The Coast Union cross country team ran well at the Cal Poly Invitational cross country meet on Saturday, Oct. 17, but the Broncos missed winning the Division 5 title because of illness to several of their players.
The boys, led by Coast’s lead runner Paul Butterfield, placed second in Division 5. Butterfield finished in 18 minutes flat to place fourth overall and first among Coast Union runners. Nic Roper ran the 5K in 22:46; David May (22:46) was the third Bronco to finish, and Ethan Walters ran it in 23:34.
The fifth Bronco finisher was Tyler Seng (24:15), and Caesar Hernandez ran the course in 31:29.
On the girls side, because Shannon Clark was out with an illness, Coast did not qualify for the win in Division 5, according to coach Jim Hurley. Bella Raethke was the first Coast finisher (22:00); Gigi Stoothoff (24:04), Vanessa Ramirez (26:33), and Iveth De Jesus followed Raethke.
In an interview conducted on the Coast Union campus Thursday, Oct. 15, Butterfield explained that he is a stronger runner his sophomore year because he did a “lot more training over the summer.”
“I worked with the coaches more, and I am more into the rhythm this year – I understand the sport a little more.”
Asked what his strategy is at the start of a race, Butterfield said he tries to pace himself off other runners, but he saves strength for the kick he will need at the end of the race.
During a race Butterfield said he “thinks of music; I think of a beat, and I use that beat to keep a pace, to regulate my breathing, my step and my stride. I’m kind of humming to myself,” he explained.
What kind of musical beat does he relate to? “Rock and roll – maybe Led Zeppelin, something like that, with four-four timing,” he said.
The last meet of the season is Oct. 29, when the Broncos compete in the San Luis Obispo County Championships at Laguna Lake. Last year Butterfield placed seventh out of all the freshmen runners in the county, earning freshman all-county honors.
His goal at the championships this fall is to make sophomore all-county, but every time he runs, he said, he shoots for the top 10.
The Coast Union girls tennis team had not won a match in two years, but on Wednesday, Oct. 14, that streak ended as the Lady Broncos defeated Santa Maria High School 14-4.
Top seed Maddie May swept her match 6-2, 6-0, 6-0, and second seed Michelle Campos swept her match as well, 6-4, 6-3, and 6-2. Annika Marthler won two of her three singles sets (0-6, 6-4, 6-0); and all three of the doubles teams (Lindy Ortiz and Rebeca Tavera, Ani Corbet and Alyssa Drew, and Zoe Markham and Savannah Lyon) won two of their three matches.
The Coast Union junior varsity team also defeated Santa Maria, 10-3.
“Everybody did well,” said varsity coach Ron Ruggles. “Everybody won twice, and the two girls won all three of theirs.” Ruggles gives credit to his players, but he also notes that in the game against the Saints, all his varsity players were available for the first time in several weeks; in previous matchups, sickness, injuries and deaths in the family had depleted his team.
“Yes, I had my normal varsity playing for the first time since the first week of the season. We played Santa Maria a month ago but we only won one match. We turned it around big time.”
That turnaround condinued Monday, Oct. 19, when the tennis team defeated Nipomo in a tiebreaker at home, 9-9 (74-73), its second win in a row after losing its first 10.
The coach also explained that near-constant distractions take players’ focus away from the concentration they need to compete successfully.
“I’ve had to pull some mental strings on them to help them focus more — moreso than any other team I’ve ever had,” Ruggles said.
“One of the problems with many of our players is, they get ahead in a game but they lose focus and let the opponent back into the game. But this time it was different.
“Maddie had really close matches the last time we played Santa Maria, and she lost all three. But this time she went in there and demolished her opponent. That’s what she’s supposed to do. It’s really cool to see the team focused, and they are starting to relax a little bit.”
Winning for the first time in two seasons was especially sweet for Ruggles, who is coaching the girls for the last time. He will likely be moving to Oregon after this school year to give a hand to his aging father.
He will coach the boys tennis team in the spring, but as to his father’s health in Oregon — “I have to be there for him,” Ruggles explained.
The Coast Union volleyball team shut out Cuyama Valley 3-0 on Thursday, Oct. 15, 25-14, 25-8 and 25-22.
Janelle Bohey, Xue DiMaggio and Ahtziri Mora led the Lady Broncos.
On Tuesday, Oct. 20, the Lady Broncos traveled to Coastal Christian and shut out the Crusaders 3-0. Coast Union dominated 25-15, 25-11 and 25-6. The Lady Broncos are now 8-0 in Coast Valley League play. On Thursday, Oct. 22, Coast plays its final match of the regular season, entertaining Shandon at 5 p.m.