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Athlete Spotlight: Blake Bay runs for glory

Freshman breaks school record to become fastest boy on campus

Right. Left. Right. Left. 

Inhale. Exhale. 

Freshman Blake Bay steadies his breathing as he runs uphill. 

Right. Left. Right. Left.

Breathe in, breathe out. 

Bay pushes towards the top of “Killer Hill.” The strain of running uphill can be felt on his calves as he crests the peak and then starts downhill.

Cross Country demands considerable year-around effort, particularly when aiming for the top spot in the CIF Central Section Division 5 Championships, and in your first year of high school. Blake Bay, a freshman at Fresno Christian High School, has etched his name in history as the first freshman in FCS to get that coveted title. This achievement is a result of Bay’s unwavering commitment and work ethic.

Blake Bay, ’27, leads team prayer and huddle moments before the Central Section Championships race. (Benson Elbert)

A typical day for Bay kicks off with time with God, delving into his Bible for inspiration and strength, before embarking on the day ahead. His day then unfolds with seven rigorous classes, eagerly waiting for the much-anticipated cross-country practice. Whether circling the block near the school or navigating the courses at Woodward Park, Bay and his teammates log numerous miles.

Upon returning home, Bay faces the dual demands of academic rigor and athletic prowess, diligently tackling an ever-mounting pile of homework. This routine has defined Bay’s lifestyle since the second grade, a testament to his enduring passion for running and a good work ethic.

Throughout this journey, Bay finds unwavering support from his parents, both of whom serve as his motivation. Bay says he looks up to his parents, crediting them for keeping him on the right path.

Blake Bay, ’27, participates in the Footlocker West Regional Meet, winning the freshmen race by 20 seconds on Dec 2. He ran a 16:45 5k on a very difficult hilly course. (Giada Gilmore Young)

Despite the grueling nature of running, Bay’s preparation for races involves a rigorous 2-mile warm-up, drills, stretches, and strides—preceded by a heartfelt prayer for the well-being and success of himself and his teammates. Bay races up to a 5K, which is .1 longer than 3 miles. Even after crossing the finish line, he keeps running for a “light” cool down of two more miles. Additional stretching is part of his routine to alleviate the strain on his muscles.

In addition to being a student academic leader, he became an athletic leader when the team’s upperclassmen captains were out of commission. 

Bay’s confession of being inflexible is his challenge, but to others, he exudes invincibility, appearing tireless. His dedication to prayer, discipline, and hard work sets him apart, epitomizing a verse he values from Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for man.”

As Bay faces the rigorous path and formidable competitors, he never loses sight of his ultimate purpose—to glorify God. This steadfast belief fuels his determination to utilize the gifts bestowed upon him to honor the Lord.

Blake Bay, 27′, runs a strong start at the Footlocker West Regional Meet. (Giada Gilmore Young)

Even when exhaustion sets in and pain becomes noticeable, Bay persists, drawing strength from his faith. His ability to endure through the pain is a testament to his unwavering commitment to dedicating each run to the glory of God. 

Bay’s impact extends far beyond the course; he serves as the lead runner and spiritual guide for the team. As a leader both athletically and spiritually, Bay motivates and encourages his teammates with his kind and uplifting demeanor. He is well-admired and looked up to not only for his athletic achievements but also for his humble disposition and good humor. In addition to being a student academic leader, he became an athletic leader when the team’s upperclassmen captains were out of commission.

Bay consistently displays good sportsmanship to his teammates and competitors. During the Valley Championships immediately after crossing the finish line, Bay shot up a quick prayer, giving God the glory. Then he walked over to the water table and begun to grab a few cups for the boys who followed behind him. He congratulated them offering them water. The exhausted boys gasped “thank you” and downed the water as Bay humbly served them.

When asked about his teammate, Junior Jacob Pimentel commented that Bay is always encouraging. On and off the track Bay has always been there even to talk and give advice.

Two of the team’s male lead runners, Blake Bay, ’27, (right) and Jacob Pimentel, ’25 (left). (Benson Elbert)

“Blake is one of the most encouraging people I’ve met in sports as he is not only there for himself but he wants to see others succeed as well,” Pimentel said.

Bay’s accomplishments have generated much excitement and pride, reinforcing his positive influence not only on the cross-country course, but also within the school community. He even served the student body as the resident chaplain on campus during his eighth grade year, leading chapel services once a week and being someone that the students went to for prayer requests and Biblical encouragement. Bay demonstrates Christ’s love and a servant’s heart while being one of the top athletes at the school and in the state divisions.

At the outset of his freshman season, numerous observers anticipated a successful cross country journey for him. As the season drew to a close, many parents, staff, and students asserted that it had indeed proven to be his most impressive one yet. Bay astounded everyone with his performance at one of the initial races, the Woodbridge competition. He completed 3.06 miles in a mere 15:45, surpassing expectations and injecting a new level of competitiveness as a freshman.

Blake Bay, ’27, has been running since the second grade. (Benson Elbert)

A standout accomplishment this year was Bay breaking the 16-minute barrier in the 5k at the Woodward Park course. That smashed the long standing school record set in 2008 by 2:02. Blake ran 16:11 at the Central Section Championships and then finally broke the 16-minute barrier at the State Meet the following week.

Bay also emerged triumphant in the Central Sectional Divisional Championships D5, securing first place with an impressive time of 16:11. Bay maintained the lead throughout the entire race, with the other boys trailing behind him. Looking ahead, his aspirations include winning a national championship during his high school career.

Bay has already left his mark by breaking the 1600-meter school record for boys at the annual Winter Mile. This race was held on December 5, 2023, at Buchanan High School with 107 runners in the boys’ event. He broke the school record by 17 seconds, with the previous record being 4:49 set by Tyler Laird in 2013.

Blake Bay, ’27, crossing the finish line during the Central Sectional Divisional Championship, placing first.  (Benson Elbert)

Without fail, after every race, regardless of how tired he may be, Bay always crosses the line and cups his hands and gazes upward.

This action carries significance as Bay revealed: “As I completed the race and the exertion was over, the words that escaped my mouth were ‘Thank you, God.'”

Although uttered in a volume only audible to Bay himself, the gesture is visible to all witnesses. Bay always gives glory to God, no matter what circumstance.


Bay’s 2023 Cross Country Accomplishments & Times:

2 Miles
24  9:54.0PR Aug 12 Fleet Feet Summer Sizzle
10:16.1 Oct 20 Clovis North Twilight Invitational
10:16.1 Oct 20 Clovis North Twilight Invitational
10:19.1 Nov 1 Central Valley JV Championships XC 2023
2.14 Miles
11:35.2PR Aug 25 Sierra Pacific 2 Mile
2.56 Miles
10  14:44.0PR Sep 9 Morro Bay Invitational
3.06 Miles
10  15:47.7PR Sep 16 42nd Annual Woodbridge Cross Country Classic
5000 Meters
13  16:55.5 Sep 22 Golden Eagle Invitational
15  16:14.4 Oct 7 Asics Clovis Invitational
16:22.6 Nov 6 Northwest Sequoia League Championship
16:11.2 Nov 16 2023 CIF Central Section Cross Country Championships
16  15:48.7PR Nov 25 2023 CIF State Cross Country Championships
Statistics and Times from Cross Country Profile 23-24 Season: Blake Bay


Blake Bay, ’27, poses with Coach Young and his first-place medal. (Giada Gilmore Young)

After every race, Bay indulges in what he affectionately deems the “best restaurant in the world” – In-N-Out Burger. His downtime hours, when not immersed in practice or competition, are spent in the company of family and friends or simply “resting.” On special occasions, as a treat, Bay can be spotted enjoying Homemade Butterfinger Ice Cream.

Bay lives a God-honoring life, dedicated to every endeavor for the glory of God. He consistently gives his utmost effort in all aspects of his life, maintaining a steadfast commitment to school and going the extra mile in every run. His unwavering dedication is guided by God’s word, the Bible.

For Bay, Psalm 56:11 holds a particular significance: “In God, I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me?” This verse serves as a cornerstone of his faith, providing strength and assurance. With this perspective, Bay runs his life encouraged by the belief that there is nothing and no one to fear.

When asked about his future goals, Bay said, “To continue to work hard, glorify God, and build a better relationship with God.” 


To read more from the Feather visit [Podcast] FC EagleCast, Episode No. 2 – Scott Falk or Fall sports rally 2023.

For a wrap-up on the last cross country meets visit Wrap Up: Cross Country competes in League Championships and CIF Victory: freshman standout takes first in impressive debut

For a video on the last cross country meet visit [Video] 2023 CIF Cross Country Championship

For more on Fresno Christian Sports view the athletics page.

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About the Contributors
Chloe McDonald
Chloe McDonald, Editor
First-year journalist Chloe McDonald, ‘24, is excited to begin her writing journey with The Feather Online. Chloe values teamwork and helping the campus stay informed. Chloe enjoys art of all mediums and serving her school through leadership class, with all glory to God. In her free time, she can often be found painting, lifeguarding, or walking her dog.
Giada Gilmore Young
Giada Gilmore Young, Photojournalist
Giada Gilmore Young sprints through life with a camera in her hand. She is a freshman at Fresno Christian Schools and a first-year photojournalist on the Feather. Gilmore Young owns her own business called Interwoven, which sells creative and upcycled goods. She plays piano for the worship team, runs Track & field and Cross Country, and serves as a student leader.
Benson Elbert
Benson Elbert, Photojournalist
Benson Elbert, ‘26 is an aspiring first year photojournalist for The Feather. Elbert aspires to improve his writing and photography skills with help from the team. He has worked in his family's breakfast restaurant, Batter Up Pancakes,  since he was a kid. Elbert has also led the campus through the leadership class since his freshman year, hoping to continue to lead till senior year. After high school he aspires to be a computer programmer and design videogames.
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Comments (3)

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  • T

    TylerDec 20, 2023 at 11:29 am

    Yea Chloe great article.

  • J

    Jacob MarshDec 12, 2023 at 2:09 pm


  • R

    RFDec 8, 2023 at 7:14 pm

    Thanks Chloe for highlighting Blake Bay! It’s been really fun watching Blake complete this year and see him break the school record for the 1600! We have a lot of special athletes at FC and Blake is definitely one of them!