BELMONT—Aptos High senior Trent Nosky has been on a mission since the boys’ cross country season took off nearly three months ago.
The Mariners’ top runner—who was fresh coming off a Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League title—was at it again after a strong performance at last week’s Central Coast Section Championships.
In a sprint to the finish, Nosky won the Division III race in 15 minutes, 23.2 seconds just slightly ahead of Pioneer sophomore Carson Hedlund (15:23.5) on the 2.95-mile course at Crystal Springs.
“It doesn’t matter how much I win by, as long as I’m first,” Nosky said. “I’m able to out sprint them at the end, it’s all that matters and it definitely plays to my strength.”
Nosky was the lone Mariner to qualify for the CIF State Cross Country Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno set for Nov. 26.
Nosky said he went into this season’s section finals a lot more prepared and had a good mindset compared to last year’s championships, where he placed sixth in 16:43.9.
“If you told me my freshman year that I’d win this race I would tell you you’re lying…I’m super happy about it, great accomplishment,” Nosky said.
By the time the race started, the wind had picked up ferociously and the runners started out slow like he anticipated.
Nosky said he used the fierce wind in his favor, especially because none of the opposing runners wanted to lead the pack during the first mile.
“For me, I can take that as an advantage,” he said.
Nosky and the rest of the leading pack including Hedlund and Dalziel began to surge with about 800 meters to go in the race.
Nosky managed to take the lead in the final 150 meters and used his reserved breakaway speed to edge Hedlund at the finish line.
Nosky and Hedlund both finished in the top five highest placed individuals in the top-12, which earned a State berth.
Other individual qualifiers include Gilroy sophomore Joshua Guzman (15:39.0; fourth), Pioneer senior Jeffrey Hedlund (15:50.7; sixth) and Sacred Heart Cathedral’s Miles Cook (15:53.2; seventh) and Luke Moore (16:03.7; 12th).
Westmont won the team title with a score of 49, followed by St. Ignatius (67) and Sacred Heart Cathedral (88), but only the top-2 teams in D-III advanced to the CIF State Championships.
Aptos sophomore Colin Dagnall (17:54.1) took 63rd and senior Chase Jacques-Maynes (18:21.9) placed 77th for the Mariners, who placed 11th as a team with a score of 289.
The win also gives Nosky a boost of confidence heading into the CIF State Championships. His goal is to finish the race under 15:30 and place in the top-10, which would add another great accomplishment to his resume.
“I’m just going to be strong, try to have a strong finish at the end and see what happens,” he said. “I’ve got not too much to lose there.”
Watsonville sophomore Rodrigo Barranco (17:23.3) took 32nd in the D-I championship.
Mountain View senior Evan Markelz won the race in 15:09.3, followed by Milpitas seniors Alex Althouse (15:50.3) and Sahil Raj (15:56.7) who placed second and third, respectively.
Milpitas won the team title with a score of 61, edging out both Bellarmine (63) and Menlo (67).
Watsonville sophomore Eli Romero (18:37.8) took 66th and junior Giancarlo Mendo (18:46.2) took 68th for the Wildcatz, who finished 11th as a team with a score of 301.
North Monterey County High senior Irineo Navarro (17:09.8) took 25th in the D-IV race.
Santa Cruz sophomore Eli Fitchen-Young won the race in 15:24.3, followed by Scotts Valley seniors Aiden Boothby (15:52.5) and Jack Brownfield (15:57.7) in second and third, respectively.
Scotts Valley repeated as section champion with a team score of 59, beating out Carmel (75) and Archbishop Riordan (109). All three teams qualified for next week’s CIF State finals.
NMC junior Alvaro Ruelas (17:16.6) finished 28th and senior Miguel Alvarado (17:21.0) took 29th for the Condors, who finished fifth as a team with a score of 150.
Monte Vista Christian senior James Ponzio (15:53.6) took sixth in the D-V field, which earned him a berth to next week’s CIF State finals in Fresno.
“I knew I was going to qualify for State, so I came knowing I had nothing to lose and everything to gain,” he said. “I just went in with that mentality and ran as hard as I could.”
Menlo senior Justin Pretre won the race in 14:58.2, finishing ahead of Crystal Springs Uplands sophomore Benjamin Bouie (15:23.7) and Menlo sophomore Landon Pretre (15:31.0).
Crystal Springs won the team title with a score of 32, followed by Menlo (37) and Nueva (94), which were the top-3 teams to qualify for State finals.
The game plan was simple for Ponzio.
“Don’t let the Pretres get too far ahead of me because you know how they haul that first mile,” he said. “I didn’t want the race lost in the first mile.”
MVC freshmen Gavin Beckman (17:39.9) took 24th and Conor Gilliam (17:47.7) placed 27th for the Mustangs, who placed fourth as a team with a score of 107.
St. Francis senior Santiago Ramirez (17:48.2) took 28th and Ceiba College Prep sophomore Anthony Toriz (19:35.3) placed 66th.
Ponzio was proud of the way the Mustangs performed as a group and every runner competed hard like they’ve been doing all season long.
“I’m happy I’m going to State, really happy with how the team did,” he said. “They showed up, they always do. Gotta love those guys.”
Ponzio said he’ll go into next week’s CIF State finals with the same mentality and not settle for just a top-10, or top-3, finish because it’ll inhibit his performance.
“I’m just gonna go for the win like here today,” he said. “I”m just gonna go and run my ass off on that nice flat 5k course. Not only just get a huge [personal record] but also have a lot of fun there.”