San Luis Obipso High School’s Callum Bolger dominated a field of 192 runners Saturday to win the Division 4 state title at the CIF Cross Country Championships at the Woodward Park course in Fresno.
With a time of 14 minutes, 57 seconds, Bolger won by 34 seconds and became just the third competitor in Division 4 to run under 15 minutes on the course.
“I am really stoked,” Bolger said. “I finished in second place last season, so this year I really just wanted to see how I could do.”
His time broke a 25-year-old school record for the 5,000-meter course previously held by James Menon. Bolger beat his time from last year’s state finals by 15 seconds.
Bolger was able to jump out to an early lead, and he and Foothill Tech’s Jared Rodriguez set the pace for the first two miles. In the final mile, Bolger surged ahead, just as he did against Rodriguez last week during qualifying.
“He ran a smart race,” San Luis Obispo coach Steve Boaz said. “The focus for him was to practice running hard in the last mile.”
Bolger said pushing the last 500 meters has been the game plan all season long.
“I’m trying to simulate that for when it will matter in bigger races,” Bolger said.
There’s no slowing down for Bolger. The senior Stanford commit will run next Saturday in the Foot Locker West Regional Cross Country Championships at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, a race that features the Top 10 cross country runners from the Western States. Bolger finished in first place at a race on that course earlier this season.
“When you get into theses bigger races, everyone can make moves. I have to be ready,” Bolger said.
The Top 10 at the West Regional Race will advance to the National race in San Diego the following week.
Bolger’s championship, along with a 30th-place finish by Matt White (16:16), helped lift the San Luis Obispo boys team to a seventh-place finish.
Other Local Results
Two other San Luis Obispo County schools, Paso Robles and Arroyo Grande, also participated in the meet.
Christian Ricketts (15:29) finished in eighth place in the Division 1 race to lead the Arroyo Grande boys team to an 11th-place finish. With his top-10 finish, Ricketts earned all-state honors.
“It was a solid race for us,” Arroyo Grande head coach Sean Ricketts said. “The boys ran really well. It was a great finish to our season.”
Led by seniors Luis Armendariz and Trad Berti, the Paso Robles boys team finished in eighth place in Division 3. Armendariz (15:29) finished 12th, and Berti (15:31) finished 13th.
Paso Robles’ Annie Meeder (18:21) finished in 14th in Division 3 girls race. And Atascadero’s Ellie Nisbet placed 13th (18:36.8) in the Division 4 girls race.