WilL Mariah Castillo Be the one to finally take down Lauren Fleshman's 10:18.21 3,200m Santa Clarita Valley High School record
Athleticism. Speed. Grit. Passion. Heart ... Balls.
Ok, maybe not the last one, but the senior might as well be dubbed a boy, with all respect, as she trains with her Saugus male counterparts in hopes of another state championship run on June 2.
"I feel like right now I'm on track for a great season," said Castillo, a Texas Christian University signee. "I've been doing everything I can to have a different outcome at the end, and I feel like everything is a learning experience to grow to make changes, so I'm ready for the end goal."
That end goal is the 2018 CIF state 1,600m title and Shannon Murakami's SCV high school record.
Murakami holds the record in 4 minutes, 42.50 seconds and won three consecutive CIF Southern Section championships from 2005-07, but could never quite win an individual crown over four laps.
Castillo will get one last chance at an individual state win and the record in two months.
But first, the prestigious 3,200m invitational at the Arcadia Invitational.
There's never been so much hype leading up to a Foothill League runner's attempt at history since Brian Zabilski became the first SCV high schooler to win an individual boys' cross country title.
That was in 2014, when Castillo was just a freshman, still learning the ropes to Saugus' illustrious distance dynasty. Of course she watched her teammate's performance, in awe and hungry for more.
On Saturday she's looking to get a taste of the success she craves most in June.
"I want to definitely get a personal best in the 3,200m," said Castillo. "It's a chance for me to compete with some of the best in the nation and race. It would be a plus to get close or even break Lauren Fleshman's record, too, because she was a great runner and really tough."
The record she's referring to is Lauren Fleshman's 19-year-old SCV high school record in the 3,200m, the oldest female record in SCV history and the highest bar set in SCV high school running.
The survival of Fleshman's record, despite a surge in SCV distance running history, and the fact that Castillo wasn't born when the record was set speaks volumes of how significant this is.
Can Mariah Castillo recapture the magic of her historic third-place finish at last December's Nike Cross Nationals and set the bar even higher than Lauren Fleshman has?
If so, history doesn't stand a chance.
All-Time Top 10 SCV High School List:
FR - Kaylin Mahoney, Saugus, 10:25.40, 2008
SO - Kaylin Mahoney, Saugus, 10:27.70, 2009
JR - Samantha Ortega, Saugus, 10:26.39, 2014
SR - Lauren Fleshman, Saugus, 10:18.21, 1999
All-Time California High School List: