Castillo is thankful for all her success leading up to Thanksgiving Day and this weekend's CIF State Cross Country Championships.
She's put together two of the greatest performances in Santa Clarita Valley cross country and track history - a 16:56 course record at Central Park in Saugus and 16:28 mark that only trails Samantha Ortega's 2014 SCV three-mile record by less than eight seconds, and recently signed a scholarship to continue her education and athletic career at Texas Christian University next August.
She's not done quite yet though.
In a sport greatly impacted by the work and time you put in, Castillo has done all the "right things," and on Saturday morning, she'll put all her individual junior high and high school running accolades behind her for a shot at team and individual state titles this weekend in Fresno, Calif.
"She works harder than anyone because she wants it more than anyone," says Ryan Tate, Castillo's boyfriend, fourth in the 2015 state cross country final, and an SCV legend in his own right. "She's willing to do anything to be a champion ... I told her to be patient and don't kick too early."
The first and only athlete in SCV history to walk away from Woodward Park with both crowns in one season is the great Kaylin Mahoney, a five-time state champion and four-time All-American in the sport, and her Saugus sisters - old and new - sit just one championship behind San Francisco University's state record for most cross country championships.
In so many ways, Mariah Castillo, the Saugus girls and the record books have lined themselves up in perfect unison for what could be the most historic day in SCV high school sports history.
The only piece missing?
The race, which features 2017 CIF Southern Section Champion and defending state champions Claremont and one of the best runners in the country in Capistrano Valley senior Haley Herberg, the CIF individual champion ahead of the Saugus senior last weekend.
On Saturday morning, Castillo and her teammates, along with her fellow Saugus male compatriots, the West Ranch boys team, and the Canyon boys squad, will travel up North looking to extend the valley's rich tradition in cross country.
There's no greatest storyline than the Lady Centurions quest to rewrite California's high school cross country record books.
Castillo will toe the line on Saturday, along with seniors Mackenna Park, juniors Jaqueline Cascione and Amaya Aguilar, sophomore Kaela Berretta, and freshman Hannah Fredericks and Julia Pearson, with a similar vision - the Saugus girls' 10th (and program's 11th!) state title.
Twenty-seven points separated them from the CIF Southern Section championship last week, a huge improvement from their early-season form, and if the Saugus girls' nine past state wins have one common thread, it's that they always pull through when it matters most in Fresno.
On the boys side a record three Foothill League teams - Canyon, Saugus and West Ranch - qualified for the state final.
The highlight at sectionals was Canyon junior Ethan Danforth winning the individual championship. He'll be eyeing a top 10 finish and the SCV high school junior record of 15:21, held by Golden Valley's Kristian Martinez and Saugus' Brian Zabilski.
on the team side, Saugus and West Ranch are looking to add another podium finish to their decorated resumes.
Saugus has finished in the top three four times in the last seven years, while the Wildcats third in last year's edition.