It's often said that as much success as you have remember where you came from. This is very true of one North Orange County Girls XC teams. As much success as they have enjoyed they have never forgotten where they came from and in speaking with their head coach Ed Garcia they came from the "basement" of the Empire league just 10 short years ago. And what a ride it has been for this girls team! In 2007 they placed 4th in the Empire league and 13th in D3 of the Orange Country Championships and the team only had 23 girls overall. This was Coach Garcia's first year and he was motivated to make an impact at this school and for these girls. His daughter had run for Valencia so that provided some extra family intensive!
The team began to see improvement year after year and by 2010 had moved up to 2nd in league and 1st in D3 at the OCC! But as you can imagine Coach Garcia and the Girls now having tasted success wanted more. It would take another 5 years but the girls came together to capture their first Empire League XC Championship in 2015. This team hasn't looked back since then winning the Empire League XC championship now 3 years running with no end in site. Along the way they were moved up into the OCC D2. In 2016 the team enjoyed one of their most memorable moments in team history with a shocking 1st place D2 finish at the Orange Country Championships. They had now captured OCC win and a league win all in the same season! In many ways for this area they had reach the top and were ecstatic. But what now?
Going into this last season 2017 the girls and Coach Garcia were in somewhat of unfamiliar territory. To hide in the shadows and pull the upset could no longer be part of the coach's playbook. They were now on top of the Empire league and OCC, with a target firmly drawn on their backs. Was it a house of cards ready to fall or had the foundation been laid for the construction of an area dynasty? 2017 would go a long way to answer that question. Lead by Alisa Moradian and Emily Jeon the girls were ready to answer the call! Now the team hovers at 60-70 strong and in XC terms one may say that's an army more than a just a team! With tons of pressure and heart to go with it the girls won the Empire league once again. At OCC Coach Ed posed this question to the girls "Previous Tiger teams have put in the foundation (Success, Values & Character) for you, what are you going to build upon it?" Coach Ed speaks about how at the midway point of the race he and his assistant coach looked at each other and had almost conceded that a repeat of the previous year OCC win may just not be in the cards. As they lost site of the girls and ran to find them at the finish the mood was quiet and a bit somber. Tons of "good jobs" and "good efforts: going around the team. Then the results came out on their phones and to their utter joy and amazement the girls had pulled it off again and for a second year in a row had won the D2 Orange County Championships!
It has been a a decade of improvement and progress for the Valencia Girls XC team and we can only speculate on what the next decade in store for them but after getting to know their story I for one would not bet against them! Coach Garcia says the the future looks bright for Valencia girls with a tons of strong returners and that the girls have become accustomed to work hard to obtain results. Their goal for next year is to make CIF Finals for the first time since 1990! Great job girls and good luck in the future! Amazing coaching efforts by Head Coach Ed Garcia, Asst Coach James Kranczyk, and Asst Coach Sarah Linen!
Coaches if you want to share your story with us we would love to cover your team! Every Team has a Story and every Story deserve to be told!