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Mariners’ veterans aim for league title | Boys cross country

Aptos led by Trent Nosky, Chase Jacques-Maynes

Aptos High junior Trent Nosky competed in the Division III race at the 34th CIF State Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno on Nov. 27, 2021. (Raul Ebio/Special to the Pajaronian)

APTOS—Aptos High senior Trent Nosky spent time over the summer logging in dozens of miles in hopes to improve on his endurance. 

It’s something that he’s seen as a weakness in the past.

“I have a lot of speed but I don’t have as much strength for longer distance efforts, so I think I’ve definitely built on that,” he said. “Now just transitioning into the racing season, we’re starting to up the intensity of the workouts and it’s going great so far.”

Nosky and the Mariners’ boys’ cross country team return this season to compete in what’s expected to be a driven Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League.

Practicing alongside some college level marathon runners over the summer was good training for Nosky, who hopes to help Aptos capture a league title and maybe even push for a medal at the CIF State Championships.

According to the Athletic.net website, Nosky was ranked No. 3 in the SCCAL in 2021. 

He placed third in 15 minutes, 35 seconds at the SCCAL Championships just behind Scotts Valley’s Ryder Brabo (15:30) and Jeremy Kain (15:14)—the league’s reigning three-time champion.

The Mariners placed third as a team behind Santa Cruz and the league’s defending champion Falcons.

Nosky placed sixth in 16:43.9 at the Central Coast Section Division III finals behind Santa Cruz’s Jim Ratliff (16:38.6) and Eli Fitchen-Young (16:23.3), who helped the Cardinals capture the D-III team title.

Aptos coach Dan Gruber said that Nosky—who is currently running a 4:14 mile pace—will comfortably take the position of the second fastest or fastest boy in the league. 

“He’s very tough, he’s comfortably fit. Not in peak shape but he’s taken running cross country seriously,” Gruber said.

Another top performing returner is senior and team captain Chase Jacques-Maynes. He said he appreciates the size of the team growing this season and thinks the higher turnout can only help in competition.

“It just helps the team culture to have a bigger team. There’s a lot of personality and a lot of good vibe,” Jacques-Maynes said.

Gruber said he sees Jacques-Maynes being one of the top-10 fastest boys in the league, especially considering all the hard work he has already put in this season. 

With top scorers Nosky, Jacques-Maynes and junior Evan Niles returning, an improvement on last season’s third place finish seems within reach. 

“We didn’t lose any significant seniors last year so we’re definitely going to be better,” Nosky said.

There’s also a flood of new freshmen to bolster the squad of returning veteran runners.

As the first league meet of the season grows near, the main question is who will be able to fill in the considerable gap between the fastest three and the rest of the pack?

Gruber said he sees a lot of potential out of the new pool of enthusiastic freshmen. He also knows it’ll be difficult for them to compete at the varsity level against upperclassmen.

“I’ve got some kids I’d like to put in there but they’ve got to earn that spot,” Gruber said. “I don’t know who’s gonna step up.”

Nosky said he expects one of the sophomore or freshmen to break into the No. 5 position. 

“We’re definitely still in a rebuilding phase for the entire team, but we’ll have a good squad going into the future season,” he said.

Aptos will get a feel for the type of tough competition it can expect within the SCCAL when it competes against Scotts Valley in the teams’ league meet opener Thursday.

Jacques-Maynes said it can feel a bit intimidating going up against the tougher teams in the league such as Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley. 

“I feel like they just have some effortless talent and they’re just really good in that way,”Jacques-Maynes said.

Nosky said he looks forward to racing the best in the league, adding that the friendly competition created from these types of meets is one of his favorite aspects of the sport.

The Mariners’ captain is still looking forward to seeing how they fare against a Scotts Valley team that lost some important runners including Kain and Brabo. 

“We’ll get to see if we can match them, and how well they perform with a new team dynamic,” Nosky said.

Aptos will compete at Scotts Valley on Thursday, followed by the Jackie Henderson Invite at North Monterey County High on Sept. 17.

“Win or lose, it gives us a litmus test of what we got,” Gruber said.