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Hard work pays off for Bulldogs

By: Matt Long Telegraph Sports Editor
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What a difference a year makes. A year ago Folsom High’s varsity boys’ cross country team had one runner, senior Derek Woodard, qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section meet. This year the entire team qualified for the state meet. It begs the question, how did it happen? For one the team moved up a strong junior class which makes up five of their top-seven runners including Sam Scheuer, Jon Barrows, Mike Kinoshita, Vinnie Morin and Jacob Goodwin. Secondly, the team put more effort into offseason training. Thirdly, new coach Steve Kinoshita revamped the workout and meet schedule to challenge the team even more. Joining the five juniors on the varsity team include seniors Aaron Burkhead and Aaron Bailey. Another group of runners also contributed to the team’s success including seniors Phil West and Ryley Hoffman, juniors David Hanson, Cristiano Bobiles, Spencer Buelna and Blake Shaw, sophomore Tim Scott and freshman Weston Dewitt. “It all started in the spring during track season,” Kinoshita said. “We had 10 kids who ran track and our goal was for them to run four-minute miles and nine of the 10 were able to do that. During the summer we ramped up the training and did more goal setting. It was meticulous training and we held the kids accountable. We set the goal then to make it to the state meet and the boys said alright. Over the summer they showed up and did exactly what was asked.” Kinoshita also credited his assistants, including former varsity coach Dave Gregson, Nick Vogt and Chris Gertez, who have also brought their expertise to the team. Kinoshita added some bigger meets for the team to compete in during the season, including the Sac State Jamboree, the Stanford Invitational and the Clovis Invitational. “Those races are good litmus tests for the times of the season that they’re run,” Kinoshita said. “They helped prepare us for the league meet, where we placed third behind Oak Ridge and Pleasant Grove and ahead of Jesuit. At sections we knew it would be a battle between us, Rocklin, Jesuit and Vacaville. Sammy and Aaron ran up front and those guys in the mid-pack, Jon, Mike and Vinnie, they passed a lot of guys in the last 400 meters and got it done by the skin of our teeth.” Barrows said a renewed attitude played a big role as well. “We just worked hard and had more kids commit to the offseason training,” Barrows said. “My sophomore year we had two or three guys run and this year we had seven or eight guys. That made a difference. Coach Kinoshita also added more mileage and Coach Vogt helped us by perfecting our running form.” With the state meet this Saturday, Kinoshita said a realistic goal would be 15th. Either way, he’s proud of his group of runners. “Maximum effort led to maximum results,” Kinoshita said. “What they’ve done from last year to this year is a small miracle. It’s a tribute to the kids and my staff.”