Goltra Wraps XC at Nationals

Michael Navruzyan, Staff Writer

Aidan Goltra competed in the Cross Country National Championship Meet on December 7, placing  23rd out of 160 of the best athletes from across the country. The event, sponsored by Nike, was held at the Portland Meadows race track in Oregon.

Goltra was excited to have the opportunity to compete in Nationals after placing 1st in the State Championships on November 30. “Being a state champion twice in a row definitely builds confidence. I’m still soaking the championship in, similar to the first one,” he said.

Goltra however, was not satisfied with his performance in the national race. “It was really difficult through the whole thing. Usually, after the first mile of the race I’m not as tired as I was in the Nationals. After the first mile I was really tired and I didn’t pace myself as well,” he said.

Coach Chuck Woolridge continued to work with his star runner leading up to the race. “Aidan Goltra had the same relative mileage that he had in the two preceding weeks. We were shooting for the top 20 heading into the meet. He put himself in position early to achieve that goal, but struggled in the later stages of the race,” he said.

“He held 12th position through the first four kilometers. In the finial kilometer though, he battled against a very talented field, but was not able to close out the same way he had at the state championships,” Woolridge said.

Goltra was one of 5 California individuals selected to compete in the event.  His trip was completely paid for by the event sponsors, including Nike.  Goltra and the other participants flew into Portland on Thursday morning and enjoyed activities at and around the Nike headquarters leading up to Saturday’s race.

In addition to interacting with other top high school runners, participants were greeted by world elites like 2012 silver medalist Galen Rupp, and given national media exposure through interviews and race coverage from Flotrack.org.  Athletes also received a considerable amount of Nike product to commemorate the experience.

Goltra looks to continue his cross country career in college next year while Woolridge will be challenged to fill the substantial voice the state champion will leave behind. “Aidan’s contribution goes far beyond his individual performance. His leadership has inspired a whole new generation of athletes. We’re very impressed with the commitment from the freshman and the sophomores who want to follow in Aidan’s footsteps,” Woolridge said.