For the first time in Oakdale High School history, the cross country program had a representative compete in the CIF State Cross Country Championships. What made this feat even more impressive was that a freshman was the one to make the historic run. Freshman Karina Prado competed on Saturday, Nov. 26 at Woodward Park in Fresno against 204 of the best long distance runners in the entire state.
“It is crazy to think that I made it to the state finals. I really was not thinking about that to start the year. I just enjoy running,” Prado said.
Prado finished in the top half of the field with an 86th place finish. Her time of 19:37 in the five kilometer race was 11 seconds faster than her previous personal best record of 19:48, set in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Championship two weeks prior.
“I was relaxed the whole time. It is a big deal to represent the school and myself, but I had a lot of supporters there to get me through it,” Prado said, with friends and family in attendance to help cheer her on. “It meant a lot to me that they were there. My brother Daniel has been my inspiration and he helped me warm up and get ready.”
Also in attendance were Prado’s coaches.
“Karina did an outstanding job at her very first state championships. She overcame a lot of nerves at the beginning of the race and finished strong with a personal best time,” head coach Guy Fowler pointed out. “The coaching staff is extremely proud of her accomplishments this year and hopefully she brings that experience back to the team next season. She has earned a period of rest and relaxation, time to be a normal person for a while. It is a long season when you go this far.”
For now, she plans to rest her feet.
“When spring rolls arounds I may be out there for track but we will have to wait and see,” Prado said.