On Sep. 17, the Glen A. Wilson High School Cross Country team placed 2nd for boys varsity and 8th for girls varsity at the Cross Country Invitational held at the Silver Lakes Sports Complex in Norco, California.
Head Coach Mike Gomez explains the team’s strategy for success and the hard work behind it.
“We did a lot of intervals and talked through strategies like pacing and surging,” Gomez said. “We also talked about hydration—those [are the] types of things that are really important. And then, when we got [to the Invitational], the athletes were able to walk through portions of the course to get familiar with it. A lot of running is about getting comfortable and relaxed.”
Gomez also verbalizes his thoughts on the outcome of the race.
“I am pleased overall with all the runners,” he said. “I think our freshmen were nervous, [but they raced well]. Our sophomores and our juniors all ran well, too. A lot of them [achieved personal records (P.R.)] and medaled. Our girls took 8th place out of 18 teams which is fantastic. And Gio, who has been trying to run sub-15 minutes, which is a tough, tough process for anyone, ran a 14:57 5k. He is a really humble young man, and [he] leads by example, [being] a tremendous leader and just a great teammate to have.”
Team Captain Gio Gudiel (12) placed first among 180 other boys varsity competitors, possibly setting a new Wilson HS record. He also proves Gomez right by modestly attributing his mentors for this triumph.
“My freshman year, I ran 17:13 for 3 miles. Fast forward to now, [and] I can run the same distance in 14:57,” Gudiel said. “I credit that to my amazing coaches, Coach Fess and Coach Gomez. I implemented a lot of strategies that I have learned over the years like surging, accelerating around corners, etc.”
In addition, Gudiel details his plans to further lower his times.
“There is always room for improvement. My second mile during the race was not as fast as I had hoped it would be, so next time I will keep better track of my pace during the race so that I can do better for myself and for my team.”
Isidro Peña (11) also raced alongside his fellow teammates and medaled at the Invitational. He describes the energy of the race and his feelings afterward.
“A lot of us were very excited for the race. We had heard that it was going to be a very flat and fast course,” Peña said. “I beat my previous P.R. by a minute and a half and I finished first on the team for my race. I even went fast enough to get a medal. I thought I did amazing.”
Cross Country’s next race is at home on Sep. 23 against the rest of the division, including Rowland HS, Covina HS, and others.