Scotts Valley High junior Ashlyn Boothby won the Division IV girls finals at this year's Central Coast Section Cross County Championships at Crystal Springs course in Belmont Nov. 12, 2022. (Raul Ebio – Press Banner)

Scotts Valley High junior Ashlyn Boothby isn’t the biggest fan of the Crystal Springs Cross Country Course in Belmont, especially because of the heat.

In fact, most of the runners would probably agree with the defending section champion.  

However, the cool weather conditions were nearly perfect for the Falcons’ ace runner who won the Division IV race in 18 minutes, 10.5 seconds at this year’s Central Coast Section Cross Country Championships on Nov. 12.

“I was hoping that it would rain during our race because I love racing in the rain,” she said.

It didn’t rain on Saturday but a storm that came roaring through a couple of days prior to the race helped settle the dust on the course—another dislike from the athletes.   

Scotts Valley senior Amber Boothby, a UC San Diego commit, took second in 18:29.0, followed by freshman Ava Decleve (19:10.1) in fifth and senior Rafaela Putnam (19:55.9) took eighth to help the Falcons also capture a second straight section title with a score of 35.

With the win, they will return to the CIF State Cross Country Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno on Nov. 26.

“Our team has put in a lot of work this season and it’s really exciting to see how it’s paying off,” Ashlyn Boothby said. “We’re super excited for state, it’s awesome.”

Putnam showed off the new hardware to the crowd during the awards ceremony, hoisting the trophy and giving it a kiss before handing it off to her fellow teammates.    

“The team’s been working hard this season and it finally came together today,” she said. “We had the goal of coming into it last year that we wanted to repeat for CCS. We put in the work and it’s finally showing.” 

The Falcons finished ahead of Carmel (83) and Half Moon Bay (107), which were the top-3 teams in D-IV to advance to the CIF State finals.

Other top finishers for the Falcons included junior Diana Alivov (20:43.2; 22nd), sophomore Violet McCutchen (21:19.0; 33rd) and freshman Jenni Brownfield (21:23.1; 35th). 

Boothby was nearly five seconds faster compared to last year’s D-IV title run where she finished in 18:15.3. 

She has continuously trained after returning from a cold that held her back during the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League Championships. 

Boothby said she was satisfied with last week’s finish but her eyes are more focused on next week’s CIF State championships.

“Today was good enough for I guess what I wanted to do,” she said. “I think I could’ve done better but I always say that. It was good.”

San Lorenzo Valley senior Collen Murata (19:12.3) took sixth and kissed her prized medal after qualifying for her first trip to next week’s CIF State Championship.

“Even though I made it as an individual, this is still a culmination of the entire team,” she said. “Everything we did this season we did it together.”

The Cougars tied with Sacred Heart Prep with a score of 111, but the Gators earned the tie-breaker to place fourth ahead of SLV. Both teams missed the cut to qualify as a team. 

“We were definitely hoping to do it as a team but we didn’t quite make it,” Murata said. “We put up a really good race, all of us.”

Murata’s fellow senior teammate Kaitlin Seigle (20:23.3) took 16th and nearly missed the cut, finishing two spots below the top five highest placed individuals in the top-14. 

SLV senior Haven Finley (21:11.5) took 29th, followed by sophomore Naomi Seastrom (21:49.4; 42nd), sophomore Ruby Evans (22:27.4; 61st), senior Madeline Davis (23:31.2; 79th) and sophomore Orea Pollock (24:47.8; 86th).

Murata mentioned how difficult the course is for her and everyone else in the race. 

“The last mile, there’s a lot of turns and after every turn there’s another hill,” she said. “Just the mindset of being able to tough it out and get through that, and keep going, really puts you to the test.”

Murata will make the trip with both the Falcons girls’ team—which is making its eighth appearance at the CIF State Championships—and boys’ team. 

Scotts Valley swept the D-IV championships for a second straight year, which Putnam said is an attribution to a tightly knit program.

“It comes from our team bonding and training together,” she said. “We push each other every single day and we work together, which pulls us together and makes the team what it is. It’s not an individual sport, it’s a family.” 

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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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