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November 25, 2022

Aptos’ Trent Nosky sprints to victory at SCCAL finals | High school cross country

Mariners boys' and girls' teams qualify for CCS finals

WATSONVILLE—Aptos High senior Trent Nosky continuously looked over his shoulder as he made his way toward the finish line in last week’s league finals.

It wasn’t a sprint to the finish but he was still cautious enough to know that anything can happen at the end of a cross country race.  

“I think I could’ve run a better time but I decided to just sit right on Eli [Fitchen-Young],” Nosky said. “Just have a good finish, winning was all that mattered.”

Nosky won the 3-mile race in 14 minutes, 55 seconds at the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League Championship at Pinto Lake County Park on Nov. 3.

He edged Santa Cruz sophomore Eli Fitchen-Young (15:01) and Scotts Valley senior Aiden Boothby (15:06).

“When I started to surge past [Fitchen-Young] at the end, like the last 200 meters, I know he has speed there, too, so I just wanted to make sure that I had him there,” Nosky said.

Aptos placed third as a team with a score of 67 and qualified for the Central Coast Section Division III finals.

The CCS Cross Country Championships will take place at Crystal Springs Course in Belmont on Saturday starting at 10am.

Aptos senior Chase Jacques-Maynes took 12th in 16:34, followed by junior Evan Niles (17:01; 14th), sophomore Colin Dagnall (17:27; 16th), sophomore Vincent Carroll (18:12; 24th) and junior Timothy Scott (18:21; 26th).  

Scotts Valley (28) won its fifth straight SCCAL team championship, followed by Aptos, Santa Cruz (40), Soquel (115), San Lorenzo Valley (138) and Harbor (149). 

Harbor freshman Grady McKee (17:24) along with Soquel sophomore Tomas Church (17:31) and freshman Levi Laresn (17:35) were the top three finishers not on a qualifying team, which earned them a trip to the CCS D-IV finals.

During the race, Nosky said they finished the first mile in a little over five minutes, which is slower than he expected. 

He managed to stick with the front of the pack and noticed that Fitchen-Young never surged at all on the hills.

His patience paid off in the end and Nosky sprinted the final 200 meters to victory.

“Maybe he wasn’t feeling it that day but I didn’t want to take anything for granted,” Nosky said.

Nosky also credited his training leading up to the league finals. 

In the past, he made mistakes such as overtraining that affected the way he performed on race day.

“Earlier races don’t matter as much,” he said. “You’re training through them a little bit more, but this year I made sure to be a little more fresh.”

Nosky will be ready to go again come Saturday afternoon, yet, his eyes are also focused on the CIF State Championships where his goal is to medal.

“It’s going to be tough but it’s definitely possible,” Nosky said.

The top two teams in the CCS D-III field automatically qualify for the CIF State Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno on Nov. 26.

Qualifying teams plus the top five highest placed individuals who must finish in the top 12 will qualify to the state meet finals.

Aptos High senior Brooke Willoughby placed sixth at the SCCAL Girls Cross Country Championship at Pinto Lake Park in Watsonville on Nov. 3. (Juan Reyes/The Pajaronian)

On the girls side, senior Brooke Willoughby (19:15) took sixth in the 3-mile race to help the Mariners place fourth as a team with a score of 87.

Willoughby said last week’s league finals was not her strongest race and she was disappointed with the end result. 

She’ll try to redeem herself at the CCS D-III finals, adding that she’ll be going into the race with a bit of a chip on her shoulder. 

“I’m proud of how I pushed but I can’t say I’m proud of my result,” she said. “I still believe in myself, I know I can do a lot better.” 

Ashlyn and Amber Boothby along with Ava Decleve sprinted in for a 1-2-3 finish for Scotts Valley (26), which won back-to-back league titles.

The Falcons finished ahead of San Lorenzo Valley (57), Santa Cruz (74), Aptos and Soquel (118).

Aptos junior Malia Moreno (20:30) took 11th, followed by sophomore Sophie Cornish (21:11; 19th), freshman Maya Shiro (21:36; 25th), freshman Izzie Schenone (22:21; 27th), junior Ceci Garcia (22:32; 28th) and sophomore Mia Parello (22:56; 30th). 

The Mariners are the lone team within the SCCAL to qualify for the D-III field, while the Falcons, Cougars and Cardinals all qualified for D-IV. 

Soquel High senior Julia Snelling (19:03) and fellow junior teammate Suki Kasmi (21:20) along with Harbor sophomore Rebecca Vacca (22:10) finished as the top 3 individuals not on a qualifying team, which earned them a trip to the CCS D-IV finals.

Willoughby was dealing with an injury going into the league championship, yet, she battled through the pain. She had some trouble on the bigger hills, which is something that she’s been struggling with this season.

Willoughby said she learned a lot from last week’s race and it’s nothing she can’t fix with a little training.

“I’m going to work with my coach a little bit more,” she said. “I have a lot more potential, I haven’t hit my peak yet. There’s more I can give.”

Juan Reyes
A Watsonville native who has a passion for local sports and loves his community. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College, San Jose State University and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumnus, he primarily covers high school athletics, Cabrillo College athletics, various youth sports in the Pajaro Valley and the Santa Cruz Warriors. Juan is also a video game enthusiast, part-time chef (at home), explorer and a sports junkie. Coaches and athletic directors are encouraged to report scores HERE.

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