Real runners from 'McFarland USA' speak to SH students

The real McFarland Cougars who won the 1987 cross-country state championship in California are shown from left: Thomas Valles, Victor Puentes, Damacio Diaz, Johnny Samaniego, Jose Cardenas, Danny Diaz and Coach Jim White. Luis Partida is not pictured.

SOUTH HAVEN — Two years ago a group of South Haven High School’s cross-country runners got the opportunity to meet two former members of McFarland, Calif.’s cross team – a team made famous in the 2015 Disney movie, “McFarland USA,” for winning a state championship in 1987.

Friday, all of South Haven High School’s students, plus ones from Baseline Middle School, got the chance to hear McFarland alums Thomas Valles and Johnny Samaniego speak.

Real runners from 'McFarland USA' speak to SH students

Thomas Valles, a former member of the McFarland, Calif. cross-country team that won a state championship in 1987, speaks to South Haven High School and Baseline Middle School students, Friday during a school assembly. The McFarland team’s accomplishment was the subject of the 2015 Disney movie, “McFarland USA.” Baseline Middle School students and a number of high schoolers watched the movie before attending Friday’s program.