The 2020 season was one geared toward improvement for the California Pintos cross country team.
The Pintos' season ended with the boys team finishing in fifth place at districts. Head coach Kenny Goans said individually, everyone on the team improved.
Goans said the team had some chances to win some hardware but would end up one runner short on those occasions.
"With the varsity boys, however, we never had our top five do their best at a single meet," Goans said. "The placing would change virtually at every meet. Our number three guy would finish in fifth or our number two would finish in fourth. We had some opportunities to bring some hardware home from several meets but were shy by one runner's performance, and that one runner changed at every meet."
Before the end of the season, Goans said the team was working on how to tackle the middle part of a race, and he said the team improved in that respect.
"The team definitely became stronger in the middle part and finishing part of the race," Goans said. "We closed the gap on teams that were much better than us at the beginning of the season."
The runners who will be back next season learned the importance of summer practice and a healthy diet, Goans said.
"Runners understand that hard work pays off," Goans said. "Some have realized that not attending summer workouts or even disregarding a healthy diet during cross country (season) left them just shy of All-Conference and perhaps All-District."
Goans said this year's team was a great team to coach, and the team had great chemistry among its members.
"Team chemistry was the single best thing about the entire team," Goans said. "This was a great team to coach. During summer workouts and August, we didn't even know we'd have a season due to COVID-19. I'm so thankful we were able to have our season, especially for our three seniors. Cross country is much more than winning and getting medals. It is about joining together with all of our different personalities and becoming unified as one unique team."
Goans said next year, the team has a chance to get more runners to qualify for state and is working on filling out the girls team.
"We had three varsity boys finish in the top 20 at districts, so our chances are decent to qualify more for state next year," Goans said. "On the girls' side, we are working hard to fill a team. If someone wants to work hard and develop excellent life skills, we will take them."