FRESNO -- Campolindo High's Aidan Goltra had a question that kept entering his mind as he was attempting to hold off Myles Smith of St. John Bosco-Bellflower for first place in the final straightaway of Saturday's California Interscholastic Federation Division III boys state cross country championship race.
Can I give more?
Goltra gave enough. The junior held off Smith by less than a second to win the state title with an excellent time of 15 minutes, 18 seconds for the 3.1-mile Woodward Park course.
"That was quite the race," said Goltra, who transferred from Las Lomas to Campolindo before this school year. "The critical point was the turn with about 1,000 meters to go."
That's where Goltra took the lead for the first time, then battled Smith for it through the final 300 meters. Goltra was among a pack of four who passed through two miles at 9:54.
Goltra is the first Campolindo boys runner to win a state cross country title, according to coach Chuck Woolridge.
The St. Joseph Notre Dame boys showed their tremendous depth in winning the school's first team state cross country championship. The Pilots edged Flintridge Prep-La Canada Flintridge to win the Division V title by one point, 86-87.
"We all fought to the end," said the Pilots' Gabe Arias-Sheridan, who led his team with a fifth-place individual finish (15:58).
Other Pilots scorers were Michael Murphy (25th, 16:30), Louis Rodrigues (26th, 16:34), Matthew Murphy (28th, 16:35) and Sam Levy-Wendt (33rd, 16:43),
"I told all the kids, 'If you are the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh runners, they will be just as important as the top three,' " said St. Joseph Notre Dame coach Tony Fong, who pointed out that Pilots No. 6 runner James Lafollette (43rd, 16:57) beat Flintridge Prep's No. 5 runner.
Fong has experienced an extremely emotional last two weeks. His wife, Denise, died of breast cancer Nov. 13.
"We were trying to win (the state race) for Tony," Arias-Sheridan said.
Amador Valley's Jena Pianin ran an outstanding race to finish third in the Division I girls competition in 17:39.
That's the best placing by an East Bay girl in a Division I state championship cross country race since 1989.
"(Amador Valley coach Jason Oswalt) said to chase (the leaders) as long as you can and get in that good position if anything bad happens up front," said Pianin, who was fifth in 2011. "I'm pretty confident in my ability to really crush the last mile."
Pianin was in the fastest girls race of the day by far. Simi Valley's Sarah Baxter set a course record with a jaw-dropping time of 16:40, and defending champion Hagen Reedy of Buchanan-Clovis was second (17:10).
Other East Bay individual runners who achieved top-six finishes included Miramonte's Tyler Hanson (fourth in the Division III boys race, 15:32), and St. Joseph Notre Dame's Kimberly Avalos (sixth in the Division V girls race, 18:43).
Sixth-place team finishes were achieved by Campolindo's boys in Division III, Athenian's boys in Division V and College Prep's girls in Division V.