Coach of the Year
Tony Fong, St. Joseph Notre Dame
Under extremely trying circumstances, Fong led the Pilots to the first team state cross country championship in school history and the North Coast Section Division V boys team title. On Nov. 13, four days before the NCS championships, Fong's wife Denise died of breast cancer. He was offered the chance to take some time off, but he declined. "I just need to be around the kids," said Fong, who has coached the Pilots for 17 seasons. "The St. Joe's community and the boys were just so helpful for me, wonderful support to get through this tough time." The Pilots, who won the Tri-County Athletic League championship title on Nov. 1 with an outstanding score of 19, defended their NCS Division V team title with an excellent score of 44. Then the squad showed their tremendous depth and strength by edging Flintridge Prep-La Canada Flintridge for the Division V boys state title by a single points, 86-87. "The kids knew I was riding a wave of emotions," Fong said. "Their ability to focus and work hard was a testament to how much they wanted to win state, not only for themselves but for myself and my wife." Fong also pointed to a late taper for his team in helping them achieve their postseason goal. The team did not start its taper until after the NCS championships. "The kids knew what our game plan was, which was to run our best at state," Fong said.
AIDAN GOLTRA, Campolindo, Jr. -- Goltra won the first East Bay boys state cross country individual title since 2007 when he was victorious in the California Interscholastic Federation Division III championship race with an excellent time of 15 minutes, 18 seconds for the 3.1 mile Woodward Park-Fresno course. Goltra was also the North Coast Section Division III champion with a time of 15:30 on the three-mile Hayward High course. Both times were the fastest by an East Bay runner in all divisions in those championships. He was also second in the Diablo Foothill Athletic League championship race.
TARIKU ABDO, Berkeley, So. -- Abdo won the NCS Division I race with a major move in the second mile. He led by nine seconds at the two-mile mark and eventually won by 12 seconds with a time of 15:48. He also clocked a time of 16:22 in the CIF Division I state championship race, which ranked sixth among NCS runners and 98th overall.
GABE ARIAS-SHERIDAN, St. Joseph Notre Dame, Jr. -- Arias-Sheridan led his squad to the CIF Division V state team title with a fifth-place individual finish in 15:58, outkicking James Kinney of Marin Academy to the finish line. The Pilots won the team title by one point. Arias-Sheridan also won the Tri-County Athletic League championship race and was 13th in the NCS Division IV championship race, in which the Pilots also won the team title.
TYLER HANSON, Miramonte, Sr. -- Hanson placed fourth in the CIF Division III state championship race (15:32), outkicking two competitors within two seconds of himself at the finish line. He also was third in the NCS Division III championship race (16:01) and broke the Hidden Valley Park-Martinez 3-mile course record in winning the DFAL championship race (15:18.3).
MATT SCHUMANN, De La Salle, So. -- Schumann produced the fastest NCS time in the CIF Division I state championship race (15:32), good for 14th place. He also was fifth in the NCS Division I championship race (16:04) and won the East Bay Athletic League championship title with an impressive time of 14:58.50 for the 2.95 mile Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area-Pleasanton course.
DANNY STALTERS, Northgate, Sr. -- Stalters was among the top four NCS runners in both the CIF Division III state championship race (14th, 15:46) and the NCS Division III championship race (fourth, 16:06). He also won the Diablo Valley Athletic League championship with a time of 15:43 for the three-mile Hidden Valley Park course.
LUKE WILLIAMS, De La Salle, Jr. -- Williams was among the top three NCS finishers in both the CIF Division I state championship race (31st, 15:43) and the NCS Division I championship race (third, 16:01). He also was third in the EBAL championship race (15:19.92).