Swain finishes fantastic freshman year at state

Sebastien Swain competed in the CIF state cross country championships in Fresno on Nov. 25, 2023. (Photo: Don Gosney)

Piedmont High School freshman Sebastien Swain finished 67th in Division 4 at the California Interscholastic Federation championships on Nov. 25 at Woodward Park in Fresno.

Swain, the Highlanders’ only representative at the state meet, came home in 16 minutes, 41.3 seconds. That time on the 5,000-meter course is the fastest by a Piedmont freshman in 20 years, according to coach Steve Zirkelbach.

“Seb got out well and came through the first mile in 5:10, just ahead of what his target pace was – but not so much faster that we had any worries about his ability to sustain the effort for the next two miles,” Zirkelbach said. “He was at 11:34 at the 2.1 mile marker, and was in 97th place.

“Over the last mile, Seb passed 30 runners.”

Swain averaged 5:21.9 per mile.

Sebastien Swain and Coach Steve Zirkelbach. (Photo: Becky Spies)

“He and I talked about him running a time somewhere around 16:30 for the 5,000 meter course,” Zirkelbach said. “Based on his performance at the (North Coast Section) meet and the workouts he had done, we thought he was ready to run that fast. He would also have the benefit of being surrounded by others who would also be seeking to run just as fast.”

Swain had finished 13th in the Division 4 race at the previous weekend’s NCS championships to qualify for the state meet.

“Sebastien has an impressive amount of poise and concentration when he is racing,” Zirkelbach said. “We see it in practice and have observed this focus throughout the season.”

Nearly 1,000 boys competed in five divisions at the state meet. The top overall time was Evan Noonan of Dana Hills, who finished the Division 3 race in 14:35.3. The top finisher from the Bay Area was Lucas Cohen of Albany, who finished second in the Division 4 race in 14:45.9. Cathedral-Los Angeles’s Emmanuel Perez won the race in 14:45.5.

Sebastien Swain mid-race in Fresno on Nov. 25, 2023. (Photo: Don Gosney)

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