“How do you like running? It’s so awful,” is what most people say when they hear that somebody is on the Cross Country team. However, the CB Varsity Men’s team doesn’t think so. They have been running for four years and don’t seem to ever want to stop. The varsity boys team consists of Nevin […]
“How do you like running? It’s so awful,” is what most people say when they hear that somebody is on the Cross Country team. However, the CB Varsity Men’s team doesn’t think so. They have been running for four years and don’t seem to ever want to stop. The varsity boys team consists of Nevin Afong (‘19), Sam Copley (‘19), Isaiah Jimenez (19’), Alberto Mujica (‘19), Nico Sanchez (‘19), and Enrique Verschoor (‘19). From van rides to races, they boys have come on a long journey to get to where they are.
Isaiah and Sam have been on the Varsity team since freshman year.
“I came in very cocky and arrogant and I was like ‘I’m going to be on the varsity team because I’m really good.’ Then Isaiah came in and humbled me a lot,” Sam said. “He really showed me that I need to work at a varsity level.”
“I ran track in 6th grade and won the mile, but after that I didn’t want to do it anymore,” Isaiah said. He did not plan on being varsity but he eventually changed his mind. “I wanted to be the top guy so I asked [Coach] Delgado what it takes.”
Since they were the youngest, they had to step it up with the leadership so they would be respected. However, it didn’t take long for these boys to be taken seriously, as Men’s Varsity Cross Country Coach Mr. Danny Delgado ’79 saw the potential.
Berto was moved up to varsity level his sophomore year, joining Berto, Nevin, Isaiah, and Sam.
“I started going to all the practices sophomore year and began to take on that leadership role,” Berto recalled .
At the end of sophomore year, Enrique started running with varsity, but during the summer, he and Nico were both moved up to run with Varsity. It was a team of 6 junior boys and one senior, Patrick Wiseman ‘18. All the boys looked up to him and still hold him in high regard. Enrique recalled,
“[Patrick] was a big motivator,” Enrique says. “He was really someone to run with and look up to because he had such a good work ethic.”
If they won the section title their junior year, the program would have been moved up to the D-III level from Division IV. They also had high hopes to dominate at state. However, that didn’t happen, as they lost to their arch nemesis Placer High School at sections and state.
“We wanted to win so much. Our desires to be the best got in the middle of actually winning,” Berto said.
“That day [at State], we didn’t even talk to each other, we were so nervous,” Isaiah said.
Now it’s senior year, the time to push themselves to the limit because, as the Varsity boys say, “you haven’t given it your all if you haven’t thrown up,”. Their practices are more rigid and extensive than the rest of the CB cross country program. According to Nevin and Nico this is their best year yet.
“I’m the fastest, but I am still working on my technique,” Nevin remarked. “Hopefully UCLA and other D1 schools see that.”
“Of course I want to win state, but I’m really working on improving myself,” Nico explained. “I want to have no regrets when I leave CB.”
Practice is Monday through Friday, from 3:30 to 5:30 PM, which includes two hours of stretching, leg drills, and of course, running. Varsity usually goes off to run by themselves at Land Park. Going to Land Park means long runs, but towards the end of the season they do more speed work. They already have the foundation of running long distances, now they just are working on improving their time and finishing strong. Even on weekends the boys run. However, they don’t have to do it alone.
Occasionally they will have sleepovers, and in the morning, they will wake up to go on an 11 mile run. “
“We get to wake up super early — [it’s] super annoying. We can get in more than one workout in the day,” Nevin says. “We’ll drive 30 minutes to this really hilly place…then we might go to the gym to do some weights.”
The races is what all the work is for. The team usually has a race every Saturday morning. Some of the boys have a pre-race ritual. For instance, Nico will have an untoasted plain bagel and wake up a little bit earlier so he can digest. Berto will lay in bed the night before and picture strategies in going over the course.
When they all arrive at the race, Berto will shake all of their hands and tell them good luck. Isaiah will slap his legs and do some jumps to make sure he is agile. All the boys gather in a circle and of course say a prayer. The race for varsity is 3.1 miles (or a 5K). A common place they will go for a race is Willow Hills in Folsom. This course involves long straights and longer hills that can slow people down if they don’t know how to deal with it.
These guys have become as close as they can be. One factor that caused this bond is the van rides to each race. “
I look forward to van rides. It’s being stuck with the most annoying coach in the world and even more annoying guys,” Berto said with a sarcastic laugh. All the guys developed this little smirk as soon as I mentioned the van. They are “allowed to speak freely and basically roast each other,” Isaiah explained.
However, I wasn’t allowed to know anymore because “what happens in the van, stays in the van.”
All the boys have high expectations for sections and State.
“I hope they will get top two and have all of the runners in the top 20. For state I see them getting top five,” Coach Delgado says. “It is very possible because they put in the work. I know that if I say ‘go do your workout’, they will do it. They are willing to put in the work and go the extra mile. You know, I’m going to miss them, they have put in a lot of hard work and knew what it took.”
Their four years are coming to an end on November 24th at the state meet in Clovis, California. It has been a long ride and they boys have evolved from teammates to brothers.
“It’s been awesome these four years…putting in all this work, seeing them get older has just been amazing and awesome,” concluded Nevin.