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June 30, 2022

Falcons steadily improve throughout the season | Track and field

Scotts Valley is led by team captains Jeremy Kain, Rafaela Putnam

It’s been a record-setting season for the Scotts Valley High boys and girls track and field teams.

The Falcons recently competed in the prestigious Arcadia Invitational in Southern California on April 8-9.  

Senior distance runner Jeremy Kain, who is committed to compete at Duke next year, placed third in the mile with a personal best time of 4 minutes, 9.34 seconds. 

“Individually, it really has been sort of like the victory lap season for me,” he said. “Things have been really going my way recently.”

Rapid City Stevens High junior Simeon Brinbaum (4:07.88) won the race, followed by Arlington High senior Aiden Emerson (4:08.00) in second.

Kain has been Scotts Valley’s, and Santa Cruz County’s, most accomplished runner since he arrived on the scene three years ago. 

The defending two-time Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League cross country champion won the 1,600 (4:10.91) at the California State Track and Field Championships at Arcadia High last year in June.  

He placed 10th (4:10.39) in the mile race at The Outdoor Nationals in Eugene, Ore. in July, which was the county record at the time.  

Last week, Kain had about 20 minutes to rest before he was back on the track with fellow teammates Ryder Brabo, Sam Freeman and Austin George for the distance medley relay (1,200meter-400-800-1,600).

The group placed 17th in 10:48.92. 

“As a team, it’s going really well,” he said. “We’ve put together some good relays and we’re going to have another good relay this Thursday in the 4×4 where we’re going to try for our school record, which will be interesting.” 

Freeman, Sam Abel, Kiran Heine and Sasha Miller have also been running spectacular times in the 400-meters.

“They did a great job, I was proud of all of them,” said Scotts Valley coach Todd Hoffman.

The Falcons added sprint coach Christina Robinson, who is the assistant coach of the cross country team.

“She’s doing a great job coaching them,” Hoffman said.

Ben Westlund, a senior, set a personal record in the 100 in 11.38 seconds during a Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League meet on March 24. 

Logan Gundersen, a senior, is leading the way in the discus, and junior Nic Arcangeli decided he was going to compete in the discus and shot put this season.

“Our team’s building,” Hoffman said. “It’s been down for a while, partly because there is no facility.”

San Lorenzo Valley High was courteous enough this season to allow Scotts Valley athletes to use its campus for training.

Hoffman said the mission is to create a family-friendly environment for the athletes and make it a safe spot for them.  

“Some days maybe you can’t run, you’re just having a bad day, but at least be with us,” he said. “Our kids take care of each other, our leadership from the captains is phenomenal.” 

Kain and junior distance runner Rafaela Putnam are two of the team captains that have been like extra coaches. 

“We can totally rely on them and the kids will go to their captains and talk if they’re having bad days,” Hoffman said. “It’s just that kind of leadership that we have … That’s what’s bringing other kids in.”

Putnam said most of the runners competed during the cross country season in the fall and trained hard throughout winter. 

“We’ve been working on a lot of speed at practice,” she said. 

She said it’s also been exciting to have everything back to normal and being able to compete in big competitions such as the Stanford Invitational and at Arcadia.

“Having that normal track feeling has been really great,” she said. 

Putnam said she’s been able to break the 2:20 mark in the 800 and her goal is to continue to drop her time.

“I think everyone having such competitive individual drive really helps pull the rest of the team to that same level and seeing athletes that are committing really pulls myself as well as other juniors to want to hit certain times in order to also commit next year,” she said.

The Boothby sisters—Ashlyn and Amber—are running up to standard in the distance races. Jessica Hill-Roddick and Greta Feague have been improving as the season progresses. 

Megan Wu is doing well in the 400 and a group of freshmen has been steadily improving in both the 100 and 200. 

“It’s not about being in the first place all the time,” Hoffman said. “It’s about steadily improving. A win is just to do your best and finish that race, learn from it and go on to the next one.”

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