When Omar Garcia took over as the Wasco girls cross country coach four years ago, he established one primary goal for the program.
He wanted the Tigers to win a section championship.
Garcia, the 2018 BVarsity Girls Cross Country Coach of the Year, helped his team hit that target this season as Wasco won the Central Section Division III title.
It marked the first section championship for the Tigers in 21 years.
“For four years, since I had these kids, my seniors, the goal was always to try to come together and run as a team and win the Valley title,” Garcia said. “That was our main goal.”
Right from the start of his tenure Garcia saw the potential for Wasco to return to its former glory, but he realized that it was going to be a long-term project.
“I saw we that we had the makings of a good team,” Garcia said. “We just had to put the pieces together. I knew that we weren’t going to win right off the bat, so I had to convince my juniors and seniors to mentor the younger girls, so we could build a program that could flourish without me and without them. They bought into that.”
While winning the section championship was Wasco’s biggest achievement, it wasn’t the Tigers' only noteworthy accomplishment.
They took first place at the Independence Invitational and Wasco Invitational, and were runner-up to Highland at the Wolf Pack Invitational and to McFarland at the South Sequoia League Championships.
“The key to our success was that the girls really became a family,” Garcia said. “If you’re running for a family member you’re going to put out more energy because you don’t want to let each other down.”