Fresno High Warrior Evert Silva, Jr. confidently and aggressively cruised for the Central Section Division III cross country title.
Silva, a 17-year-old senior, clocked in a time of 15:30.4 on the Woodward Park course for the Valley championship title last Thursday (Nov. 17). He’s the only Warrior from his squad to qualify to the 2016 California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) State Cross Country Championships this Saturday (Nov. 26) on the same north Fresno course.
Silva, in his second season of cross country, is also poised and eager to finish well-ahead of his 119th state mark last year.
“I finished good today, but I was expecting to go faster. Today wasn’t the best day, but I can’t complain,” said Silva, who finished fifth in last year’s Valley championships.
“It really matters at the state meet, and that’s when I’ll really give it my all. I’m looking to contend for the win.”
Silva, a former midfielder in soccer, is actually holding himself to better finishes: He completed a 5-kilometer race at Stanford in 15-minutes flat. At the Clovis Invitational on the Woodward Park course, he crossed the finish line at 15:19.
In winning his first Valley title last week, Silva appeared to be sprinting about 80 yards before the 1-mile mark on the course that winds under trees, up-and-down hills and on pavement. He was 12 seconds ahead of the second runner and nearly 20 seconds of the pack.
“I try to just keep a hard pace for as long as I can, but eventually it gets to you. You’re hurting on your body, especially on that second mile. It’s easier when you have someone to run with, but it’s hard grinding it out by yourself,” he said.
Silva, a ninth-place finisher in the 3,200-meter at the CIF State Track and Field Championships this year, was clearly attempting to break the 15-flat personal best he obtained this season at Stanford. He’s been competing at various cross country meets for the experience.
“This was the first year we went to those big tournaments: We went to Stanford, Mt. Sac, Woodbridge, Clovis Invitational; it was a good experience to run against higher competition,” said Silva, “It gets you mentally stronger because you know you can contend with them.”
After his 119th finish in last years state finals, Silva said he’s eager to return and compete among the state’s best cross again. Fresno High head coach Jesús Campos believes Silva can regain another 15-minute finish.
“I wanted to see if he could run just a little bit faster (today), but it’s hard when you don’t have anyone chasing you,” said Campos.
Silva nearly transferred to another high school in search of a cross country coach that could prepare him for collegiate competition. Campos, a former middle school running coach, merely saw the job opening at Fresno High and applied.
“I didn’t know they had a runner like this,” said Campos, “I do run with him especially on the long runs.”
Campos has entered himself and Silva in at least two 5-k events this summer. Campos wanted Silva to experience racing against adults.
“I know he’s going to do big things at the universities. Right now, we’re really looking forward for state.”
Silva, a 4.0 grade point average student at Fresno High, is eyeing Portland State and the University of California, Berkeley, among others.
Madera South’s Villar captures Valley D I title
Senior from Madera South High School Miguel Villar celebrated with the Division I Valley title. Villar crossed the finish line at 15:18.6 nearly 10 seconds ahead of Marcus Mota, a sophomore from Stockdale, who finished at 15:29.
“I’m excited and little anxious. I know this is my last year, so I got to give it everything I got,” said Villar, 17.
“It’s all a mental battle, you just got to keep on going.”
Madera High Stallions won the Central Section title a ninth-consecutive time and again qualified to the state finals.
Division II title goes to Medrano
Moises Medrano of Highland High School in Bakersfield finished five seconds ahead of Monache’s Jaden Uphoff to capture the section’s Division III crown.
Medrano, a sophomore who also won his school’s first ever track title this year in the Southeast Yosemite League 1,600-meter (4:23.45) event in May, crossed the finish line at 15:33.94 to Uphoff’s 15:38.94.
Coalinga’s Ayala earns Division IV crown
Iván Ayala delivered the Division IV gold medal with a time of 15:56.07. Kerman’s José Mosqueda ended the course 15:59.36.
Avenal’s Mohammed Ali finished third at 16:51.99. Jesús Robles, also of Kerman, rounded off the top-four finishers at 16:55.61.
Chandler Maciel hoists Division V medal
Central Valley Christian’s (Visalia) senior Chandler Maciel stayed ahead of Ronaldo Delgado of Caruthers to finish at 16:36.02 and the Division V gold medal.
Delgado finished the race with a time of 16:54.52.