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Stunt Wins CIF
Stunt Wins CIF
May 8, 2024
Recent Results

The sprint to state


Team of 2017 becomes the first to qualify for state in Division II

Six months of training had conditioned runners to surpass their physical limits and leave behind a legacy within the county, league, and state. League finals, section prelims, and finals had weeded out the most elite teams in California, and those remaining stood behind the start line at Woodward Park in Clovis, home of the Cross Country State meet. One of these teams was the Bearcats, made up of Pablo Cortes, Steven Scruggs, Damien Gavilan, Michael Hernandez, Ian Young, Alex Ruiz, and Jason Scruggs.

While their official season began in late August, athletes met for summer practices starting in June and were encouraged to take part in the summer milage challenge, which rewards runners for completing 500 miles (boy’s team) or 350 miles (girl’s team) by the end of August. This kind of intensity is what breeds fit, dedicated, and successful athletes. The three months of the official season are intended to keep athletes at their optimal levels of fitness, but the pre-season is dedicated to making gains.

“At the beginning of the season I saw extreme dedication from everyone that was out there and willing to run up and down hills for miles and miles every morning over the summer,” Freshman Jason Scruggs said.

A large part of their success derives from the coaching they receive from Ivan Huff. The mantra “you can make excuses or you can make it happen” is often repeated to

The boys placed fifth in their division, followed closely by rival Arroyo Grande. Their performance here earned them a place at finals.

encourage sore and tired runners to push past their pain and run towards success. The boys run eight to ten miles per day during the season, and training becomes more vigorous as they draw nearer to finals. Though intense, this training proves to be a great driving force in getting the team through prelims and finals.

Although they now lack their powerhouse runners, Trad Berti and Luis Armdendez, the boys were able to uphold their legacy and create a new one. This year marked the fifth year in a row that Paso won county finals, and the fourth that they dominated league. A new legacy was created as the varsity team of 2017 became the first to move on in Division II of CIF, as well as managing to go all the way to state.

Pablo Cortez remained the top runner throughout the season, making times similar to Berti in his junior year. As one of the athletes that partook in the milage challenge, he gained strength and endurance that proved vital during the season.

“I expected to make huge improvements compared to my sophomore year. I was logging in way more miles this past summer than the year before and I felt a lot more experienced,” Cortes, who has been on varsity for three years, said.

While Cortez remained the top runner throughout the season, the team dynamic was constantly shifting between athletes’ performances at certain courses. Team scores are calculated with the top five runners’ times, with the sixth and seventh men as rarely use backup in the case of a tie. Because of this year’s tight competition, the Bearcats depended on their sixth man to determine a winner in races with teams of equal skill level. This case prevailed at elite meets and several league meets where the boys ran against rivals such as Arroyo Grande and SLO.

Beginning their final sprint to state, the boys won the PAC 8 League title for the fourth consecutive year after beating out Arroyo Grande by only one point. One week after this victory, they headed down to Riverside on Nov 11 for CIF prelims, where they came first in their heat and fifth overall in Divison II. The top twelve teams in each division continue onto finals, so the boys returned to the course on Nov 18, and finished in fifth once again. The race continued to Woodward Park in Clovis on Nov 25. The Bearcats finished fourteenth in Division II, making team history as the first runners to qualify for state in this division.

With the season now over, the boys are taking the opportunity to make gains in the off-season by participating in a winter mileage challenge that requires 500 miles in eight weeks. As the team grows stronger and loses only one graduating runner, they are expected to continue build on their legacy in the 2018 season.

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