SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — It seems like Brett Gotcher has always been the top local finisher at the Wharf to Wharf Race, even when he technically wasn’t.
Like when the Watsonville native, graduated after an All-American collegiate career at Stanford University, moved to Flagstaff, Ariz., to run professionally. Gotcher returned for every fourth Sunday in July.
Though Gotcher wasn’t technically a local, he still was.
Because even though the country knew him as the fourth-fastest American ever to debut at the marathon distance and an adidas-sponsored athlete who raced across the world, Santa Cruz still recognized him as the Aptos High School Mariner who was a two-time Central Coast Section champion in cross country and who ran the fifth-fastest high school two-mile time in the nation as a senior.
The only question: Would this be the year that Gotcher, the top local of his generation, would win?
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