Kylee Yturralde was a nervous wreck before girls’ cross country meets last fall.
A freshman at the time for Camarillo High, Yturralde’s heart pounded like the drums in the “Jumanji” theme song when she stepped up to the starting line.
Her mind raced faster than her legs when the gun went off as she panicked trying to figure out the course route.
“I have the worst sense of direction possible,” Yturralde said. “I worried I would get lost. I just followed the pack.”
Yturralde quickly transformed from a jittery runner to blazingfast competitor. She enjoyed a memorable freshman cross country season, winning the Pacific View League individual title and advancing to the CIF-Southern Section preliminaries.
A confident Yturralde hopes to match or exceed last year’s accomplishments.
“I know where I’m going now,” Yturralde said. “That helps a lot. I know what to expect. Overall, I’m doing a lot better this season. I still get nervous, but not as much.”
Yturralde opened the season with a personal-best time of 17 minutes, 42 seconds at the Seaside Invitational earlier this month in Ventura. She placed fifth in the sophomore race.
Winning a league title and mak- ing it back to the section race won’t be an easy task for the Scorpion. Camarillo left the Pacific View to join the Coastal Canyon League, which features powerhouse Simi Valley and perennial winners Oak Park, Moorpark, and Royal.
“Kylee is a competitor,” Camarillo head coach Mary Perez said. “She doesn’t hide from competition. Kylee knows she can keep up with Simi Valley’s top girls and stay with the top pack. She’s probably excited for the challenge.”
Yturralde’s older sister, Ally, took the youngster under her wing last fall. Ally Yturralde was a senior runner for Camarillo in 2013, and she’s a freshman at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
“It’s been weird not having my sister around this year,” Kylee Yturralde said. “I’m very thankful she was with me last year. She taught me everything. She introduced me to the coaches and the girls on the team.”
Yturralde, who started running in the third grade for the Camarillo Cosmos, plays soccer at school and with the Conejo Valley United club.
She won Pacific View championships in the 1,600-meters and 3,200 distance races in track and field during the spring.
“Kylee does it all for us,” junior Lauren Powers said. “She’s an amazing runner. We were glad to have her last year. She came in as a freshman and competed with the best.”
Yturralde and Powers competed in the Disneyland Half Marathon this summer. The two Scorpions finished in the topthree of their age group.
“It was amazing to run through the (theme) park,” Yturralde said of competing in her first half marathon. “We then ran through Angel Stadium. I would recommend that race to anyone.”
The daughter of Joe and Karen, Yturralde is an honors student involved with California Scholarship
Federation and National Honor Society. She helps children with special needs play soccer. Her father, Joe, is a firefighter in Hueneme.
“I’m excited to see how we’ll do in league this season,” Yturralde said. “I love facing the best runners.”
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The Camarillo High girls’ and boys’ cross country teams dominated the Pacific View League for many seasons.
That won’t be the case in the rugged Coastal Canyon League. The Scorpions will face Simi Valley, Moorpark, Oak Park and Royal in league meets.
Camarillo captured 24 Pacific View crowns, 14 for the boys and 10 for the girls, from 1998 to 2013.
“This is what we’ve been waiting for,” girls’ head coach Mary Perez said. “We loved the Pacific View but wanted more competition. Most of the runners on the team expected to go to CIF every year. Nothing will be handed to us this year.”
The Coastal Canyon schedule will feature three league meets with every team, including the finale at Camarillo’s home course, Mission Oaks Park, on Nov. 6.
Head coach Sam Pinuelas leads an up-and-coming boys’ team. Juniors Fisher Price and Allan Nichols lead the charge for the Scorpion boys.
Elliott Johnston, Spencer Gravel, Henry Mills, Ricardo Cortes and Michael Mayper contribute for Camarillo.
“We’re all close to each other in times,” said Mayper, a captain. “We all push each other to get better. I know this team can do well in the new league. We’re ready to surprise people.”
Sophomore Kylee Yturralde leads the girls’ squad. Marissa Gonzales and Lauren Powers are in a battle for the No. 2 spot.
Chrissy Robins, Melissa Bell, Haley Nagel and Hannah Kurowski round out the girls’ starting lineup.