One year ago today, Aidan Goltra was staring into an unknown future athletically.
Goltra was awaiting his first race as a Campolindo High athlete after transferring from Las Lomas over the summer. He did not compete for the Cougars until early October per a California Interscholastic Federation rule.
"I really wanted to get in there and see how Campo training had affected me," said Goltra, whose first race for Campolindo was Oct. 12, 2012. "I was gaining confidence and momentum in my training. I just wanted to race, that was the main thing."
One year later, Goltra is the defending CIF Division III boys state cross country champion, the defending North Coast Section Division III champion, and is undefeated this season through three races.
"I just have a lot more certainty because of last year," said the senior. "I'm running faster splits than last year."
Goltra's best finish in an NCS championship or CIF state championship race his first two high school seasons was eighth in the NCS Division III race as a freshman. But his talent was evident as an underclassman and before that in youth competitions.
"Being one of the top athletes in the state is what I would have imagined him becoming given what he came in (to Campolindo) with," said Campolindo coach Chuck Woolridge. "He's had seven or eight years of competitive training and racing, and that's rare for a high school athlete."
At the Stanford Invitational on Sept. 28, Goltra ran alone in front for the last half of the 3.1 mile Division III boys race on his way to a winning time of 15 minutes, 44 seconds at Stanford Golf Course. San Luis Obispo's William Ernst was second in 16:01.
"Initially, I was disappointed (with the time)," said Goltra about the race, which was run in warm conditions. "It's a win. ... I'm totally fine with it right now."
Goltra isn't lacking in motivation this season.
"I accomplished my goal to be a state champion only to recognize at the Foot Locker West Regional that there's a whole new tier that I want to reach," he said.
STATE-RANKED: De La Salle is ranked No. 12 for all divisions in this week's PrepCalTrack.com Super 25 state boys cross country rankings. It is one of only two Bay Area teams currently in the rankings (Bellarmine-San Jose is ranked 21st). De La Salle is also ranked eighth in this week's Division I boys rankings. Other ranked East Bay teams in the PrepCalTrack.com division rankings are St. Joseph Notre Dame (first in Division V boys), Campolindo (second in Division III girls and eighth in Division III boys), St. Mary's (fourth in Division IV girls) and Piedmont (eighth in Division IV girls).