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BVH cross country goes head to head with Eastlake

Kendall Johnson

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January 31, 2023

BVH boys’ cross country starts their race on Oct. 14 at Rohr Park with a great lead. The team is ready after practicing for hours, and are determined.

On Oct. 14, Bonita Vista High (BVH) boys’ and girls’ varsity Cross Country competed in a dual meet against Eastlake High School (EHS). The meet was held at Rohr Park, where multiple schools competed, such as Mater Dei Catholic, Chula Vista, Sweetwater and Hilltop. However, BVH was only competing against EHS. The boys ran a 5,000 meter race (approximately 3.1 miles) and the girls ran a 2.5 mile race.

Before the race, sophomore Sebastian Aranda and junior Jose Godinez spoke about how they and their team had been preparing themselves. With this year being both Aranda and Godinez’s second year on Cross Country, they were unable to experience the luxury of practicing on a new turf and track. Aranda specifically mentions how much of a help the new track at BVH has been for preparation this year. 

“Ever since the new track at Bonita got constructed, we started doing some workout[s] there,” Aranda said. “That allows us to get in the proper condition, so that whenever we’re racing somewhere out [at Rohr Park] we’re already ready for it.” 

The teams began to practice for about an hour or so before the race. Aranda and Godinez seem to prepare themselves for races in different ways. For example, Aranda focuses more on visualization. 

“I visualize, which is what a lot of people do,” Aranda said. “We usually visualize our races and think about what we want to do beforehand: how we want to perform in the race, how we want to come out on the first mile, when we want to pass someone, what to do when there’s someone in front of you and behind you.”

Both of them strive to avoid stress before a race. Godinez, however, focuses more on taking care of his mind and body. 

“I get the right mindset throughout the whole day, [I] don’t really let anything bring [me] down. [I] drink lots of water [and] try to watch what I eat,” Godinez said. 

Both the boys have had a consistent and strong season. For 5,000 meter races, Aranda’s current personal record (PR) is 17:16.6 (17 minutes and 16.6 seconds) and Godinez’ is 17:20.3 (17 minutes and 20.3 seconds). They both often place high in varsity races and acknowledge that it’s constantly neck and neck between them. 

“It’s between me and Sebastian Eranda, we’re head to head,” Godinez said. “It’s either he’s three seconds behind me [or] I’m five seconds behind him. It’s an ever changing thing.”

Based from previous races, BVH was initially worried about EHS, but with the consistent practicing of their team, Godinez and Aranda felt strongly about the race. The rival school has had a similarly good season, so parents and spectators anticipated a good match. 

For the girls, it was the same. EHS’s girls’ Cross Country team has had an exceptional season and the BVH girls’ runners were both excited and nervous. For senior and captain Rei Fulinara, she emphasizes how important the team aspect of cross country is and how working together is how they avoid pre-race nerves. 

“We always try to pack run because that’s the best way to beat any team in cross country. We always try to stretch together [and] do workouts together,” Fulinara said. 

Before stretches and warm-ups, head coach Daniel Kettlehake has the teams walk Rohr Park’s course to get familiar with it prior to the race. A few minutes before the race, players line up at the starting line with their respective teams, some stretching in preparation and others doing group huddles or cheers. As soon as the runners were off, BVH and EHS were in sync. Throughout the race BVH and EHS boys’ runners were seen consistently very close, the lead shifting back and forth. 

“Coming into the first mile, my legs weren’t as sore as they were last [race] and I was able to push through. Sadly I got caught by one of the Eastlake boys, with about a ten second gap, but I still pushed through,” Aranda said. 

Aranda came in second, only a few seconds after EHS runner Trevor Santiago. Godinez followed up Aranda and was then proceeded by another EHS runner. The scoring for the race was going to be a close one. 

Similarly to golf, cross country wins are based on the lowest score. The official team scores for the boys were posted the following day after the race. The results were as follows; 27 for EHS and 28 for BVH, giving EHS the win by a single point. Despite this loss, Aranda praises his team for being able to compete the way they do considering how young of a team they are. 

“We’re definitely a younger team, built of almost entirely sophomores. However, I don’t think that’s really stopping us from being able to point really high, or at least close enough to some of the senior filled schools,” Aranda said. “Eastlake, for example, the guy who caught up to me was a senior himself. I feel like despite being a younger team, we’re still able to push and compete with some of the higher teams, and I’m really proud of that.” 

Though the girls suffered a harder loss than the boys, the results being EHS winning with 18 and BVH losing with 40, they were not deterred. They felt that they performed strongly considering the competition. Both Fulinara and sophomore Olympia Jara mentioned how the team stuck together and many made PR’s.  

“Today, I think we did really well. Eastlake has a really dominant team. [They’re] one of the hardest teams to beat. So for us to have been pretty close to beating them, I think [that] was really good,” Jara said. 

Both the girls and boys teams felt similarly proud after the meet. Godinez mentions how these dual meets are often referred to by their coach as training days, so they can really prepare for invitationals. The team seems to get better each meet, breaking PR’s and having close matches with teams like EHS. 

“I feel like this was a really good training day. Overall, we did great out there, and like everyone else says in every other sport: there’s always a better day, you can always get better,” Godinez said.