Coed Varsity Cross Country · PALs at the Promised Land

Capuchino Mustangs cross the finish line to end a strong regular season

By Lauren Valles

November 6th, 2016

“And that’s where we’ll be at the end of the season: the Promised Land” Coach Mike Trimble told about 30 rag tag Cross Country hopefuls 11 weeks ago at the first practice of the season.

Their paths were unpaved, but the Mustangs (though not yet a team) knew that the season would yield exceptional results and runs. Some were returners, which included the 7 returning Seniors looking to make their mark on the dusty trails of Capuchino Cross Country. Others, like Jaeda Gantulga, were fresh tryouts looking for the challenge that comes with running mile upon mile everyday and training your mind to keep going even after you’re running on fumes because, according to Trimble, “that’s when it counts.”

Regardless of their status, this year’s Capuchino Cross Country team put in the miles, endured the races, kicked up dust when it came to speed training, and kept their steps short and sweet when it came to the infamous hill repeats. Combined, these practices prepared the team for their last meet of the regular season: PAL Championships at the Promised Land- Crystal Springs Cross Country Course- this past Saturday.

As the day began, the Mustangs arrived at Capuchino with a spectrum of emotions- nervousness, excitement, and the sadness of ending a season for the books. All of them, however, shared the intensity and focus of making sure their season finished on the best possible note. For some, the best note would be attaining a personal record. For the Boys and Girls Varsity teams, qualifying for CCS was the goal in mind. The hopes of the entire season were on the line.

Sophomore Julianna Ceron described her feelings while waiting for the bus to the Promised Land, “This is it.  You either try your hardest now or you regret it. All of your team is counting on you to be here and do your best. You always wanna put your team first, and you wanna do your best,” she said with her signature smile and look of determination.

Senior John Pagobo confidently stated his goals for the day: “What I envision today is finishing hard. I’m gonna try, just try, my best.” He followed with running his fingers through his iconic hairdo much loved by his fellow teammates throughout the season.

The Mustangs stepped foot onto Crystal Springs at approximately 11:30 last Saturday, and with each footstep their weathered running shoes planted firmly into the surprisingly green grass of the course usually known as the desert of the Bay Area.

Races began at 12:00 and went on until mid afternoon. With every Capuchino Mustang that crossed the finish line, a goal was accomplished and a season came to a close.

Sophomore Josh Hafter, though finishing his race earlier in the day, didn’t hesitate to lend a pep talk filled with wisdom beyond his years to teammate Lauren Valles, a member of the Girls Varsity team looking to qualify for CCS: “You’ve worked 11 weeks for this. You’re exhausted, but this is what you do. You try your hardest and you know, and I know, that you’re gonna do that today.”

All Mustangs tried their hardest this past Saturday. Personal Records were set across the board.  And as for the Varsity teams, Boys Varsity earned their golden ticket back to CCS for the second year in a row. Girls Varsity individual runners Julianna Ceron and Jaeda Gantulga qualified to toe the line alongside the boys for a total of 9 Capuchino runners competing at the Central Coast Championship this Saturday back again at the Promised Land.

Proud of two of their own venturing on to CCS but living with the empty palms that come with reaching out for team qualification and coming up short, the remainder of the Girls Varsity team have vowed to make it to CCS as a team come next fall.

With all of the achievements above, last Saturday’s meet will go down in history as an end to one of the best seasons Capuchino Cross Country has ever had.

Boarding the bus along with Ceron and Pagobo that morning, Coach John Ellcessor was also asked how he felt about the day’s coming race: “I’m excitedly nervous. I’m ready to see this season come to fruition. If everyone does what they’re expected to do, we have the potential to do something pretty magical today.”

Magical it was.