REV’s Star Runner Eli Opsahl wins State Championships

“Run for your team before you run for anything else. You are always going to have success when you run for something bigger than yourself.” – Senior Eli Opsahl

Eli Opsahl 2017
Gene Leon-Guerrero photo provided by Pat Hafley, Redlands Unified School District Coordinator for Athletics


The weekend after Thanksgiving, while most people were recovering from Black Friday shopping, Redlands East Valley’s Eli Opsahl was in Fresno, California, doing something many only dream about. With his nearly 15-minute time for a five kilometer run, he was crowned CIF state champion. Now, back on campus, Eli reflected on his weekend and what is to come.

Eli Opsahl is the first person in REV’s history to win an individual state championship. He was greeted with much praise and applause back at school. But, as always, Eli was humble about his experience. He said that it was a “satisfying feeling with all the hard work of the season and the team behind me.” For Eli, it is not just about him, but it is also about his team. He said that it was “a solid experience for REV’s cross country.”

Eli has always run, but only started running competitively four years ago during his freshman year at REV. He was apart of the running clubs in Moore Middle School and Mariposa Elementary School and from a young age has competed in Redlands staples like the Run Through Redlands and the Moore Mile. This continued passion for running stems from his favorite thing about running: finishing. He stated, ”my favorite thing about running is the satisfaction you get after conquering a milage, conquering a race.” He continued, ”but also running alongside a team. That’s who I train with everyday. I have my younger brother and eight to 10 other guys that I ran with on a daily basis that make it worth it.” 

Not only is Eli a great runner, but he is also a leader on the cross country team. He says that running as a captain has “made a big impact on his outlook and confidence on how the season has ended up.” As the only senior on the varsity team, he showed a lot of pride in the young men that he leads. He praises them by saying that they are, ”a very mature, solid and intelligent varsity group and really as a team as a whole.” He continued to show his humbleness when saying that it was not a hard group to be a leader in.

As Eli continued to talk, any passerby could see the admiration and love that he has for his team and runningmates. He continued to say praise after praise for his team and even credited them for his success this season when he stated, “to be able to lead kept me disciplined and that helped be for my end of the season. Its helped me keep my discipline and have confidence and is really what I run for. Run for your team before you run for anything else. You are always going to have success when you run for something bigger than yourself.”

As for his future, he is open to anything. As of the time of publishing, he has not made a commitment to any school and does not know where he wants to continue is running career. He has received offers from Southern Utah University and UC Berkeley and is expecting offers from UCLA and University of Oregon. Wherever he ends up, he will undoubtedly be successful.

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