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February 5, 2023

Falcons soar to new heights at state cross country finals

Scotts Valley produces three top-10 finishes in Fresno

The Scotts Valley High cross country boys and girls teams wrapped up their remarkable season with three top-10 finishes at this year’s CIF State Cross Country Championships.

The Falcons girls team soared to a sixth place finish, while the boys’ squad finished seventh at Woodward Park in Fresno on Nov. 26. 

“Two top-10 finishes, that’s pretty impressive,” said Scotts Valley coach Todd Hoffman.

Ashlyn Boothby, a junior, took eighth by finishing the race in 18 minutes, 05.3 seconds in the Division IV girls race. 

It was a top-10 finish for her but Boothby said she actually felt displeased about her result. 

“I was definitely disappointed with my race, but instead I chose to be happy about how our team did,” she said. 

Her older sister, Amber, placed 15th in 18:20.9 to help the Falcons to a sixth place finish with a score of 189. It’s the first time the girls’ team placed in the top-10 as a team.

“I really saw [Amber] pick up a lot of people during the last mile,” Hoffman said. “Every runner that we had, they really worked that last mile hard and picked up places, moving up in the rankings and that’s something I love to see.”

Scotts Valley freshman Ava Decleve took 28th in 18:55.6, followed by senior Rafaela Putnam (77th; 20:14.7), junior Diana Alivov (106th; 20:49), freshman Jenni Brownfield (116th; 21:01.7) and sophomore Violet McCutchen (143rd; 21:58.8). 

San Lorenzo Valley senior Colleen Murata (19:17.9) placed 40th in a field of 201 runners.

Hoffman said Ashlyn Boothby may not have had the race she wanted but he knows she still gave an all-out effort no matter the result. 

“[Boothby] wanted to be faster than that but she just powered through it,” he said. 

Boothby said she set some high goals this season, however, she wasn’t able to achieve them. 

Boothby—who won her third straight Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League crown and second straight Central Coast Section title—placed third at last year’s CIF State Championships in 17:21.1.

“I was hoping to do even better than last year,” she said.

Boothby said she’s still puzzled about what went wrong going into last week’s state finals. 

“I don’t know if I let the nerves get to me or what, but I don’t know,” she said. “My legs were heavy, I wasn’t feeling like my ‘A’ game that day, which is disappointing but oh well. It is what it is.”

Boothby said it was still an exciting excursion overall because the thing that she values most about the trips is getting to spend time with the team. 

“Although the race is fun, just being there with my whole team is such a valuable experience that is just super fun,” she said.

It was also an emotional end to the season because it was the last cross country race for the seniors, including her siblings, Amber and Aiden. 

Ashlyn said it was especially tough when she realized afterwards that her brother and sister are officially done with their high school cross country experience. 

“I’m going to have to continue without them next year,” Ashlyn said. “It was bittersweet, for sure.”

On the boys side, Aiden Boothby (15:39.8) took 13th for the CCS champion Falcons, who placed seventh as a team with a score of 180.

“He just kept the attitude like he always does and it’s ‘I could push a little harder,’” Hoffman said. “He just powered through it and just ran a great race.”

Scotts Valley senior Jack Brownfield was 35th in 16:14.0, followed by junior Ben George (52nd; 16:31.6), junior Mason Lantz (74th; 16:51.9), junior Spencer George (83rd; 17:02.0), junior Eli Granados (120th; 17:33.7) and senior Jonah Verinsky (148th; 18:00.1).

“The boys, they all ran very strong and gave it everything they had. Every one of them,” Hoffman said. “I’m so proud of them.”

Juan Reyes
A Watsonville native who has a passion for local sports and loves his community. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College, San Jose State University and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumnus, he primarily covers high school athletics, Cabrillo College athletics, various youth sports in the Pajaro Valley and the Santa Cruz Warriors. Juan is also a video game enthusiast, part-time chef (at home), explorer and a sports junkie. Coaches and athletic directors are encouraged to report scores HERE.

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