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Saints Take State

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Hailey Dewegeli

More stories from Hailey Dewegeli

Seniors Interviewed: Claire Villa, Marisela Martinez, Andres Lopez-Ospina, Caesar Vallejo

Why is going to State the XCPCC goal every year?

“Our goal is to go to state every year because we have the proud tradition to uphold. We believe that if you don’t shoot for the highest goal possible then you’ll never fully know what you can accomplish if you’re willing to settle for something lesser. The ability to have a higher level of pride and expectation for our work drives us to be consistent and thorough in our six-month long season.”-Claire Villa

Who is Leche, and why was he at State?

“Leche is our lucky mascot cow! Coach Lyons picked up Leche while he was backpacking in Mexico ten years ago” Coach Lyons got food poisoning at one point of this trip and was declined the use of a restroom unless he bought something in the shop he was in. The only object that caught his eye was this paper mache cow, and for the rest of his trip, he was neither given food poisoning, killed, or kidnapped. Instead, he enjoyed his venture in Mexico and brought the luck of this cow to the Xavier campus. She continues, “and every year since then, the boys have qualified to state finals. The girls haven’t had the same stellar record, but we’ve made it to at least CIF-SS Finals every year. We carry Leche with us to post-season meets as a good luck charm and a reminder of the tradition that comes before us and not necessarily what we have to live up to, but what we can accomplish if we’re dedicated. Leche also serves as a fun rallying point that helps us to identify our fan section along the crowded course. There’s something about seeing the moms dressed up in cow onesies that is oddly encouraging!”-Claire Villa

What do you eat, and how does the routine for getting ready for the race change from the day before to the day of the race?

“Pasta load!”-a whole team agreement

“The night before, I like to load up on carbohydrates such as pasta, pizza, and bread. I also made sure to hydrate well. The day of the race I don’t like to feel heavy, so I keep my food light, and will usually have a small bowl of oatmeal and some fruit.” -Caesar Vallejo

“Before the race, I try to make sure that I’m consistently hydrated as the body takes about 24-36 hours to process water to the muscles properly. Preparing for big races really is about consistently maintaining your body throughout the whole season. We do goal sheets the day before the race to visualize and intentionally focus on what we’re going to achieve. Before large races I like to talk to the other girls about happy memories we have together as Coach says, “we run with and for each other, not ourselves.” The night before a race I take about 30 minutes to roll out my legs and stretch any knots out. Then I go to bed pretty early and fall asleep listening to albums that I find calming so I feel rested and focused in the morning.”

The team listens to pre-race playlists to get pumped before the race. The team has been conditioning since summer. They trained their bodies for this moment, to see how they have improved and what they need to improve. Therefore, pre-race playlists and the simple car ride up to meets are rewarding bonding experiences which affect the mentality of each runner leading up to their races. Each race in itself a challenge mentally and physically.

In conclusion, Claire shared that “Race preparation is all about focusing and knowing I’ll give it my best.”-Claire Villa

What were wise words of encouragement from teammates?

“Wolfpacks stay together!”-all the girls

“Go to bed with peace.”-Hailey (who heard it from Coach)

“When you’re running just think about the ice water they have at the finish and how bad you want to get there before they run out.”-Molly

“Name 3 reasons you’re going to run fast tomorrow”-Andres Lopez-Ospina

“Last season let’s make this count”-Marisela

“Kill the hill”-alumna Nicky Johnson

“Make yourself proud”-alumna Bridget Wickstrand

Wise words from Coach Lyons?

“In cross country, I think it’s important to remember to trust Coach Lyons’ process. Often we get frustrated with our results, but we have to remember that he knows what he is doing and that we will find success if we listen and jump into every workout with a positive attitude.” -Caesar Vallejo

Lyons quoting Mr. Granger “We are not better we are just different”-Marisela Martinez

“We run with and for each other, not ourselves.” -Claire Villa

“To transition from failure, know that you must fail without any loss of enthusiasm to succeed.”-Andres Lopez-Ospina

What motivates you for the extra push?

Confidence in oneself as well as in each other, and proof of improvement overall motivates the team to finish each race giving their all.

“Seeing progress and knowing that if I put in enough work and stay consistent in what I do, I will get the results that I want. My confidence and knowing that the work that I put in will affect the direction the team will go in, really makes you feel a part of a huge impact. My team is my main motivation.”-Marisela  Martinez

“By the time I hit the 600m mark I just want to be done so badly, I pretend it’s the last 600 of a practice where we go all out, and I start singing Eye of the Tiger to myself. Honestly though, my teammates and how I know that every girl I pass just means a better score for us and a chance to give back to the girls the effort that they give to me. I love the girls on the team so much I don’t want to be the person that drags them down. All season long starting in June we talked about our “Fresno Tunnel Vision” where we had a goal and we weren’t going to let anything stop us, and I for sure wasn’t going to be the person that collapsed the tunnel vision. Coincidentally, around the 600m mark is where there are people on the sidelines cheering you on and hearing people scream your name full volume is pretty exciting and encouraging.”-Claire Villa

“Knowing that my teammates count on me and I only want to put them in a better position to succeed” and Caesar added on that “Running can be tough, especially when you set high expectations for yourself so what keeps me going is my team. We are all so close and love each other, so not wanting to let each other down is what drives us. We do everything for each other.”-Andres Lopez-Ospina and Caesar Vallejo

What were the race results and what are future expectations?

“Girls’ team placed in 18th place out of 25, we weren’t at all trying to place anywhere at the race, we were just glad that the girls’ team finally broke the 2-year streak of not going to state.” Claire added that “We ran a very young team this year, the postseason roster consisted of 4 freshmen, 3 sophomores, and 2 seniors. I expect the girls to continue the good work and attitude, and now that they know the goal is doable they’ll come back at it with more focus especially as they have the experience of running the course and knowing the vibe of the state meet.” Marisela continued stating, “It will be a given that the girls’ team goes to State next year and placing top ten, it is possible. I also believe they will dominate DVL next year.  I cannot wait to see what both the boys and girls team will bring next year and the rest to come.”

-Marisela Martinez and Claire Villa

“The boys took 12th at state and I took 31st individually. The future looks bright for both the boys and girls team because of the depth of young athletes showing promising times and amount of effort.”-Andres Lopez-Ospina

Far Left are Seniors: Marisela Martinez, Chase Vigue, Caesar Vallejo, and Andres Lopez-Ospina, and Claire Villa



2 Responses to “Saints Take State”

  1. Sam Torabi on December 14th, 2017 10:33 am

    This is such an inspiring story. Long live Leche.


  2. Wyatt Manley on March 14th, 2018 9:51 am



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