“Everything’s bigger in Texas”...words to live by. The top 12 varsity Wildcats (plus 12 Ladycats) burst the Brea bubble last month and flew on a PLANE right into the Lone Star State, home of BBQ and the Morlan family. Our team arrived at the park before the sun that Saturday morning; as Luke Stratton so poetically said, “It felt like Woodbridge”. The rodeo began with the Varsity Elite race, in which the top 7 placed 13th out of 35 teams. Senior Shane Gaffikin got ‘er done with a top 50 place finish out of the field of 250+ cracking cowboys. Jonathan Manara, sneaking some of his red sauce past TSA, powered through the heat to an impressive 17:09 on the 5k course (some sources debate the accuracy of the course length, claiming that even the courses are bigger in Texas). “The Good the Bad and the Ugly” theme could faintly be heard in the background as the showdown between Manny DeBarros and Luke Stratton resulted in a 3 second gap between the two. Manny showed in this race that it wasn’t his first rodeo and he’s ready to roll with the big boys, and we’re excited to see what he will be capable of come November. Rounding out the score was Ryan Daedler, channeling his inner Clint Eastwood to stick with the thunderous Matthew Apahidean, eventually passing him at the final stretch due to some preventative measures taken by Matt that helped preserve the cleanliness of his uniform (think explosive chunks). Not 7 seconds behind the duo was the lone ranger Jordan Ostby. Jordo has made significant gains in his training this season and has stapled his place on the varsity team. With the combination of less-than-favorable weather, and minor injuries that have been plaguing our team, the varsity squad did not perform at the predicted level of competition that we’d hoped. However, I reckon that by the time League comes ‘round, our rowdy runners will be ready to roll, and reach that raised platform at the State meet, come hell or high water.
The top 12 runners went to Texas and overall the trip went very well and the team had lots of fun bonding and sightseeing. But the more important event of the trip was the Southlake Race. The 5 JV runners made an excellent performance. Jack Livingston was up in front only to have his injury flare up again but still coming in third for the team. Drew Beigler stayed constant and performed well for his first JV race. Shane Park although hurting pushed through the pain and was able to bring in the final points for the team. Andrew Velasco came out of nowhere and amazingly filled in for Jack and had an awesome race. Aakash had a great race and was constant considering the heat. An overall great race for the boys and is definitely a good start to the season.