Prior to the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League Cross Country finals, Scotts Valley High junior Ashlyn Boothby was battling a chest cold that set her back just a tad bit.
Despite not being back to full capacity, the ace runner had enough energy to beat the pack, and a lingering cough, in the 3-mile race.
Boothby won in 17 minutes, 35 seconds to capture her third straight individual title at Pinto Lake County Park in Watsonville on Nov. 3
“It doesn’t have to be a [personal record] day or school record day, just get through it and have fun with the team,” she said. “And it was very special because our team did so well. We crushed it and I’m just really proud of how everyone did.”
Not far behind was her older sister, Amber Boothby (17:58), who took second and freshman Ava Decleve (18:25) in third to help the Falcons repeat as league champion.
“It kind of just went exactly how I expected it to,” said Amber Boothby, a senior who recently committed to UC San Diego. “The pressure is kind of off right now with having committed already. That’s really nice and I just got to have fun with it, and I did.”
Scotts Valley finished with a score of 26 ahead of San Lorenzo Valley (57), Santa Cruz (74), Aptos (87) and Soquel (118).
After the Boothby sisters caught their breath at the finish line, they waited for their fellow freshman teammate to come sprinting in for a 1-2-3 finish.
Decleve said the game plan was to stick with the fastest runner and push herself to see if she could set a personal record.
“I felt amazing,” she said. “I was trying to get third and I didn’t really know if it was going to happen…I didn’t know how I was going to get there but I’m really happy I did.”
Despite the slippery start out of the gate, Ashlyn Boothby zipped in front of the pack and settled into a comfortable pace to maintain the lead the entire way.
“I heard Amber, my sister, behind me the whole time, which was exciting,” Ashlyn said. “I was like, ‘Yo, Amber’s going really fast right now.’ I heard her breathing when I was going up the hill.”
The Falcons repeated as league champion and now they’re gearing up to defend their Central Coast Section Division IV title.
The CCS Cross Country Championships will take place at Crystal Springs Course in Belmont on Saturday starting with the Division IV girls race at 10am.
SLV seniors Colleen Murata, Kaitlin Seigle and Haven Finley finished in the top 10 to help the Cougars qualify for the CCS finals.
Maurata (18:39) took fourth, followed by Seigle (19:19) in seventh and Finley (20:09) in 10th.
Finley, who is nearly 100% healed from a leg injury, said it was probably one of her best races this season.
“I’m really happy to finally place in the top-10. I’ve never done that at league before,” she said. “It’s a really, really good moment.”
Finley has high hopes the Cougars can make their way past the CCS finals and earn a trip to the state meet, especially with the type of team they’re equipped with.
“It’s just a great opportunity for our team,” she said. “Last year, two girls and one of our boys made it. So, I think it’s amazing that the whole team is going together.”
The Falcons and Cougars will compete in the D-IV field alongside friendly league rival Santa Cruz High. Aptos will compete in the D-III field.
Soquel High senior Julia Snelling (19:03) and fellow junior teammate Suki Kasmi (21:20) along with Harbor sophomore Rebecca Vacca (22:10) finished as the top 3 individuals not on a qualifying team, which earned them a trip to the CCS finals.
The top three teams in the D-IV field automatically qualify for the CIF State Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno on Nov. 26.
Qualifying teams plus the top five highest placed individuals who must finish in the top 14 will qualify to the state meet finals.
Scotts Valley has qualified as a team for the state meet six years straight from 2010-15 and made its return to the big stage last year.
Vanessa Fraser was the last Falcon to bring home a D-IV individual state championship after winning back-to-back titles in 2011 and ‘12.
However, before they can start thinking of state championships the Falcons have to get past the CCS finals first and foremost.
“I’m so proud of how everyone has worked and it’s been a really good season, so far,” Ashlyn Boothby said.