Running the Course to Success


Cross Country varsity race in Oxnard

“Running is nothing more than a series of arguments between the part of your brain that wants to stop and the part that wants to keep going.” -Unknown. This quote remains true for Cam High’s distance team, whose members run around seven miles six days a week almost all year round no matter the circumstances.

The average cross country practice begins with Coach Sam Pinuelas riding his bike down the hill to the track where the distance team gathers before practice to take attendance. There, the team members are usually subjected to a speech about safety, coconut water, or running advice before they begin their run.

The distance team members have a unique relationship, and many members describe a lighthearted and fun atmosphere throughout the season since the boys spend so much time together. One of the highlights of the season are the bus rides when the team travels to a race, according to junior Trevor Lopez.

Cam High’s distance team (pictured above) joking around with one another at an after school practice.

The distance team has had several consecutive successful cross country seasons, making it to CIF finals two times in a row. Two years ago, the team was ranked in the top ten teams in California, and they are currently in the top 50 range, according to Pinuelas.

Cross country and the track season are different despite having the same runners and the same coach. First, cross country consists of three mile races with hills and rough terrain, while all track distances are two miles or below and take place on a flat track.

This makes training different with speed workouts during track season and long hill runs in cross country. Most practices take place during sixth period at the Pleasant Valley fields. In cross country, advancing to the next round and winning a race depends as a team or section of team to win while track is all individual.

In track there are two types of races, league and invitational. Invitational races are individual with no team competitions, while league meets have one or two schools winning. One difference with track is if your team wins every meet there is no award or advancement to CIF, contrary to cross country where the top three athletes in the league advance. Only the runners with a certain qualifying time participate in the “playoffs” of track.

In regards to this season, Pinuelas said,”The younger boys, for the most part, all got personal records but we had a couple veterans not do the off-season training so they had sub-par seasons.” The biggest success of the track season was senior Seth Meline. He progressed the farthest in the boys distance team making it to the 800 meters CIF Finals with a time of 1:55.91.

Here is a spread sheet of all boys distance times

These are some notable names from the team.

Seth Meline, Senior: Fastest 800 1:55 and fastest 1600 4:28

Jake Pinuelas, Junior: 2nd Fastest 1600 on the team this year with a 4:33 and the second fastest 3200 on the team running a 9:59

Johnny Slone, Sophomore: 4th fastest 800 with a 2:06 and 3rd fastest 1600 with 4:36

Ethan Kuske, Freshmen: 5th fastest 800 2:09 and 6th fastest 1600 4:48

Most Improved: Silous Ramelli, freshmen improved 800 by 7 seconds, 1600 by 29 seconds, and 3200 by 45 seconds

Pinuelas recently announced his resignation as coach of the boys distance team, but he will still teach math at Cam High.