Chase Manning (10), Carlo Vellandi (12), Gabriel Raco (10), Parker Wolfe (11), Lukas Andrews (11), Griffin Kushen (11) and Ryan McNamara (11) pose after crossing the State finish line.
This Thanksgiving week, Boys Cross Country traveled to Clovis, California to race in their second straight State Championship, finishing 10th in Division II.
After celebrating Thanksgiving with their families, the state team left on Black Friday for Woodward Park in Clovis, California. Arriving at their hotel, the team had some fun and went to sleep as they prepared for the biggest race of the season.
The state championships course is known to be difficult, as instead of being three miles, the race is five Kilometers, about 0.11 miles extra. On top of the extra distance, there are large hills near the middle of the race and the majority of the final mile is uphill.
Saturday, Nov. 25, each member woke up early for the 10:30 AM race.
As all seven runners approached the line, reality set in. This was it, the end of the season. One race, seven against the other 194 runners.
When all Tesoro runners crossed the finish line, the scores were close, and positions were subject to change at any moment as more teams crossed the line. As the dust settled, Tesoro finished in 10th place, just three points ahead of fellow South Orange County team, El Toro High School.
As per usual, junior Griffin Kushen led the team, finishing sixth overall with a new school course record of 15:20.5. Sophomore Chase Manning was next to cross the line with a time of 16:23.4, shortly followed by junior Ryan McNamara’s 16:27.4. Junior Parker Wolfe kept close behind, finishing with a strong 16:35.6. The most improved runner of the season finished next, as sophomore Gabriel Raco finished fifth for the team with a solid 16:48.1.
In order to get to the State meet, the team first had to get past CIF Finals. Located at the hilly Mt. San Antonio College, the best teams in the Southern Section faced off. Due to heavy rain in the days leading up to CIF Finals, however, the course was altered. This change removed the hills but extended the course from 2.93 miles to 3.00 miles.
If the team wanted to advance, Tesoro had to place in the top seven teams. Junior Griffin Kushen led the team, finishing third overall with a new three-mile school record of 14:10.5. Junior Ryan McNamara was next to cross the line with a new personal record of 15:07.3. Sophomore Chase Manning finished 3rd for the team in 15:23.8 followed closely by junior Mateo Allen-Aguirre’s 15:28.7, who climbed twenty-two positions over the last half mile. Junior Parker Wolfe’s 15:29.8 closed out the scorers for Tesoro. Thanks to Kushen’s exceptional lead and the powerful pack close behind, Tesoro was able to place sixth in the race, advancing to the State Meet.
While this year’s showing was not as strong as last year’s, there are many reasons to be excited about the future of Tesoro Boy’s Cross Country. Coach Darren Phelps has put the program on an upward trend over the past few years, making their second straight state meet following a nine year drought. Furthermore, the five fastest runners on the team are all returning next year. With high goals and a bright future, the end of this season is only a stepping stone for the Boys Cross Country team.