On Nov. 24, 2018 history was made by seven Ridgeview High School cross country runners and their coaches.
“It still hasn’t sunk in yet that they did it,” said head coach Greg Dabbs. “You can see it on paper that they’re ranked number one and then for them to actually do it, it’s just magical.”
The Wolf Pack’s boys varsity cross country team won the Division III California State Championship, the first cross country state title for a Bakersfield school in history and the first state championship for Ridgeview’s athletic department.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said senior Bryan Gaxiola. “I was just so glad we came this far. when I heard that we won, it was big for us and we only one by like 11 points and that was so close.”
The pack out ran Campolindo High School, located near Berekely, 83 to 94 at the state meet in Fresno last weekend.
“It’s been a roller coaster that’s only been going up,” said senior Jordan Bueno. “So many great accomplishments from these guys. I never thought I would be able to call myself a state champion.”
Last year the team won the division Valley Championship, a feat they would accomplish again this season before taking state.
“We try to motivate each other at winning because we know that everyone is capable of it,” said senior Jonah Molina. “It takes a lot of hard work.”
The last six months, the team spent six days a week practicing, only taking Sundays and holidays off.
“It was really long,” said asst. coach Ryan Lucker. “There were times where we were like ‘oh man we got to go, we got to go, like to practice,’ but in the end it’s all worth it.”
The win, meaning something more to junior Alex Cuevas.
Cuevas almost lost his ability to compete in last year’s valley championship season after being in car accident in August 2017 at the intersection of Panama Road and Union Avenue.
“Once we hit that intersection, I guess there was a semi truck that had ran the red light and he was also speeding,” Cuevas said. “It hit us. We ended up swirling. I think there was four hits in total from where we first got hit.”
Cuevas suffered from small fractures to the back of his skull and a fractures to his left eye socket.
“I told my doctor, do you know when I can do cross country again because I’m in this sport,” Cuevas said. “And he was telling me from your injuries I don’t think you will be able to compete anytime soon.”
Cuevas was able to recover and complete in the 2017 season, helping his team with the CIF Valley title.
“Because of the incident, I take running more serious,” Cuevas said. “You know I’m really thankful for any situation we get, any win we get. Honestly, any opportunity I get to run with my brothers again.”
Ridgeview Cross Country will move to Division II next year.
The team has set up a GoFundMe to help pay for their State Championship rings.