Aptos High junior Brooke Willoughby took third in the SCCAL Cross Country Championships on Nov. 4, 2021 at Pinto Lake County Park in Watsonville. (Raul Ebio/The Pajaronian)

WATSONVILLE—A trio of runners for the Aptos High girls’ cross country team recorded an impressive top-5 finish in Thursday’s Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League Championships. 

Brooke Willoughby led the way with a third place finish in 18 minutes, 42 seconds at the 3-mile course at Pinto Lake County Park on Nov. 4.

The junior standout finished behind the Boothby sisters—Ashlyn and Amber—of Scotts Valley High who took first and second, respectively. 

“I’m glad I finished, I’m ok with placing third,” Willoughby said. “We all put in our best effort. I’m really proud of my teammates.” 

Her teammates, sophomore Rachel Hoops (19:04) and senior Annie Eikemeyer (19:42), rounded out the top five finishers to help the Mariners a second place finish with a team score of 35. 

Sophomore Malia Moreno (19:57;10th) and senior Mairin Mullen (20:10; 14th) also scored for the Mariners.

Scotts Valley sophomore Ashlyn Boothby repeated as individual champion, winning the race in 17 minutes. She set a personal best by knocking 31 seconds off her winning time as a freshman on March 25.

“That was really special. It was fun to get back out here on this course and get a PR from last year,” she said. “The team is so deep this year. I was really happy how everyone did. It’s just an awesome experience.”

Boothby said her strategy was to relax on the hills and take advantage of the downhills instead of using them as recovery, pushing herself the entire race.

“The whole time I was just thinking make it hurt,” she said. “If it burns it could always be burning more. I was just ‘Make it hurt, make it hurt.’”  

Boothby’s older sister, Amber, a junior who won the individual title two years ago as a freshman, finished second in 18:25. Willoughby said going into the race it was all about staying as close as possible to both Ashlyn and Amber.

“Racing them has been such a privilege, to have girls that are just so good that I’m able to watch and compare myself to them,” Willoughby said. “It’s all about watching myself with them. They’re just such good runners and they know what they’re doing.” 

The Falcons had five runners finish in the top 10 to help them capture a league title with a score of 24. Soquel (91) finished third, followed by San Lorenzo Valley (98) and Santa Cruz (101). 

The top three teams qualified for the Central Coast Section Championships, which will be held Nov. 13 at Crystal Springs Cross Country Course in Belmont.

Santa Cruz freshman Hadley Dobkin (19:56; ninth), SLV junior Colleen Murata (20:08; 13th) and Harbor sophomore Olivia Chen (19:57; 11th) qualified for CCS as individuals.

Willoughby said she’s happy to get a chance to extend her season at Crystal Springs and excited to compete against some of the best runners, even if it’s on a course she’s not too fond of.

“It’s literally hell, I hate it,” she said. “But if it means racing, that’s all I want; is to race and to have my teammates to do what I like to do, and do what I do well.”

Boys cross country

Aptos junior Trent Nosky took third in 15:35 at Thursday’s SCCAL Boys Championship, setting a personal record by finishing 14 seconds faster at Pinto Lake County Park’s 3-mile course in Watsonville.

“I felt pretty good with my training and workouts were going really good,” he said. “Overall I was feeling very good and definitely I felt happy with how I did today.” 

Scotts Valley senior Jeremy Kain (15:14) won his third straight individual league title. He joined a list of other three-time SCCAL champions including 2002 Aptos High alum Brett Gotcher (Stanford) and 2004 San Lorenzo Valley alum Alex Dunn (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo).

“It’s pretty surreal being in this position this year,” Kain said. “It’s pretty sentimental and I’m happy that I was able to win again.”

senior Ryder Brabo (15:30), who took second to help the Falcons finish with a winning score of 29 to capture their fourth straight team title.

Nosky’s initial strategy was to hang on to Kain and Brabo at the beginning of the race. But their mile-pace was sitting at around 4:50, which is something Nosky said he couldn’t keep up with as he ran around 5:03.

“I knew that Ryder [Brabo] was going to slow down, especially on the hills. So I just slowly caught up to him and I almost got him at the end.”    

Senior Austin George (16:20; sixth), and juniors Aiden Boothby (16:23; seventh) and Jonah Verinsky (16:51; 13th) also scored for the Scotts Valley.

Santa Cruz junior Jim Ratliff (15:53) and freshman teammate Eli Fitchen-Young (15:53) rounded out the top five and helped the Cardinals (50) place second. Aptos (86) was third in the six-team race.

Junior Chase Jacques-Maynes (16:38; ninth), sophomore Evan Niles (16:57; 14th), senior Avery Heebner (19:11; 29th) and sophomore Timothy Scott (19:32; 31st) rounded out scoring for the Mariners.

The top three teams qualified for the Central Coast Section Championships, which will be held Nov. 13 at Crystal Springs Cross Country Course in Belmont.

SLV senior Marco Evans (16:39; 10th), Soquel junior Brody Staley (16:45; 11th) and senior teammate Jack Spencer (16:47; 12th) qualified for CCS as individuals.

Nosky said he’s excited to get back to Crystal Springs after the CCS Championships were canceled during the abbreviated 2021 spring season. His goal is to finish in the top-9 and a chance to advance to the CIF State Championships in Fresno.

“I’m just going to go out there, go super hard and try to do my best because I want to advance to State really badly because I think that would be awesome and pretty fun,” Nosky said. 


SCCAL Girls’ Cross Country Championships


1. Ashlyn Boothby, Scotts Valley, So., 17:00; 

2. Amber Boothby, Scotts Valley, Jr., 18:25; 

3. Brooke Willoughby, Aptos, Jr., 18:42; 

4. Rachel Hoops, Aptos, So., 19:04; 

5. Annie Eikemeyer, Aptos, Sr., 19:42


1. Scotts Valley, 24; 

2. Aptos, 35; 

3. Soquel, 91; 

4. San Lorenzo Valley, 98; 

5. Santa Cruz, 101

SCCAL Boys’ Cross Country Championships


1. Jeremy Kain, Scotts Valley, Sr., 15:14; 

2. Ryder Brabo, Scotts Valley, Sr., 15:30; 

3. Trent Nosky, Aptos, Jr., 15:35; 

4. Jim Ratliff, Santa Cruz, Jr., 15:53; 

5. Eli Fitchen-Young, Santa Cruz, Fr., 15:53.


1. Scotts Valley, 29; 

2. Santa Cruz, 50; 

3. Aptos, 86; 

4. Soquel, 95; 

5. San Lorenzo Valley, 118; 

6. Harbor, 142.

Up Next

CCS Cross Country Championships

Where: Crystal Springs Cross Country Course, Belmont

When: Nov. 13 at 10am.

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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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