Scotts Valley High distance runners Jeremy Kain and Ashlyn Boothby went into last week’s Central Coast Section Track and Field Championships with a mission.
The Falcons duo delivered by sweeping the boys and girls 1,600 meters in front of a packed crowd at Gilroy High School on May 21.
Kain, a senior, won his race in 4 minutes, 14.10 seconds, while fellow sophomore teammate Boothby won in 4:53.81 after a thrilling finish.
“I think that says a lot about Scotts Valley’s track team,” Kain said. “We’ve got Ashlyn [Boothby] running incredible…I think [Scotts Valley coach] Todd [Hoffman] is doing a wonderful job with these stellar athletes and just creating that foundation here to thrive in college. Still not sure how we still have a dirt track, but we’re working on it.”
The Falcons’ boys team placed seventh place with a score of 22. Los Altos won with a score of 63, followed by Bellarmine (44) in second and Harker (29) in third.
Scotts Valley junior Sam Freeman placed seventh in the 400 in 50.72. Santa Cruz High senior Caleb Womack (49.68) earned a state-qualifying third place finish.
Kain, who is committed to compete next year at Duke University, had an impressive win in the 800 by setting the school record in 1:51.32.
He also nearly broke the CCS record for the best finish that was set in 1970 by Rick Brown (1:50.70) of Los Altos.
Scotts Valley coach Todd Hoffman said both runners went into the CCS Championships more determined than ever, especially after some minor hiccups leading up to the semifinals.
“It was just a phenomenal day for them,” he said. “I’m so proud of those two and so happy for them because they work hard. And they’re just great kids.”
All athletes finishing in the top three qualified for this week’s CIF State Championships at Buchanan High School in Clovis. The qualifying round begins Friday at 3pm, followed by the finals on Saturday at 4:30pm.
“I’m so excited, today was just to qualify for state and we’ll go from there,” Boothby said. “I’m super pleased, really excited.”
Boothby led after the first three laps but then she suddenly dropped to the second spot with about 300 meters to go.
“I was hoping not to have to lead the whole thing but they went out kind of slower,” she said. “In the third lap I threw in a couple of surges. I knew there were some people hanging on me, so I was going to try to throw them off a little bit.”
Boothby turned on the jets in the final 100 meters of the race, sprinting down the stretch and outkicking Castilleja High junior Samira Kennedy (4:55.79) for the win.
“Coming off the bend I was slingshotting through and I was like, ‘It’s not happening today’ and I just kicked it all the way in and pulled through, it was fun.”
Kain got off to a fast start in his 1,600 meters race, staying with the front of the pack throughout the first three laps.
He managed to pull away with about 250 meters to go and never looked back. Kain said everything played out according to plan.
“I was prepared for it to hurt the last lap and I wanted it to,” he said.
Kain, who has a season-best finish of 4:07.77, still has his eyes set on the CCS record of 4:07.97 that was set two years ago by Nolan Topper of Bellarmine.
“Right now it’s just survive and advance against an incredible group of guys,” Kain said.
Kain lost his chance of a triple crown after placing second in the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League Championships on May 7. He called it a mixup and was able to bounce back in the CCS semifinals a week later.
“Today just really gave myself that confidence going into the rest of the season and finishing up with what’s going to be my last couple of high school races ever,” Kain said.
Kain had about an hour to cool down before going into the 800 meter with a new plan and complete new mindset. It was the least amount of rest he had in between races but he said things couldn’t have turned out any better.
“I think the crowd here, I felt the energy and like I was saying earlier, my body is prepping for the postseason and this it what matters,” Kain said. “I knew I wanted it, I put myself in a position to get it.”
CCS Track and Field Championships
800: (1st) Jeremy Kain, Scotts Valley – *1:51.32
1,600: (1st), Jeremy Kain, Scotts Valley – 4:14.10
400: (7th) Sam Freeman, Scotts Valley – 50.72
1,600: (1st) Ashlyn Boothby, Scotts Valley – 4:53.81
NOTE: Top 3 finishers qualified for the state meet