“I am extremely proud of our boy’s cross country at the state meet finals, November 26th to finish ninth in California is a tremendous accomplishment, I hope the boys are proud of that for the rest of their lives,” said coach Mike Smith.
Preseason, Cam High was ranked as a team poised to finish top five in the state. Early on in the season, injuries to key runners, Lucero and Vega, created uncertainty of reaching the high expectations of the team. Lucero had shin splints on his left leg and a stress reaction on his left leg.
The stress reaction in his left leg, if not taken care of, could have lead to a stress fracture side lining him for the rest of the season. Vega had a fractured ankle keeping him from racing for the team. The team began to struggle but was able to keep on pace to qualify for CIF. “I am extremely proud of this group because they overcame a lot of injuries to key athletes,” Smith said.
Although the team was able to win enough races to qualify, losing to Rio Mesa was devastating for the team. Rio Mesa’s cross-country team was one of their best in their history and Cam High was able to come in reach of victory but missed it by a few points. “Losing to Rio Mesa, we didn’t lose by a lot, they had one of the best team’s in their history, and we almost beat them without Adam or Steven,” Gonzalez said.
“The team had a really bad start, Joel Gonzalez stepped up to keep the team up until me and Adam were able to run again,” Vega said.
Cam High was able to overcome their struggles with injuries throughout the year. When Lucero and Vega were able to return, they made an instant impact on the team. They raised the intensity level and brought the team’s morale back up. “Our second league meet, was the first race me and Steven Vega ran in, we needed the win to still have a chance to win league,” Lucero said.
With the return of the team’s key runners, they were able to win necessary races to qualify for the State Finals. They were out of their element because the Mt. Sac course where they raced was warm and they are all used to running in colder temperatures. The team’s top runners were able to pull through and get Cam High ranked ninth out of 26 teams. Gonzalez finished the race in 14:50 minutes, Lucero in 15:06, and Vega in 15:35.