Coed Varsity Cross Country · Another C at CCS

Capuchino takes the Central Coast Section at Crystal Springs Cross Country Course

November 14, 2016

By Lauren Valles


That was the word Girls Varsity runner Sophomore Jaeda Gantulga used to describe her run at this year’s Central Coast Championship at Crystal Springs Cross Country Course in Belmont last Saturday.

“It was really competitive. Everyone had earned their place to compete and their right to race.”

The Mustangs, without a doubt, earned their place. In addition to Jaeda, the entire Boys Varsity team laced up their running shoes for the rolling hills of Crystal Springs for their 4th and final time around the course for the 2016 season. Capuchino’s runners had encountered the course so many times that its cracked dirt starting line and spectacular view or the reservoir washed over the Mustangs like an old friend.

CCS is not your typical PAL Meet. The Central Coast Section includes not just our local PAL, but 8 other leagues stretching from San Francisco to King City. This includes a total of over 150 schools- some as close as Mills, and some as far as Pacific Grove High- which also earned a spot at the meet this past Saturday.

The pinnacle of what will go down in history as one of the best seasons Capuchino Cross Country has ever seen, CCS was a day of hard racing and reflection on the past 11 weeks that got the Mustangs to this point. For Seniors Michael Morgan-Ellcessor, Declan Sanchez, and Nesther Fernandez, a CCS spot is the icing on the cake of their long careers in Cross Country. This year’s meet was their second time racing in the green and gold postseason, and it’s a qualification they’ll never forget. Years from now, early on a Saturday morning, they’ll drive up to Crystal Springs just as the sun is rising. They’ll toe the starting line, and they’ll hear the gun that began their last Cross Country meet as high school students, more importantly- as Mustangs.

But for the remainder of the Boys Varsity team- Joey Manahan, Nick Manzano. Akshay Khalasi, and Isaias Castillo, CCS is the first taste of a honor they hope to achieve once again next year. Once you get that taste, that’s all it takes for you to become addicted to the glory and hardwork that comes with qualifying for the playoffs of Cross Country. Making it to CCS for the Mustangs is like making it to the NLDS for the Giants, and you can bet that the four boys and the new 3 additions to the Boys Varsity team will be hungry for qualification come next fall.

Coaches John Elcessor and Mike Trimble are hungry as well, and have been for quite sometime. After such a successful season, they’re ready to do all that they can to make sure this trend of CCS visits continues, and even grows exponentially with regard to the number of Varsity runners that qualify. Their next goal in mind? Qualify with both Boys and Girls Varsity teams for the 2017 season for a total of 14 Capuchino Mustangs racing at the Promised Land.

With that in mind, this year’s back to back visit for the Boys Varsity Team and individual Girls Varsity racer Jaeda Gantulga mark the start of what Capuchino Cross Country hopes to be a long tradition of postseason qualification.

When asked to describe this year’s Cross Country season with one word, Gantulga smiled. A fiery mixture of happiness with the season she’s accomplished and an excitement for the seasons to come, Gantulga said confidently, “Beginning. It’s only the beginning.”