Daniel Pride is reserved, quiet. He’s plenty bright, just slow to ring the bell and shout for attention.
A junior at Santa Rosa High School, Pride didn’t need to say a word to be selected All-Empire boys cross country runner of the year. He remained completely unassuming, but still wound up getting more attention than any Redwood Empire runner from the 2015-16 season, a season that also saw consistently fast times posted by El Molino junior Brian Schultz and a run to the North Coast Section championship by the Maria Carrillo team.
Pride is in the middle of preparing for the North Bay League track and field season, but he did look back on his magnificent cross country season. He was sick, dude, just sick!
Sadly, sick doesn’t mean any of the many things young people intend it to men now. Pride was sick with a lingering cold and flu that kept him from training like he typically trains. He wasn’t himself once the regular season concluded.
“There’s no excuse. My times and finishes were still pretty good,” he said. “I just couldn’t shake the flu and cold.”
Pride was healthy as can be for the North Bay League Championships at Spring Lake Hills Park. “I was pretty happy about how the NBL meet went,” Pride said. “It was really close to being exactly the race that I wanted that day.”
Pride finished 20 seconds ahead of teammate Luca Mazzanti, who finished their home course, in 15:41.
“There was really no competition that day, but I still stuck with it,” Pride said. “I got out in front and kept my focus. I was pleased with that. It’s easy to lose a big lead.”
Pride admits his effort in the Viking Invitational early in the season was “particularly good” in his opinion.
“I hadn’t felt really good,” he said. “There wasn’t anything big wrong. I just didn’t feel myself until the Viking Invitational. It got my season going.”
The flu and cold hit Pride before the North Coast Section meet where he ran a time of 15 minutes, 30.6 seconds to finish well behind Monte Vista’s champion Tim Chrisman (15:17.30). “It’s not bad to finish second in that time, I guess,” Pride admitted. “I just didn’t feel very well.”
The wheels came off the week before and the day of the California Interscholastic Federation state championship meet. Pride ran a 15:52.1 to finish 14th and well back of Austin Tampagno of Brea Olinda, who ran to the title in 14:45.9. “Feeling the way I did, I thought I’d probably still finish in the top 20,” Pride said. “but, I finished further down than that.”
Pride credits his improved ability to prepared for a race for his success.
“Racing is 75 percent mental and 25 percent physical,” Pride said. “I visualize races before I run them. That really helps me. I also started putting in more mileage.”
Pride, naturally, didn’t go on to speak of his cross country season.
“I’m just getting ready for track,” he said. “I want to stay injury free.”
See all of the All-Empire teams at pressdemocrat.com.
ALL-EMPIRE BOYS CROSS COUNTRY
RUNNER OF THE YEAR
Daniel Pride, Jr., Santa Rosa
Travis Claeys, Jr., Sonoma Valley
Carson Kimball, Sr., Maria Carrillo
Luca Mazzotti, Jr., Santa Rosa
Brian Schultz, Jr., El Molino
Jordan Scobey, Sr., Maria Carrillo
Adam Carpenter, Soph., Piner
Kheva Mann, Jr., Sonoma Academy
Robert Swoboda, Jr., Ukiah
Juan Valerio, Sr., Roseland Prep
Johnny Vargas, Soph., Piner
COACH OF THE YEAR
Greg Fogg, Maria Carrillo