The phrase "staying in the moment" came up more than once when Campolindo High's Aidan Goltra talked about his cross country running this season.
"By staying in the moment, there is less pain because there are less negative thoughts floating around in your brain ... and there is more relaxation," the junior said.
Goltra stayed cool under pressure in the California Interscholastic Federation Division III boys state championship race, and the result was an individual state title. He also won the North Coast Section Division III championship race in wet conditions at Hayward High.
For his accomplishments, Goltra has been named Bay Area News Group's East Bay Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year.
"He really has the ability to relax and center himself," Campolindo coach Chuck Woolridge said. "That's how he becomes so poised in the midst of competition."
Goltra made a key move with approximately 1,000 meters to go in the 3.1-mile Division III state championship race at Woodward Park in Fresno. He held off Myles Smith of St. John Bosco-Bellflower by less than a second to win with a great time of 15 minutes, 18 seconds.
In his NCS race, Goltra made a critical move in the final mile of the 3-mile course to win by 20 seconds with a time of 15:30. He had the fastest time by an East Bay runner at both the CIF and NCS championships this year.
This past summer, Goltra transferred from Las Lomas to Campolindo. He said the reason was "a combination between athletics and academics, not exclusively one or the other."
Woolridge said he first found out about the transfer when Goltra sent him an email Aug. 2, the day Goltra registered at Campolindo.
"My first response was, 'Oh, somebody's pulling my leg.' But when I called the registrar, I was obviously excited to work with a talented athlete like Aidan," Woolridge said
At the Diablo Foothill Athletic League championship race, Goltra placed second to Miramonte's Tyler Hanson, who broke the Hidden Valley Park-Martinez 3-mile course record. But Goltra won his next two races and produced the first East Bay boys individual state cross country title since 2007.