Ocean View’s Ryan St. Pierre doesn’t have any free time.
But he always has a minute for those around him.
That is the amazing thing about a kid who has stacked his plate with seemingly every program in the school catalog.
St. Pierre’s love for his school goes back to the seventh grade, when he attended the school’s Open House. The teachers, who have their own busy lives, not only opened their doors to him, but they wanted to meet all of the prospective students.
“I felt like a family there, and it was two years before I went to the school,” St. Pierre exclaimed. “I was like, ‘Wow, if this is anything like what high school is going to be like, I would absolutely love to go there.’”
Orientation made St. Pierre feel at home, and he was ready to make the “unpopular choice.” Most of the kids at Mesa View Middle School planned to attend Huntington Beach High. Blown away by his first encounter, St. Pierre began campaigning to get his friends to go to Ocean View.
Getting others involved is at the heart of who St. Pierre is. He is the captain of the cross country and track teams, the ASB president, and the president and founder of the United Christian Club. He is also the vice president of Social Society, a club that works with autistic students to better their social skills.
During freshman orientation, a showing of senior exit interviews impressed St. Pierre. When the graduating seniors were asked what their biggest regret was, the answer that kept coming up was that they didn’t get involved enough.
“I just remember at that point saying that I’m going to get involved with every single thing that I can,” he said. “If you look at my plate right now, that’s exactly what I did.”
Delving exclusively into his athletic undertakings, it’s easy to recognize the passion with which St. Pierre approaches all of his endeavors. He has the full trust and respect of his teammates and Coach Daniel Hurtado, who took over the program last year.
Hurtado noted that St. Pierre is largely responsible for the program’s growth, as he helped to recruit as much as half of the lower-classmen.
“I remember the first week of class, he had a piece of tape on his backpack that said, ‘Join cross country,’” Hurtado recalled. “This season, he said, ‘Coach, can we make flyers so that I can hand them out during lunch and during break?’”
“It’s his passion. It’s his words, but it’s his actions, too.”
Ocean View was quite literally starting from the bottom when St. Pierre arrived. Two years before he entered high school, the Seahawks finished last out of 73 teams (1:44:07) at the Orange County Championships.
During St. Pierre’s first two years, the Seahawks raced against one another, burning themselves out instead of running strategically. When he became captain in 2015, St. Pierre decided enough was enough.
If Ocean View was ever going to improve, they would have to run as a team. He even urged fellow top runner, Eric Jimenez (now running at Santa Ana College), that they should sacrifice their best workout to bring the team along.
“I think one of the biggest plagues that anyone can have is selfishness,” St. Pierre said. “Cross country is so great because it has a huge individual aspect, but it has an even bigger team aspect.”
Hurtado appreciates the selfless side of St. Pierre, saying that whoever takes on his leadership responsibilities next year has some huge shoes to fill.
“The thing that I admire the most about him is that it’s never been a ‘me’ thing,” Hurtado said. “I’ve told other friends that coach cross country…that every coach and every athlete needs to have a Ryan St. Pierre on the team. He just changes everything.”
It has paid dividends, as Ocean View is in position to win its first league title since 1983. St. Pierre, Edwin Montes, David Brito, Hector Arteaga, and Jesus Fuentes have led the Seahawks to an undefeated record in dual meets to this point.
Fuentes was asked what a league title would mean to the legacy of this transformational senior class.
“To me, a big change in the history of Ocean View,” Fuentes said. “It’s something that I would look back many years later and tell my kids, ‘I was on that team to win a league championship.’”
Others have recognized the Seahawks’ rise. Thus, Ocean View will be running in the prestigious Boys’ Sweepstakes race of the Orange County Championships on Saturday morning at Irvine Regional Park. The Seahawks have also broken into the CIF-SS Division 3 rankings at No. 10.
“We started out [last] season with Ryan St. Pierre becoming captain,” Fuentes said. “He’s been helping us through thin and thick, striving for us to get faster times, striving to get Ocean View to be on the map.”
“We’re really happy to be in [the Sweepstakes] because without any of these races, no one else would understand what Ocean View is about and what a Division 3 school could do in running.”