Scott Kruetzfeldt is one of the top runners for Santa Rosa-Maria CarrilloHigh School's cross-country team. He took time away from his sport in early October to help his family save a 10-acre property that was surrounded by fires. Now he hopes the Pumas, ranked No. 3, can win a state title. (Photo courtesy of Kruetzfeldt family) Can use online Can use in other DFM publications

SANTA ROSA — Scott Kruetzfeldt had big plans for his senior year as one of the stars on Maria Carrillo High School’s highly ranked cross-country team.

Now like so many Santa Rosa kids, the teen is struggling to regain balance in the aftermath of destructive wildfires that continue to reshape the lives of thousands.

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Kruetzfeldt, 17, considers himself fortunate compared to the victims who died or lost their homes. But he and his family put themselves at risk to ensure their 10-acre property on the backside of the leveled Fountaingrove neighborhood was saved.

The property represents an emotional bond to the Kruetzfeldts because 1½ years ago they suffered a devastating loss when four family members died in a small plane crash at Columbia Airport in Gold Country. The runner’s father lost a brother, mother, sister-in-law and stepfather. Scott said the family was flying to the Bay Area on a double date when the incident occurred.

Kruetzfeldt’s father and grandfather threw themselves into building a home in a wooded area of Sonoma County to help cope.

“The fear of losing that in the fire after losing so many family members, it was almost ready to be too much,” Scott said. “I’m not …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports

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