The season highlight reel continues to grow for Scotts Valley High senior Aiden Boothby after another strong finish at last week’s Central Coast Section Cross Country Championships.
He placed second in 15 minutes, 52.5 seconds in the 2.95-mile race at Crystal Springs course in Belmont on Nov. 12.
Boothby finished behind Santa Cruz sophomore Eli Fitchen-Young (15:24.3), and just slightly ahead of fellow senior teammate Jack Brownfield (15:57.7).
“[Fitchen-Young] knows how to make that middle mile really fast,” Boothby said. “He did kind of lose me quite a bit but it was still really fun. Again, my goal is to usually go in and have fun, work hard, and I did.”
The hard work paid off for the Falcons, which had five runners—including Boothby and Brownfield—finish in the top-25 to help them capture back-to-back section titles with a score of 59.
Scotts Valley beat out Carmel (75), Archbishop Riordan (109), Santa Cruz (124) and North Monterey County (150) for its second straight CCS championship.
“The team also worked really hard, our team put a lot of work in this season and it really showed, so it’s really exciting,” Boothby said.
Scotts Valley senior Jonah Verinsky (17:01.4) took 15th, followed by juniors Spencer George (17:06; 20th), Ben George (17:08.4; 24th), Eli Granados (17:45.2; 46th) and Mason Lantz (18:22.9; 68th).
The Falcons, Padres and the Crusaders were the top-3 teams in D-IV to advance to the CIF State Cross Country Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno on Nov. 26.
Brownfield was a varsity alternate just about his entire high school career. This year, he became a team captain and one of his goals was to put up another CCS championship banner with his name on it.
Brownfield also wanted to prove doubters wrong because of expectations following the departure of strong runners that included Jeremy Kain and Ryder Brabo.
“To be able to prove that Scotts Valley’s got a deep team and us guys are just as strong as we were last year, it means a lot,” Brownfield said.
Brownfield admitted he was nervous prior to the race, especially because he hadn’t competed at the Crystal Springs course since his freshman year.
But he was still confident knowing how well he’s done this season and having the ability to start strong coming out of the gate.
“I’m usually in the back and I was just preparing for that, but it actually went pretty well,” Brownfield said. “I didn’t get boxed in, so that felt really good.”
Brownfield mentioned he had an advantageous position on the far outside and he was able to get around the block that would normally drop him in. He also had help from Lantz, who used his big body to charge in front of Brownfield to open up a lane.
“I kind of split the waters, followed in his way and made it a little bit easier,” Brownfield said.
Boothby said he doesn’t normally race side-by-side with Brownfield because of different race strategies.
After passing him up during the first mile, Boothby didn’t realize how close Brownfield was but at the same time he wasn’t surprised.
“I don’t even need to look back, I know he’s there because he’s always working hard,” Boothby said.
The cool weather condition was also ideal for the Falcons after last year’s championships were hot and dusty.
Boothby believes he had a good race despite getting stuck in the middle mile.
“I spent a lot of energy trying to get back up in the front,” he said. “Great race, great conditions, overall just really fun.”
Next up, the Falcons will travel to Fresno to compete in the CIF State Championships at Woodward Park.
The heartbreaking thing for Boothby is that he realizes it’ll be his last cross country state meet but also knows it’ll be another memorable moment in what’s already been a tremendous season.
“Another once in a lifetime opportunity, so might as well use it,” Boothby said.