“We want to surpass last year,” said senior co-captain Scott Edwards. “We performed well at the state meet, and lost only one runner. We’re looking forward to going further (in state).”
The boys team returns six of the runners who competed at the state meet last season, including Edwards, who as the Falcons top runner finished 5th in Division IV as a junior. As a senior, he hopes to challenge for the top spot in the CCS — a goal which could be a reality after he ran a 4 minute, 12.55 second mile at the state track and field meet during the spring.
Edwards said the team trained hard during the summer; with almost all of the top runners training together four days a week to prepare for the cross country season.
Head coach Doug Chase said team will have more than 50 runners, and about 60 percent are boys.
“We had a good summer, probably the best since I’ve been here,” Chase said. “There was more participation from incoming freshmen and we did some nice conditioning during the summer.”
Chase said that after both the boys and girls teams went to state last season (the third consecutive appearance for the girls), the culture around the team has developed into a mentality of excellence.
“It’s become part of the culture,” Chase said. “Now there should be an expectation that success is measured at the state meet.”
Chase said the boys varsity team goes 10-runners deep, and that competition will be tight to compete for the top seven scoring positions.
If the team reaches state again this season, the success should continue into following years. Senior co-captain Sean Andersen said the team’s depth, including the upcoming freshmen and sophomores, should help the program this year, and over the next several.
“The future is bright,” Andersen said.
The Scotts Valley girls team is coming off its third appearance in the state meet, but graduated three key senior runners, including state champion Vanessa Fraser who will attend Stanford this fall.
It may seem like a rebuilding year for the Falcons, but senior captains Valerie Morrison and Courtney Clark are determined to push toward a fourth consecutive state meet berth.
“I think we’re counting on how much depth we have as a team,” Morrison said. “We can’t rely on a No. 1 (runner), so 5, 6, and 7 become much more important.”
Morrison said one of her roles as captain is to encourage and push the younger runners to train hard and run strong races.
Clark is optimistic about the season.
“We’re doing everything we can to get to state,” Clark said. “Losing Vanessa (Fraser) a lot of people are going to write us off, but I think we can do some good things this year.”
Chase said the girls will likely shoot for third place in the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League behind powerhouses San Lorenzo Valley and Aptos.
“We want to run with those teams,” he said.
Unlike the boys team, Chase said, the girls will need the newest runners to contribute.
“The girls are going to have to get some help from the freshmen,” Chase said.
Clark said the girls are up for the challenge.
“Even though we don’t have a number one card, we have a lot of girls,” she said. “We are very deep.”