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Boys cross country hard work gets them to State

Without a doubt, San Luis High School strives to train their athletes towards their peak potential. Through the years, many instances of virtue and dedication have brought SLHS athletes success.

On Nov. 4, 2017 at Cave Creek Golf Course in Phoenix, SLHS cross country will take part in the AIA state championship for Division I after placing fifth in sectionals out of 17 schools. Last year they placed ninth.

Cross country head coach Ricardo Villa explains that he is proud, especially since half of varsity are underclassmen whose potential and speed is yet to be maximized.

The team consists of seven runners: seniors Gabriel Castillo, Alexis Morales, and Kevin Evaristo, and junior Christopher Bazua. However, they also have three sophomores: Michael Munoz, David Nunez, and Rafael Samaniego.

“We have perseverance, dedication, and hard practices,” Villa said.

The team goes through daily practices consisting of 5-to-7 mile runs and a large amount of dune repeats. As teambuilding Villa has the team run in a single-file line and the person in the back has to sprint onto the front in a continuous manner.  

Villa also goes on to explain how SLHS stands at a disadvantage at times as opposed to other schools in Arizona. Other schools take part in morning practices, starting around 6 a.m. But due to a wide range of personal and school factors the team is unable to conduct practices that early. Villa said that weather is the ultimate downfall. Being one of the hottest cities in the U.S, practices are sometimes impossible.

Villa finished the season last year but he was not the coach for the entirety of the season. As coach for a full season for the first time he is proud to claim that this is the highest qualifying team in SLHS history.

Not only is the school breaking records, but some of the students are breaking individual records as well. Morales is only 4 seconds away from beating the fastest runner SLHS has ever recorded, a record that hasn’t been bested in 12 years.

Every day Villa is reminded of Jim Saladin, a former PE coach, and his motivational words: “Never miss an opportunity to get stronger.”  

As an homage to Saladin’s words, whenever Villa’s athletes want to give up, he locks eyes and encourages them with: “Never miss an opportunity to get faster.”

So far, the Sidewinders have listened and been more than able to carry it all the way to the finish line.

Jesus Nieblas (SLHS)