Jamie Boutté may be just a freshman but she has already accomplished more than most runners will in their high school careers.
She will compete in the California Interscholastic Federation State Championships in Fresno on Saturday. Her Division III race is set for 11:10 a.m.
Boutté finished in fifth place with a time of 19:14 in the Central Coast Section Division race at Toro Park on Nov. 10, besting her personal record by 40 seconds as her sister cheered her on.
“I am excited for her,” said teammate Bridget Brown during a training session Tuesday at Christmas Hill Park. “This is a big accomplishment. She is really competitive and has continued to improve.”
At the start of the season, Boutté never imaged she would have had such success during her rookie year.
“I didn’t really think I would be here,” she said. “I’ve been just trying to work on improving my time.”
The soft-spoken Christopher High athlete first started running when she was in third grade, but her true love is soccer. Boutté uses her experience on the cross country and track teams as a way to keep her in shape.
Both her brothers, Justin and Jason, and sister, Jessica, raced competitively so it was only natural for her to follow in their footsteps.
Boutté credits her older sister, who also ran at the state meet when she attended Nevada Union High School in Grass Valley, for giving her advice and preparing her to race.
“My sister definitely has given me a lot of advice,” Boutté said. “She is kind of like a trainer for me because she knows a lot about running since she has done it herself.”
One of the biggest things she learned from her sister was to be in control while racing.
“She told me to run my own race and not get frustrated,” Boutté said. “I always get nervous a little bit, but sometimes being nervous is good. She told me to look ahead on the course.”
Christopher High coach Mike Bonomi knew she had a chance to do something special when he first met her in summer practice before the season started.
“I could tell she was a good runner watching her run right away,” Bonomi said.
Bonomi said he plans to have her train hard early on and then have an easier schedule leading up to the state race.
“We pretty much want to go max effort with full recovery,” Bonomi said.
Those who haven’t trained for cross country or track don’t know all the work that goes into the preparation, he said.
“They got to want it,” Bonomi said. “For them to run here, it is hard. It takes a lot of dedication and hard work. It is painful at first. It is not like other sports where you can get better just by doing drills. I am not going to go through the motions. I am going to push you to get better.”
Apparently, Boutté is also not content about just going through the motions.