Saturday went pretty much as expected: the sun came up, Americans everywhere finished up Thanksgiving leftovers and the Mountain View High boys cross-country team won a state title.
“In a sense, it was a bit anticlimactic, as we were heavy favorites to win going in,” said Mountain View coach Evan Smith, whose Spartans beat runner-up Glendora by 60 points in the Division II race at Fresno’s Woodward Park. “In fact, I remember telling two of my close friends in the weeks prior to the race that if we didn’t win, something must have gone seriously wrong.”
Not everything went right, either. A few Mountain View runners were slowed by injuries, yet the Spartans still posted a team time of 78 minutes, 26 seconds – the 10th fastest mark in course history and best by a Central Coast Section team (besting Bellarmine’s 1993 record by more than two minutes).
“We were proud of that,” said Garrett Rowe, who paced Mountain View with a fourth-place time of 15:06 on the 5-kilometer course, “but we could have done better with all our guys healthy.”
Rowe and only two other Spartans – brothers Ian and Aubrey Myjer – came into the meet without an ailment. Senior Ian finished sixth (15:17) and sophomore Aubrey 52nd (16:10). Parker Schuh ran with an Achilles injury, placing 23rd with a 15:40. Alex McGuirk, dealing with shin splits all season, took 42nd (16:08). Chris Wells (16:42) and Bryan Crook (16:54), both recovering from stress fractures in their lower legs, took 83rd and 102nd, respectively, and did not count toward the team score.
“We were nicked up all season because the boys were doing a tremendous amount of mileage during the summer and fall, because they all saw what our potential was,” Smith said. “It’s a catch-22 situation because if you don’t do the work, you can’t win, but if you do too much you get injured, and you can’t win either. So the team as a whole and each boy individually did as much as they possibly could, which was sometimes too much, but in the end, was enough.”
Rowe did enough to run the fastest time among all CCS runners at the state meet, which included five divisions. The senior didn’t beat his time from last year (15:03), but he said this race was at a different pace.
“Our race went out slow,” Rowe said. “For two miles it was slow – it was really tactical – and it came down to the kick at the end.”
Running 30th after the first mile, Rowe climbed to fifth in the second mile and challenged for the lead as the competitors approached the finish line.
“I’m a second-mile runner anyway – that’s when I run my best. When others are fading, I try to bust the race open,” Rowe said. “I was right with the leader until the last 400 (meters), then I was outkicked at the last part and finished fourth.”
The Mountain View girls ran before the boys, finishing eighth in their first race. This marked the third year in a row the Spartans have placed in the top 10.
Smith said the Division II race “was absolutely stacked this year,” featuring No. 2 nationally ranked Saugus (which won the title) and No. 7 Mira Costa (runner-up).
Allison Sturges led Mountain View with an 18:28, good enough for 22nd place. The sophomore had the best time among CCS participants in Division II.
“My race went pretty well,” said Sturges, who set a personal record on the course. “I was pretty happy with my time.”
Sturges added that she got off to a quicker start than she intended, “but when I realized I was going too fast for the first mile, it was too late and I couldn’t slow down. I wanted to stay with the first pack of girls.”
That made the hilly second mile tougher for Sturges. By the end, “I was just trying to pass some girls,” she said. Sturges passed one runner just before the finish to secure 22nd.
Martina De Geus placed 53rd for Mountain View with a 19:19. Teammates Zoe Pappas (60th, 19:27), Sarah Wells (63rd, 19:33) and Carol Passarelli (72nd, 19:40) followed.