Coaches Scott Luke and Andrew Kastor congratulate Toby Qualls seconds after the finish of the race. (Photo courtesy Don Qualls)
By Don Qualls
On Nov. 27 at 10:40 a.m., the gun sounded for the Division 5, California Cross Country State Championship. One hundred and eighty four high school boys from all over California had fought their way to this race. They had already won their leagues, their divisions, and then their section of the state to earn the right to race in the state’s final race. Now these 184 boys would face each other to see where they would rank statewide.
For Mammoth High School sophomore Toby Qualls, a mid -season injury almost ended his dream. Sidelined for six weeks, he was unable to run to train. Although he had healed, he needed more time to regain his pre-injury speed. Cross training and great coaching helped, but could not make up for the lost time running. There was simply not enough time to get back to 100 percent before the races leading up to, and including the State Championship race. But Qualls never gave up and continued to train hard where he could.
At 7 a.m. the morning of the race, Mammoth superintendent Rich Boccia personally called Coach Luke and Qualls to wish them luck, and then it was time for the race.
Qualls finished 32nd out of 184 runners with a time of 17:00 flat for the 3.1 mile course. Qualls passed three boys in a wild sprint at the end of the race to secure a ranking of 32nd, a huge finish for the Mammoth sophomore!
Coaches Luke, Friedl, and Kastor wanted to congratulate Qualls on his accomplishments this season. His dedication and accomplishments speak for themselves. Out of the 31 boys who beat Qualls, 15 were seniors, and most of the rest were juniors. Qualls has three more years of track, and two more years of cross country, before the full extent of his high school accomplishments will be known.