The Scotts Valley Middle School cross country team put the finishing touches on a stellar Central Coast Athletic League season on Friday, Oct. 17, as four of the school’s six teams placed first in their respective categories at the 2014 Championship Meet, held at San Lorenzo Valley High School.
The sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade girls teams all placed first — capping a season in which the girls’ teams achieved first-place finishes in all six of the CCAL meets.
“They were kind of a powerhouse,” said Coach Kathy Craft. “These are the future of the Falcons teams.”
The eighth-grade boys’ team also placed first in the meet, while their counterparts on the seventh and sixth-grade teams place second to New Brighton Middle School.
For the sixth-grade boys, it was the team’s first meet where it didn’t place first.
Craft and Assistant Coach Jody Bryson said that the high amount of success the program enjoyed this season was an encouraging sign of things ahead.
“The size of our roster has expanded every year,” said Craft, adding that the team finished its season with 76 student-athletes. “They’re all enthusiastic and want to run.”
She described that, during the team’s short, 8-week season, she is impressed by the amount of improvement that her runners — many of whom had no prior training or conditioning — have shown.
“Sixty-four kids PRed (achieved a personal record),” Craft said. “Every single kid improved.”
Bryson noted that, by the end of the season, some runners had shaved more than 6 minutes off of their times at the season’s start.
Craft said that she sees a strong future ahead for the Scotts Valley High School’s cross country team, as several young runners are showing potential, such as sixth-graders Sydney Inman and Luke Bjermeland, seventh-graders Lincoln Moses and Macy Craft, and eighth-graders Jessica Cain and Darren Mudge.
Inman, Craft, and Cain stood out in particular, she said, as all three girls came in first in their respective age brackets in all six meets.
A similarly dominant season by Bjermeland was derailed when wrist injuries prevented him from competing in the final two meets of the season.
“I’m really fired up to see how they progress in high school,” Craft said. “These kids worked so hard, and we’re so proud of them.”