When Seth Totten came to Golden Valley as a track and cross-country runner, he had no idea the legacy he would leave behind for both programs.
“We really had no idea what we were working on. I had no idea what I was a part of, or what I was doing for the school’s athletic reputation,” Totten said
Golden Valley’s athletic programs have struggled with success since the school opened, but the track and cross-country programs have been two of those shining stars.
“I showed up and worked. I showed up and listened to my coaches, Rob and Chris Evans and committed to the daily process,” Totten said.
It’s that process that earned Totten several first-team all Foothill League honors and made him the school record holder in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters. Totten was also SCV runner of the year in 2008 and 2009 and led the 2008 cross-country team to the first of four consecutive state championship meets in school history.
One would think it ended there, however there were two more Totten’s coming into his programs, with twins Chelsey and Weslie waiting in the wings.
“We knew both Chelsey and Weslie ran youth track and had experience in the sport. We knew they ran fast times but we just wanted them to come in and be low key for the first couple of years,” Coach Evans said.
That thought proved to be futile as Chelsey and Weslie put the girls programs on their backs and won their share of hardware as well.
Chelsey was the 2012-13 Foothill League Champion in the 1,600 as well as the MVP for the cross-country team from 2009-2012. She also was named 2012 track and field MVP and holds three school records in the 800 (2:13), 1,600 (4:53), and 3,200 (10:41).
Weslie, not to be outdone, helped the Grizzlies to the 2013 track league championship as well as being named rookie of the year in the program her freshman year (2010) and earning the outstanding long distance award in 2011.
All three Tottens have continued their careers at the next level. Seth and Weslie share the road for the UC Riverside Highlanders and Chelsey competes for the Sun Devils of Arizona State.
Last week, Seth finished third in the Big West Conference Finals while Weslie placed 15th. Three runners, three college scholarships, three siblings pushing each other to constantly get better.
“I loved running with Weslie! It was so nice to have a running partner. I don’t think we ever got tired of it because it was just normal and we never knew anything different,” said Chelsey about running with her sister and possibly having an internal competition.
“Our whole family runs so it’s motivating to train because if you don’t go on a run someone will ask you why you didn’t. Christmas mornings we’d all go on a family run after we opened gifts”, said Weslie.
Coach Evans remembers their work ethic as being second to none. “It’s what made them successful. They work they put in before and after practice, the dedication to all aspects of the sport and their success speaks volumes to the fact that they paid attention to the small details.”
Sometimes those small details and work ethic forced other girls into a difficult position.
“Both Weslie and Chelsey set the work ethic for the team and it was hard for some girls to live up to. Their hard work set the expectation for others to meet,” Evans said.
Their bond was very strong and it’s those bonds that keep teams together, however there were times when the girls would bicker a little bit recalls Weslie.
“I have to admit some of our runs Chelsey and I would bicker the whole time and it would really annoy the other girls on the team.”
The Tottens’ success didn’t just come from the family. They had a couple of great coaches to push them. Rob and Chris Evans built the cross-country and track programs at Golden Valley into perennial league championship contenders.
“Coach Evans prepared us for college because a lot of the runs we do in college are the same workouts we did in high school so it wasn’t much of a change,” Weslie said.
Chelsey agrees with her sister when asked about her former coaches. “They were huge with their support and they believed in me which helped me believe in myself. No matter how I did in a race they always had something positive to say which has helped me run at a higher level now that I’m in college.”
With examples like the Evans brothers and each other to push them on a regular basis it’s no wonder the Totten family left a lasting legacy on the Golden Valley running programs.