Bearcats Cross Country Heads to CIF State

The Bearcats put some distance between themselves and Arroyo Grande on Saturday, but the Eagles are still nipping at their heels on the way to the State meet.

Under the world-class mentorship of “Huff,” Paso Robles High School head coach Ivan Huff, and a trusty team of assistants, the Bearcats boys cross country team continues to traverse elevation gains and run down horizons. On Saturday, Nov. 18, the Bearcats scratched another milestone on their record with a fifth-place finish in the CIF Southern Section Division 2 finals.

Paso Robles entered the finals ranked No. 5 in the CIF-SS D2, a ranking just recently earned after spending most of the season outside of the Top-10. The ranking, and the finish at finals, added another definitive win over PAC 8 rivals Arroyo Grande, which finished ninth.

Arroyo Grande was no slouch, and posted the first finish of the day for our local teams with an eighth-place finish for senior Luis Jazo at 15-minutes-13.4-seconds. Paso’s fastest runner, junior Pablo Cortes, finished 26th at 15:33.2. To understand how competitive the Division 2 field is, the math on that: 18 runners finished in the 20 seconds between Jazo and Cortes.

Junior Jacob Moran (15:48.8), senior Ian Young (15:50.1), sophomore Damian Gavilan (15:50.5), and sophomore Michael Hernandez (16:04.9) rounded out the scores for Paso, placing 38th, 40th, 41st, and 66th overall, respectively.

The finish put the Bearcats on the bus to the CIF State Cross Country Championships on Nov. 25, where they will face even tougher competition and an Arroyo Grande team looking for revenge. Results from the Bearcats’ performance at State can be found at

The Road to State was Littered with Victory

On November 2, the Bearcats earned their fourth consecutive PAC 8 League title by edging out a motivated Arroyo Grande Eagles team, 35-36.

“It was a man-on-man dogfight to the finish,” assistant coach Jon-Paul Ewing wrote about the event, “with each team putting a finisher just in front of the others. They beat our No. 1 and No. 5 runners, while we edged out their No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4. With a half mile to go, the Eagles had us beat. But a big surge at the end pushed us into the lead.”

The Beaten Path Ahead

With only a single senior — many seniors graduated from the 2016 team — 2017 was supposed to be a building year, according to Ewing.

With the success of the current team, expected to return almost
every runner, the future is very bright. The girls cross country team also looks to return a large number of runners with more experience as Paso Robles remains a force to be reckoned with on the three-mile courses.

UPDATE: Making their way to the CIF State Meet, the Bearcats were met with intense competition at a level they had not previously seen. It was an all-out barnstorm battle to the finish, with Paso Robles finishing in 14th for CIF State Division II. PRHS junior Pablo Cortez finished in 43rd overall with a time of 16-minutes-12.5-seconds.

The result completed the 2017 cross country season, but Ewing already had his head spinning with plans for the spring track season, and said his runners are already on the fast track.