Led by record-breaking standout Abraham Espinoza, the LPC men’s cross-country squad marched into the state’s biggest meet with high expectations.
It was the State Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno, which took place on Nov. 23.
“We knew going in it would be a tough meet,” Head Coach Steve Navarro said. “Our goal was to finish better than last year.”
The team achieved that goal. In fact, their 15th place team finish was their best in school history. Abe Espinoza has played a big role in the team’s success all year and it was no different this time around as he personally finished 20th overall out of 203 runners who competed.
While he wanted to finish better, Espinoza gave it his all the last meet of his LPC cross-country career. “I didn’t finish where I wanted to,” Espinoza said. “Still, I left everything I had out on that course. I did my best.”
Motivation is something often used by coaches
to give athletes an extra kick and coach Navarro is no different. He and assistant coach Kyle Robinson promised the team pizza if the team finished in the top 15 at state.
The team came through with the finish and Navarro made good on his promise after the meet.
“We took them to BJ’s for pizza after the meet,”
Navarro said. “It was a reward for a good season overall.”
The team may have finished 15th overall, but as far as Northern California schools go, LPC was fourth overall in the region. Two of their top runners, Abe Espinoza and Adam White, garnered attention from four-year schools in attendance scouting in Fresno.
“The coach from CSU Stanislaus was raving about Abe and Adam,” Navarro said. “Hopefully those guys can get some scholarships. They both have worked hard the past two years.”
While Navarro is proud of the recognition they got for their performance on running, their work away from the track is what really brings a smile to his face. Both Espinoza and White finished the year on the All-Academic list for state with GPA’s of 3.47 and 3.42, respectively.
“A lot of times you see athletes getting into trouble outside of sports,” Navarro said. “These guys are getting it done on the track and in the classroom. It’s good to see them get that recognition.”
Top performers Espinoza and White are at the end of their LPC cross country careers.
Navarro is now faced with the task of recruiting the next crop of talent to carry on the tradition of great runners at LPC.
No matter how the team does in the future, Navarro will always have a special place in his heart for this year’s team of runners.