Scotts Valley senior Aiden Boothby admitted he wasn’t feeling the greatest when he woke up the morning of the league’s cross country finals.
However, that mood quickly shifted once he realized it was more than just another race.
Boothby finished the 3-mile course in a personal best 15 minutes, 06 seconds to place third in the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League Championship at Pinto Lake County Park in Watsonville on Nov. 3.
“I haven’t had [a] race where I was really excited about and this one was probably one of the first where I’m actually super excited,” he said.
Boothby was narrowly edged by Santa Cruz sophomore Eli Fitchen-Young (15:01) and league champion Aptos High senior Trent Nosky, who won the race in 14:55.
“I’m gonna try to stick with Eli and just gonna see what I can do, have some fun,” Boothby said. “I came in with the mentality of let’s just have fun and I wanted the team to do the same. It’s league and we really wanted to try to beat Santa Cruz.”
Boothby was one of six Falcons runners to finish in the top-10, helping them tally a score of 28 to edge the Cardinals (40) for their fifth straight SCCAL team championship and seventh overall—2013-‘14 and 2018-‘22.
Scotts Valley coach Todd Hoffman knew that Boothby’s plan going into the race was to hang in with the top runners for as long as possible, which is exactly what he did.
“[Boothby’s] one of those that’s always working hard, he’s a team leader, a captain and he really went for it today,” Hoffman said.
Falcons senior Jack Brownfield (15:41) took fourth, followed by junior Ben George (16:14) in fifth, junior Mason Lantz (16:24) in seventh, senior Jonah Verinsky (16:26) in ninth and junior Spencer George (16:30) placed 10th.
Boothby has steadily improved and grown as a runner over the two years, slowly turning into the Falcons’ top boys runner on the team.
He set the program’s third fastest time at Pinto Lake last week, won a pair of league dual meets this season and placed third at the Ram Invitational on Sept. 24.
“From freshman until now, he’s a totally different runner,” Hoffman said.
Boothby mentioned he put in some extra work during the Covid-19 pandemic and that’s when he fell in love with the sport.
“Cliche as it may sound,” he said.
Next up is a chance for Scotts Valley to defend their Central Coast Section Division IV title at Crystal Springs Course in Belmont. The D-IV boys’ race is slated to start at 10:35am.
Aptos (67)—which qualified for the CCS D-III finals—took third at the league championships, followed by Soquel (115), San Lorenzo Valley (138) and Harbor (149).
Harbor freshman Grady McKee (17:24) along with Soquel sophomore Tomas Church (17:31) and freshman Levi Laresn (17:35) were the top three finishers not on a qualifying team, which earned them a trip to the CCS D-IV finals.
The Falcons attempt to defend their CCS championship and produce the program’s second boys individual champion after former standout Jeremy Kain did it in 2021.
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 some history at the CIF State Championships that includes trips in 2013-14 and ‘18-19. Their most recent trip was in 2021 where they placed third as a team.
“CCS and state, that’s the goal,” Hoffman said. “That’s their goal from the end of last season.”
Boothby said he’s hoping to have a repeat performance of last year where both the boys’ and girls’ teams swept both the league and CCS titles.
“The team’s gonna work hard these next three weeks,” Boothby said. “So, I’m excited.”