Folsom places 20th in state cross country Division I race

By: Matt Long Telegraph Sports Editor
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Folsom High’s boys’ cross country team unceremoniously finished 20th out of 22 teams at the state cross country championships Saturday at Woodward Park in Fresno, but considering they were picked to finish 22nd, the team exceeded expectations. Actually, Folsom making the state championship race was the big accomplishment, considering they weren’t on the state radar when the season began. “The boys ran great,” Folsom coach Steve Kinoshita said. “Five of the seven boys ran personal-best times and we were projected to finish 22nd, so the boys achieved. I’d rather be at the bottom of the best than be the best of the worst. I was very pleased with their performance.” Junior Sam Scheuer led the way for the Bulldogs, placing 80th in 16 minutes, 31 seconds. Junior Aaron Burkhead placed 98th in 16:38, followed by junior Vinnie Morin (152nd, 17:12), senior Austin Bailey (162nd, 17:22) and junior Mike Kinoshita (167th, 17:29). Also running but not scoring were juniors Jacob Goodwin (169th, 17:34) and Jonathan Barrows (175th, 17:47). Bailey, Kinoshita and Burkhead all had personal-best times by at least 20 seconds. Scheuer also had a personal-best time, while it was Morin’s first time running the course. Because of the team’s youth and inexperience, Kinoshita said the team was quite nervous before the race. “I told them to take five deep breaths and relax,” Kinoshita said. “The atmosphere is so hyped up down there and the race is so fast. You really have to experience it to know what it’s like. We trained for it and told the boys about it, but you just can’t duplicate it; you just have to experience it.” With five of the seven runners returning, Folsom already has its sights set on next season. Kinoshita said the team should improve a great deal and will be better prepared after experiencing the big race. “This year’s experience was invaluable,” Kinoshita said. “They learned how their hard work all year paid off at the end of the season. They learned how hard they had to work to get here. Just to make it to the state meet is a huge honor. Next year we hope to do some damage. The boys hope to run in the low 16s and that’s a 30 seconds to a minute personal-record and that’s completely reasonable with their continued work ethic and physical maturity.”