Mount Shasta head cross country coach Brian Hoskins said that Alexis Ramirez ran the fourth fastest time ever by a Mount Shasta High School runner at the State Meet.
Three South County runners earned return trips to Saturday’s CIF State Cross Country Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno, and each bettered his time from last year.
Cross country courses vary widely, so times can’t usually be compared. But California’s State Meet is held every year at Woodward Park, and young runners try to surpass their previous bests.
Alexis Ramirez has been the fastest Siskiyou County runner all year. He improved both his time and placement in the Division 5 boys race, finishing 24th with a time of 16:27. Last year, Ramirez ran the 5K in 16:54 and finished 31st.
Mount Shasta head cross country coach Brian Hoskins said Ramirez ran the fourth fastest time ever by a Mount Shasta High School runner at the State Meet, behind only Mark Fritzke, with the two fastest times, and Chris Morzenti.
Ramirez ran a smart race, completing the first mile in 5:10 in 52nd place. Then, in the second mile, he picked off 28 runners who went out too fast and moved up to 24th place which he held through the finish.
Ramirez’s final time was only a half second slower than his personal best.
Hoskins said Ramirez wants to study engineering and “has looked at Oregon Institute of Technology, but hasn’t decided yet” on a college.
Mount Shasta teammate Drew Hering has been at Ramirez’s heels all season, finishing as close as three seconds behind him once. The Bear runner finished 59th in 17:02 after coming in 74th last year with a time of 17:36.
Twelve sophomores finished ahead of Hering, so, with some improvement, he has a shot at a top-10 finish next year.
Weed High School Cougar Ryan Mitchell showed the most improvement, finishing 82nd in 17:16,a PR time, after running a 19:06 time for 174th place last year.
Mitchell is the first Cougar runner to earn a State berth for two straight years since Grier Gatlin accomplished this in the 1990s.
“I’m not surprised,” said Hoskins. “He’s worked hard all year.”
To earn a berth to State, all three runners qualified at the Northern Section Championships on Nov. 14 at West Valley High School in Cottonwood. Ramirez placed first overall in D5 and third overall, while Hering was fourth overall and second in D5. Mitchell placed fourth in D5 and 17th overall.
This was Hoskins first year coaching. His goal for next year is to “have a deeper team.” He worked all fall with only five boys, the minimum to score as a team.
Hoskins thought freshman Sylva Carpenter would have qualified for the State Meet had she not suffered a concussion playing basketball. With Hering and Carpenter, Hoskins has the nucleus of strong cross country teams if he can recruit some runners next year.