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This Woodbridge High Cross-Country Star Shatters Multiple State Records

Aidan Antonio is currently the fastest freshman in California and the fifth-fastest freshman runner in the state’s history
Kailah Cortez
Freshman Aidan Antonio is an athlete on the Woodbridge High Cross Country team. He is dedicated to his sport as he is one of the top three in the nation, sub-division 16 and one of the top ten athletes in the Pacific Coast League.

As the last 400 meters of the track came up, Aidan Antonio used all his strength and pushed through to the finish line, leaving all the other runners in the dust.

Among the class of 2027, Woodbridge High cross-country star Antonio currently holds the title as the fastest freshman cross-country runner in California, having broken the previous freshman record for three miles by 46 seconds. Antonio now holds the fastest three-mile time for a freshman in Woodbridge High history.

“So he ended up at 14:35.7 if I recall correctly. And put in perspective, the fastest athlete Woodbridge has ever had as a freshman was at 15:21,” cross-country coach Bryan Pacheco said.

Pacheco remarks that Antonio’s level of commitment is one not often seen in freshmen, and compares Antonio to a professional athlete. “He’s one of those really hard workers where you can tell he’s 100% focused and dedicated,” Pacheco said. 

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Antonio’s dedication is evident in his achievements. “Last year, I almost got all-American which is top 25, but I got 26,” Antonio said.

Even though Pacheco had high expectations of Antonio, he didn’t expect hm to beat the Woodbridge High record. “To get a freshman to go sub-16 is just, that’s extremely rare. To go sub-15, we’ve never had that,” Pacheco said.

Antonio was one of the top ten athletes in the Pacific Coast League (PCL), as well as the only freshman from Division II to qualify for the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF). He also went to state as an individual, which is extremely rare. 

“[Antonio is] one of the top three in the nation,” Pacheco said.

Beyond breaking cross-country records, Pacheco shared how Antonio inspires his fellow teammates. Antonio’s work ethic and calm personality make him naturally inspirational and he motivates his teammates to continually improve their abilities.

“[Cross country has] taught me the importance of hard work and discipline. You [have] to stay consistent every single day because it really adds up,” Antonio said.

So what motivates Antonio to keep improving? “My teammates, they’re always there to help push me and motivate me every day,” Antonio said. 

Antonio and his teammate, sophomore Aiden Zavala, usually switch between the first and second positions in races. 

According to Zavala, Antonio pushes him to be better. “He definitely helped me improve [my speed]. Like I said, I just aimed to break 15 minutes, but because of him pushing me to go faster, I technically broke 14:30,” Zavala said.

Antonio and Zavala’s speeds are incredibly similar. However, since Zavala is a sophomore, Antonio is still the fastest freshman. The healthy competition between Antonio and Zavala helps them both improve and stay on track.

“[Antonio is] very mentally strong. Say if our team is having a bad race, he can still pull through and not let things get to him and still race hard,” Zavala said.

Antonio’s love of cross country allows him to have a rigorous training schedule which usually consists of all seven days of the week.

“It’s really fun to go run around places and not really know sometimes where you’re going and you just get to go on an adventure every single practice,” Antonio said.

As a freshman, Antonio looks forward to continuing to improve and increase his speed as he advances through his high school career.

This story was originally published on Golden Arrow on February 2, 2024.