Although the official start of track and field season is months away, West Ranch coach Sara Soltani already has a goal for her girls team: a CIF title.
The Wildcats competing in Division 2 this season instead of the Division 1 group they belonged to last season gives Soltani even more reassurance that her objective can be completed.
“I think they’re hungry for something bigger,” Soltani said. “I’m hoping we can make that happen, especially since we have a lot more depth on our field event side. But I have to wait for the season to play out.”
The Cats won the first-ever Foothill League title in program history last season and remained competitive throughout the postseason and into the CIF State meet.
Natalie Ramirez made it the farthest of all athletes, earning ninth place in shot put at the CIF State finals meet.
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Additionally, West Ranch returns Shelby Schauble in long jump and triple jump, Sophia Hoelzel in distance and London Lewis in sprints among other talented athletes.
The team has been practicing since late November and is aware of the focus on a CIF title, but Soltani will drive it home during the Wildcats’ first official meeting in February.
“I’m going to make it very clear,” said Soltani. “I don’t really care for a league title. League doesn’t do anything for you. I want them to see the ultimate picture and strive for something greater.”
The boys team is predicted to be talented in the distance and hurdle events and should yield a large amount of postseason qualifiers in those events.
West Ranch is also welcoming a new co-head coach. CJ Albertson, a distance runner who finished sixth at the 2011 CIF state cross country finals, will share coaching duties with Soltani.
Albertson competed for Buchanan High School of Clovis and went on to have a successful career at Arizona State. He is also the husband of former Golden Valley runner Chelsea Albertson (formerly Totten).
“He’s very passionate about the sport, he’s still an extremely great athlete, the kids already look up to him,” said Soltani. “I can tell he’s going to have a bright future in his career.”
Below is a complete list of Foothill League track and field teams and what division they will be competing in. Unlike other spring sports, track and field divisions are dictated by school enrollment.
Valencia: Division 1
Canyon: Division 2
Golden Valley: Division 2
Hart: Division 2
Saugus: Division 2
West Ranch: Division 2