Cross Country Ready to Run

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The Weston Ranch Cross Country team has been busy preparing for the upcoming season. Training in and around the campus, the runners have their sights set on taking the VOL title.

A first-year coach, Julio Nicaragua, leads this year’s team. Coach Nicaragua is a graduate of Bear Creek High School (2013) where he ran for the Bruins. He also raced for Delta College and at Sacramento State where he currently is completing his undergraduate degree. With all that experience, Nicaragua is ready to take our runners to the next level.

“From what I’ve seen, we have excellent athletes on our team this year,” Nicaragua told The Prowl as he watched his team warm up with a two-mile run. “They’re dedicated and mentally tough to take on the challenges of Cross Country running.”

One of Nicaragua’s runners is Brian Aravalo, who returns to the team hoping to build on last year’s successful individual season. Arevalo finished consistently in the top 10 of both Invitationals and league meets, and Nicaragua is confident Arevalo will only get better this year.

“He loves the sport,” Nicaragua said speaking about Arevalo. “He’s a good leader and wants to succeed. He’s astute and very competitive. Even though I’m our coach and I have cross country experience, I’ve learned a lot from Brian.”

Overall, the team consists of eight varsity runners, one JV runner, and one freshman runner on the boys’ side, and two varsity runners on the girls’ team. One of the returning varsity girls runners is Jasmine Basco, who returns with excellent credentials.

“Jasmine came out late, but she is on track to have a great year,” Nicaragua said. “Everything looks to be ok with her, and she is getting ready to go.”

Cross Country requires the athletes to both tough physically and mentally. The runners take on courses away from traditional oval tracks as they race through terrain and on dirt paths. A typical varsity race is three miles, and a typical JV race is two miles. To prepare for these courses, Nicaragua varies the practices between timed, 8-mile runs (4 miles out and 4 miles back), and tempo runs where the runners keep the same pace over the entire course of the run. The practices are grueling as the runners not only battle the hot sun but also battle mental fatigue as they run mostly by themselves.

The Cougars will get their first test tomorrow at the Lagoon Valley Classic in Vacaville. Nicaragua will take eight varsity runners. Along with the Invitationals such as the Lagoon Valley Classic, the cross country team will also compete in the Valley Oak League (VOL) invitationals.

It’s time to start running!

Brian Arevalo

Jasmine Basco