway, Torrey Pines and Del Norte for the girls and Torrey Pines, Grossmont, Patrick Henry and Otay Ranch for the boys who will test the 2-mile course that includes one large hill.
Whether it's taking the line in San Diego Section invitationals or running on a statewide stage, Schmidt knows there'll be no sneaking up on others this time around.
"This time I'll have a target on my back, which is fine," said Schmidt. "Last year I tried to take in the whole experience. I always race hard but you have to understand that a lot of people never get to experience the State Meet.
"I got to cheer on my (boys) teammates and give them a thumbs up. I really look forward to going back again."
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Check out highlights of the '21 D-V girls race at State
2021 CIF-STATE CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
Girls Division V Finals - Top 10 Finishers
|1||Revere Schmidt||11||Santa Fe Christian (SD)||18:19.10||1|
|2||Samira Kennedy||11||Castilleja School (CC)||18:30.20||2|
|3||Liesel Blau||11||St. Margaret's Episcopal (SS)||18:30.40||3|
|4||Madeline Cramer||12||Bishop's School (SD)||18:33.30||0|
|5||Kaiya Brooks||11||Crystal Springs Uplands School (CC)||18:36.40||4|
|6||Bethany Mapes||12||Liberty Charter (SD)||18:38.70||0|
|7||Claire Babbitt||11||Mary Star of the Sea (SS)||18:49.40||0|
|8||Ryley Burns||12||Linfield Christian (SS)||18:52.40||5|
|9||Amelie Maltz||11||Lick Wilmerding (NC)||18:54.90||6|
|10||Isis Diaz||12||Sierra Canyon (SS)||18:55.10||0|
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One of the section's better distance swimmers, Schmidt qualified in two events plus two relays at the Division 2 swimming prelims before sprinting out to the car to get a ride to the Division 3 track prelims.
Despite having 10 minutes to warm up, she jumped into the 3200 meters where she won by seven seconds in 11:29.52. A week later she added the D-3 title at 11:09.1, just off her PR of 11:02.24.
In the swim finals she racked up a series of top-three finishes.
The 11:09.1 time for 3200m on the track came on dead legs and, while not a State-qualifying performance, it set the SDS division record.
Both her track and swim coaches are convinced competing in the other sport is what makes her unbeatable in cross country.
"I'm a runner myself and I don't think enough runners cross-train," said track coach Sonia Sturgeon. "I believe her swimming allows her to stay fresh and there's significantly less wear and tear on her body. People see her and know she does track and swims and wonder how good she'd be if she just focused on one.
"She'd be better -- definitely. But at what cost? Yes, maybe if she'd just focused on the 3200 she might have made State but those at-large standards are crazy fast. She's never been injured or even had shin splints, plus she's really competitive and loves doing both."
Oh, and by the way, Schmidt also helped lead the Eagles to the San Diego Section Division 3 water polo title in the winter.
Translation: Don't mess with a good thing.
Schmidt figures to be better at cross country than track because she's also a distance swimmer.
"Her swimming complements her track training," said her mom, Sonia. "It has allowed her to stay injury-free. She always manages to fit in everything."
Including her studies. The 5-foot-5 Schmidt carries a 4.67 GPA where she has never received a grade lower than an "A" despite taking a high volume of AP courses.
She's mulling where she'll attend college but admits looking forward to doing both swimming and track at the next level, where events like the 6K in cross country and the 1650 free in swimming are more to her liking.
But first there are a few high-quality cross country meets she's looking forward to this fall, even with a target on her back.
Steve Brand is a freelance writer and a regular contributor to MileSplit
Photos by DeAnna Turner, Phil Grooms, and Kirby Lee