Granite Falls senior Isaac Cortes is the top Tigers boys runner. (Katie Webber / The Herald)

Granite Falls senior Isaac Cortes is the top Tigers boys runner. (Katie Webber / The Herald)

Purchase Photo

Q&A with Granite Falls cross country runner Isaac Cortes

The Tigers’ senior ran a mile in just over 6 minutes as a 5th-grader and is a devoted church member.

When Isaac Cortes was a fifth-grader at Mountain Way Elementary School in Granite Falls, he was asked to run a mile as part of his physical education class.

Cortes set a Mountain Way school record of 6 minutes, 9 seconds that still stands.

“Teachers found out about that and once I got to middle school, they told me I should come out and run,” said Cortes, now a senior at Granite Falls and one of the top 1A cross-country runners in the state.

Cortes, who estimates he can currently run a mile in around 4 minutes, 27 seconds, has put in the work to be great.

“Isaac has made steady progress throughout his career,” first-year Granite Falls cross country coach Steve Lantz said. “He’s not afraid to work and he does what we ask him to do.”

At the Class 1A state meet last fall, Lantz said Cortes chased down two other runners in the final 200 meters of the 5,000-meter race, clinching a third-place finish.

“He’s a fierce competitor and performs well when the stakes are high,” Lantz said.

The Herald spoke with Cortes last week to discuss his running, his plans for the future and the enrichment he gets from his faith and mission trips.

What’s your favorite cross country course of all the ones you’ve competed on during your high school career?

I really like the Nike Twilight Invitational course (at Marysville’s Cedarcrest Golf Course), mostly because it gets us prepared for state, with state being at a golf course (Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco). It’s got some hills and and it’s similar to the state course.

Speaking of courses, the coaching staff and teams at Granite Falls are working on a new cross country course on campus. How’s that going?

Steve has always wanted us to have our own home course. He’s gotten permission from the school to start building a trail and to cut down some trees and put in some gates. He and some of our team members have laid down some wood chips for it. We’re pretty excited to have our own course, because when we race on it (a home North Sound Conference meet on Oct. 17) we’ll really know the course.

What are your plans for next year?

I definitely want to run in college. I feel like my passion for running won’t just stop, and I want to keep doing it for as along as I can. I took a visit to (NCAA Division II) Saint Martin’s. I’m looking at (majoring in) business administration. I’m taking some business classes at Everett Community College right now.

Outside of running, what are you passionate about?

I’m a part of the youth group at Holy Cross Catholic Church (in Lake Stevens) and I’ve been on mission trips to Montana and Tijuana in Mexico helping to build houses. It’s a great time to self-evaluate and think about how we have so much, and how we can take a lot of it for granted.

You’ve demonstrated an ability to have enough left in the tank at the end of races to chase people down in the last few hundred meters. What does it take to be able to do that?

At that point in the race, everyone’s hurting as much as I am. I don’t really think about it in that moment, but your whole season has all been for that moment. It’s really easy to just stop and to say, ‘I won’t go for it,’ but I might as well and try to do something great. It’s really easy to be afraid of those moments, but sometimes you can do something really special.

Talk to us

More in Sports

Lake Stevens went 5-0 this spring and reaffirmed its status as the premier high school football program in Snohomish County. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Prep football season in review: Top teams, games, performances

The top 5 teams, top 5 games and top 15 performances from the abbreviated high school football season.

Jackson's Amanda Wingert connects with a pitch during a game against Everett on Thursday afternoon at Henry M. Jackson High School in Mill Creek on April 8, 2021. The Timberwolves won 14-0. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Return of spring sports brings excitement, challenges

Teams in Wesco played their first games since 2019 this week after last season was canceled.

Prep sports roundup.
Prep results for Friday, April 9

Prep results for Friday, April 9: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report scores… Continue reading

Jackson's Helena Ah-Loe is high-fived after a home run against Everett Thursday afternoon at Henry M. Jackson High School in Mill Creek on April 8, 2021. Jackson dominated Everett, 15-0. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
GALLERY: Jackson scores nine in the first, thumps Everett

The Timberwolves moved to 2-0 on the season behind a big day at the plate.

Kevin Clark / The Herald

***Silvertips Special Sections*****
Yan Khomenko signals for substitution Sunday night at Xfinity Arena in Everett, Wa on September 6th, 2015

Sports:  Silvertips Special Section
Shot on: 09/06/15
Goncalves’ late goal lifts Silvertips over Thunderbirds

The standout forward’s 7th goal of the season with under two minutes to play gives Everett a 4-3 win.

Marysville Getchell's Bradley Aasen slides into second base while Marysville Pilchuck's Alex Smith reaches to tag him during the game on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 in Marysville, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
GALLERY: Getchell blanks Pilchuck as spring sports return

The Chargers welcome the return of spring sports after an almost two-year absence with a 10-0 win.

The Herald’s Athlete of the Week poll.
Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for March 29-April 4

The Athlete of the Week nominees for March 29-April 4. Voting closes… Continue reading

The Herald's Prep Athlete of the Month.
Vote for The Herald’s Athlete of the Month for March 2021

The candidates are the winners of the four athlete-of-the-week polls during the month.

Snohomish's Kendall Bensen competes in the 100 yard back stroke finishing sixth Saturday evening during the 3A Girls Swim & Dive Championship at King County Aquatics Center in Federal Way on November 16, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Local girls swimmers, divers earn All-Wesco marks

The league held a virtual meet to honor athletes from its Class 4A, 3A North and 3A South divisions.

Most Read