SAC-JOAQUIN GIRLS SECTION MEET PREVIEW – 11/08/05
Last Saturday was a beautiful day for racing, but Frogtown is behind us, and the SJS Section Meet returns to Friday competition at the ‘thrill-a-week’ Willow Hill cross country course adjacent to the campus of Folsom High School. The Top 8 teams in each division and the top individuals vie for berths at the CIF State Meet on November 26th at Woodward Park in Fresno. For the girls, Division 1 and 5 can qualify two teams to state; Divisions 2, 3, and 4 can qualify three teams. The five top individuals (whose teams don’t qualify for state) also get entry to Fresno, provided they finish within the Top 12 in their race.
Although history shows anything can happen in cross country, there’s not as much mystery as normal over who the qualifying teams will be for the state meet on the girls side. But the battle for section champion among those teams will be the source of high drama on Veteran’s Day.
Over the season, four favorites have emerged in each of the top four divisions, but are there chinks in the armor? Incumbents Davis (D1), Vacaville (D2), St. Francis (D3), and Riverbank (D4) are all facing serious challenges to oust them from office. Fairfield is hounding Davis, while Ponderosa and Oak Ridge will try to break up Vacaville in the D2 race. Surprises abounded at Frogtown in D3 and D4 with the #5 team in the state, St Francis, falling to Union Mine in Division 3 by 8 points, 41-49 and Escalon shocking the #1 team in state, Riverbank, by a count of 56-62. Could lightning strike twice? We’ll try to break it down below.
Individually, race fans will be treated to Alex Kosinski (FootLocker contender, 4th at state XC in 2004) going for her 2nd consecutive D2 title, a great battle unfolding in Division 1, and two super sophs waging war in Division 3. But the highest drama surrounds the Division 4 race. Only twice in Section history has any girl won the section cross country title all four years: Jen Schindler of Ponderosa from 1993-1996 and Caitlin Chock of Granite Bay from 2000-2003. Senior Amanda Moreno of Escalon (2003 Div 4 XC State Champion and 2005 2nd place State 3200m in track) will try to become the third girl, but she will face the most difficult challenge of her cross country career. League foe (and valley neighbor) Maritza Garcia of Riverbank is stride for stride with Moreno and has actually won the last two encounters: TVL league finals and subsections at Frogtown (by just 5 seconds). Garcia was 8th in the state last year in Division 4. Right now, Garcia and Moreno are the top two runners in the state in Division 4. This race between these two fine competitors goes off at 12:37.
DIVISION 1 GIRLS – two teams advance – 11:22 am
SUBSECTION RESULTS(Previous Ranking)
1.(1) DAVIS SR. 54, 2.(2) FAIRFIELD 74, 3.(3) MODESTO 116, 4.(5) SHELDON 167,
5.(7) FOLSOM 173, 6.(6) LODI 176, 7.(8) KENNEDY 205, 8.(4) YUBA CITY 210
(Erica Cuellar #2 for Modesto did not race, Danielle Piatkiewicz #4 for Fairfield did not race)
The training wheels come off on Friday. Davis High’s super freshman Maddie Hall (3rd at league) and Jenna Fritz (5th at league) are on their own…Chelsea Reilly has bigger fish to fry and probably won’t serve as course escort this week. Shouldn’t matter. Hall and Fritz, who haven’t even set foot in a high school yet - Davis is 10th-12th grade - are two of the best rookies in the section and run with confidence way beyond their years. Look for the Blue Devil pack of Hall, Fritz, Johan Weeks, and Merek Kessler to leave most of the Division 1 field in their wake and bring home the section title to DHS for the 4th year in a row.
Not to play devil’s advocate, but don’t count out the talented Fairfield Falcons yet. Showing no sympathy for the Devils, the Falcons are good enough to keep another streak intact: this could be Davis’ fourth straight section final decided by less than 10 points. (The last 3 years the Blue Devils have won by 3, 2, and 8 points. Puzzling, but It’s the nature of their game.) Fairfield could put three in the top ten (the Bradshaw sisters and Danielle Jackson), and if Piatkiewicz is running 100%, it’s ‘Game On’ as Danielle will score about 14 points less than #6 Nicole Rendon. We had a devil-of-a-time deciding, but let’s put the blue dress on Davis by a score of 50-55.
Modesto may look like they’re not in contention for state, but Erica Cuellar (7th at sections last year) will be back on Friday and that could mean a 25 point scoring drop right there. Other keys: Katie Drueen (11th at sections in 2004) is going to have to get in front of more black shirts for some two-point swings – and she’s got the talent to do it. And most of all, it’s ‘showtime’ for Ali Battig and Christina Veneman.
The rest of the field will be jostling for places. Sheldon did a good job taking 4th at subs, but we’ll go with Folsom for 4th here, thinking a smaller meet might help the Bulldogs. They’ll begin their scoring with two pretty low numbers and senior Karyn Lawler should have a better race on her home course. That wasn’t the normal Yuba City team we’ve been seeing all year long so Amanda Sammut and Erica Bergkamp need to bounce back strong. The Honkers appear to be just 4-deep right now which puts a ceiling on how high they’ll place. Good job to Lodi this year led by Jillian Carli and Desirae Gonzalez and to Kennedy who justified their #8 ranking and should score better when Delta Kirkland gets over her cold.
This promises to be a good one. Maria Malone, the best of a classy crop of SJS freshman and latest in a long list of Folsom female phenoms, is one of the favorites. She’s the Yolo Invite and Delta League champ, but she’ll be joined out front by some savvy veterans. Two-time state 1600m qualifier Erin Lewis of Modesto was just eight seconds back last week and wouldn’t mind retiring with a section title. Erin won the Modesto Metro League and Artichoke Invite. Maria and Erin know that Chelsea Reilly will be right up with them this week. Reilly, MEL Champ and winner of the Lagoon Valley and Roughrider Invites, is hoping to improve on her 5th place finish last year and be a factor at state. After those three, there is a very short gap back to the next group and any of these ladies could have their day. This list includes: Fairfield’s Danzel and Caprice Bradshaw, Casey O’Day of Folsom, Lauren Lewis of Yuba City.
For individual qualifiers this is the heartbreak division. Last year Erica Cuellar was 7th in the section and didn’t advance to Fresno because there were 5 ‘individuals’ in front of her. Davis and Fairfield have so many frontrunners that it might play out different this year. If Modesto is the team that doesn’t advance, four of the individual berths should go to Malone, O’Day, and the two Lewis girls (Erin and Lauren), who could all finish Top 7. For the fifth berth, Sable Browning of Merced and Erica Cuellar and Katie Drueen of Modesto are looking like the three most likely candidates, assuming they can be in the Top 12.
D1 GIRLS TEAM PREDICTION / RANKING (Nov. 8)
DIVISION 2 GIRLS – three teams advance – 10:57 am
SUBSECTION RESULTS(Previous Ranking)
1.(1) VACAVILLE 70, 2.(4) PONDEROSA 80, 3.(2) OAK RIDGE 93, 4.(3) WOODCREEK 146
5.(5) GRANITE BAY 150, 6.(7) ROSEVILLE 151, 7.(nr) ROCKLIN 193, 8.(6) OAKMONT 197
(Alex Ciaraglia #1 for Woodcreek did not race)
The Vacaville team has morphed a little bit into the Woodland team of 2002. The Wolves under Chuck Bruns that year scored 3-5-6-9-43=66 and lost by three points to Davis in the D1 Section finals at Sierra College. Last Saturday, the Bulldogs went 2-7-8-10-43=70 at Subsections in Frogtown. 70 was a winning total, but you get the drift. Bottom line: this is another division that is not completely sewn up yet. The Bulldogs have a great front four with Cecily Lemmon (Runner-up at MEL champs, Bronco and Yolo Invites), Annaliza Rizo, Lindsey Dubs, and Sophie Vasquez. One person that can put an end to all this with a solid run on Friday is #5 Christina Lopez. Ponderosa is balanced and running well: they could put five in the Top 25 at Sections. Most importantly the Bruins can – and did – put three ahead of Oak Ridge’s #2. Although we’ll take USC over UCLA in football on December 3rd, we have to go with the Bruins over the Trojans here in Division 2 for second. And at the same time, give Pondo and Oak Ridge enough credit that, if things go well, they can at least scare Vacaville for the section title.
Woodcreek’s slim hopes for state rest on the sore foot of sophomore Alex Ciaraglia who was the 4th fastest girl at section finals in 2004. She wants to run in the worst way on Friday and won’t get medical clearance until Thursday. Here are enough ‘if statements’ to make an Intel programmer across Prairie City Road proud, but if Alex gets the OK, if she can run anywhere near her ability, if Jamie Brooks has a race like she had at SFL 2, if Ashley Joyner-Lapree runs well like she did on Saturday, if the Ferrer twins step it up a notch or two, and if one of the other teams stumble, Woodcreek can get to state.
To round out the scoring, we’ll go with Granite Bay (five straight state meet appearances on the line), Roseville (led by Rebecca Hbtamu, 14th at Frogtown), Rocklin, and Oakmont.
This division should get five individual qualifiers as Oak Ridge and Ponderosa won’t take up a lot of top 12 spots. There are four girls that really jump out: 2003 D3 Section Champ Cherise McNair of Sierra (top ten at state in 2004), graceful freshman Stacey Haack of Oakmont, Cailtin Clark of Granite Bay (nicely healed from summertime foot injury), and most-improved Ursy Bergmooser of Rocklin. These four were within 14 seconds of each other Saturday. You can also go ahead and pencil those four in - along with Cecily Lemmon of Vacaville - for the runner-up contenders in D2. We’ll get to the favorite (you-know-who) in a minute. For the fifth and final qualifying spot, here’s our list: Anna Murdock of Rocklin (9th at Frogtown), Samantha Gove of Wood (11th), Karrah Brown of Ceres (that wasn’t her best race Saturday), Lauren Peterson of Galt (she’s been much faster, too), and Jessie Sowers of Granite Bay.
Way up front - on a course she’s quite familiar with - will be area distance queen Alex Kosinski of Oak Ridge. Alex is entering a postseason with some lofty ambitions. She is one of the state favorites in Division 2 and underrated at #13 in the FootLocker West regional rankings. She has been within 30 seconds of two-time national runner-up Marie Lawrence twice this year – 26 seconds at Granite Bay and 19 seconds at Clovis. At 2004 FootLocker West, only four girls were within 30 seconds of Mel and at FootLocker Nationals only 7 girls were within 30 seconds of her, so it’s unlikely there are 12 faster runners in the west. Last year she was the SJS section XC champ, 4th place at state, 3rd team All-Region at Footlocker West, 4th place at USATF Junior Olympics, and 2nd in the state at 1600 meters with track PR’s of 2:11/4:49/10:35. Scary to think she’s faster this XC season than last.
D2 GIRLS TEAM PREDICTION / RANKING (Nov. 8)
DIVISION 3 GIRLS – three teams advance – 1:02 pm
SUBSECTION RESULTS(Previous Ranking)
1.(3) UNION MINE 41, 2.(1) ST. FRANCIS 49, 3.(2) DEL ORO 61, 4.(4) PLACER 75
5.(nr) EAST UNION 156, 6.(nr) VANDEN 197, 7.(8) ST. MARYS 213, 8.(7) DEL CAMPO 234
(Amy Lackner, top 5 for St. Francis did not race)
To quote the band P.O.D., "Call me dumb, but I didn’t see it coming". After a mostly forgettable SVC league finals, in which Union Mine’s team time was two minutes slower than St. Francis’ team time at Delta Lg. (same course/same weather), the Diamondbacks were firing on all 7 cylinders at Frogtown and upset St. Francis 41-49. Athena Gillen and Hillary Trainor rebounded nicely to join freshman Samantha Dougherty in the Top 10 and most importantly the Lauras (Sosa and Mahaffey) were Top 20. If the D-Backs can repeat that exact performance, there’s going to be some trouble in Troubie-ville. The Troubadours will hope that a healthy Amy Lackner (7th at sections in 2003, about #4 right now) can be the difference. A Lackner finish in the Top 12 would make up the necessary 8 points along with last year’s #2 Brittani Lum showing a bit more of her past form. Which way is this one going to go? Red state or blue state? We’ll just have to wait for the polls to close and the last precinct to report on Friday. If you can believe the exit polls, it’s St. Francis in a cliffhanger. Unless it comes down to Florida.
The third and final state berth is between Placer and Del Oro. Lauren Jabusch becomes very important for the Eagles to keep that #5 number low, with Randi Evans and Merie Paddeck needing to stay right where they are and score about 20 between them, or less. Del Oro is going for their 3rd state trip in a row. Placer misses #2 Elise Hinman now more than ever, but there’s still hope for third place. 14 points is not insurmountable. Michelle Dadigan might be able to drop 4-5 points, with the bulk of the numerical responsibility falling on White, Stoltenburg, and Nittler. Wouldn’t hurt for Elise Ramirez to get ahead of Jabusch either.
East Union of Manteca was pretty impressive 1 thru 4 (:50 gap) which should earn the Lancers 5th place. Theresa Sianez is East Union’s #1. Vanden should take 6th place with St. Mary’s edging Del Campo for 7th.
In a situation very similar to last year with team qualifiers Placer, Del Oro, and St. Francis taking all the top placings, it’s highly unlikely 5 individuals will make it out of D3 in 2005. Two for sure will be El Camino’s Hillary Kigar and Jenny Eiremo. Last year Kigar won the Frogtown frosh/soph while Eiremo was back in 20th place. Saturday Eiremo was 4th while Kigar battled Del Oro’s Brianna Atkins all the way to the bleachers finishing 4 seconds behind at 19:01. Atkins had the day’s 7th fastest overall time, Kigar was 8th. Kigar mentioned Monday she is very comfortable at Folsom and loves the fast surface. It should be Atkins and Kigar opening up space again on Friday, but going by her Delta League race, Nicole Mendoza of St. Francis does well at Willow Hill, too. Jordan Burke of Placer (sub-20 at Frogtown) is going to state whether her team makes it or not and she certainly has section title aspirations. The fourth and fifth ‘individuals’ should be Brittanie McPherson of Vanden of Michelle Dadigan of Placer, but they have to move up about five spots to finish Top 12 and get their pass to Fresno.
D3 GIRLS TEAM PREDICTION / RANKING (Nov. 8)
DIVISION 4 GIRLS – three teams advance – 12:37 pm
SUBSECTION RESULTS(Previous Ranking)
1.(4) ESCALON 56, 2.(1) RIVERBANK 62, 3.(2) COLFAX 74, 4.(3) BRET HARTE 74
5. INDERKUM 128, 6. HUGHSON 152, 7. WATERFORD 201, 8. LORETTO 207
(Georgina Arnold #3 for Riverbank did not race)
Georgina Arnold returns to the Riverbank line-up on Veterans Day. She was sorely missed on Saturday, but this is the race that counts. Riverbank, headed for their fourth straight section title, probably won’t score in the 20’s like they have in the past, but look for a winning margin of around 35 points - lower if #5 Brettany Harrison can save points. Big props to Escalon’s Delucchi, Alves, Courtwright, and Arnold, who lowered the boom on Riverbank last week and will be on their way to Fresno for a fourth straight year themselves if they have another solid race in Folsom.
Now we come to a match-up that will be decided by base miles, hard training, and mental toughness. Bret Harte and Colfax are going down to wire for the third and final invitation to Fresno. They were dead-tied at Frogtown, and if you ‘score’ the section meet with these eight teams and insert Georgina Arnold where she belongs, you get another tie, 79-79. This is almost like the final day of Ryder Cup Golf with key head-to-head match-ups everywhere. Bret Harte’s #1 Tamilyn Lee and Colfax’ #1 Sarah Clark were only 9 seconds apart. Further back, Bret Harte’s and Colfax’ #2 runners were only 1 second apart, the #3 runners were 1 second apart, and the #4 runners were, you guessed it, 1 second apart. There was a bigger gap between the two team’s #5 runners, but Brooke Lawrence of Bret Harte was 3rd in the section last year, so that’s likely an aberration. And for the tiebreaker: each team’s #6 had the same time with Colfax slightly ahead. If the sections were last week, Bret Harte would have missed state by a lean. Lesson: run hard, you never know. Brooke Lawrence will score lower for Bret Harte, but it didn’t appear Colfax was at full-strength (?). It could come down to freshman Danielle Stam, who has been Colfax #1, and Sara Mikesell of Bret Harte who has revitalized the Bullfrogs. These teams seem almost inseparable, but we’ll pick another tie, and this time Bret Harte in a lean.
Last year’s Division 5 section champ Erika Keylon of Inderkum is entered at sections, but didn’t race in Frogtown. Even without her, Inderkum, led by Katie Whitmire is the best of the rest, with Joel Bernard’s Hughson group in close pursuit.
As mentioned above, the girl’s highlight of the day will be the duel between Maritza Garcia and Amanda Moreno in this race. Moreno will be going for her family’s seventh individual section athletic title. Brother Vic, an all-American wrestler at Cal Poly, won two section titles in cross country in the late 90’s and one in wrestling. Powerful Garcia has been healthier this year compared to last, and runs with drive and loads of confidence. One of the five individual spots will go to either Sarah Clark of Colfax or Tamilyn Lee of Bret Harte, depending on whose team does not make Fresno. The other four qualifiers could be Mary Wagner of Golden Sierra, Jessica Nelson of Amador, Caitlin Brandt of Central Catholic, and Katie Whitmire of Inderkum, with Cheryl Tanis of Hughson and Leti Dominguez of Waterford having a good shot, too.
D4 GIRLS TEAM PREDICTION / RANKING (Nov. 8)
DIVISION 5 GIRLS – two teams advance – 12:37 pm
1. JIM ELLIOT CHRISTIAN 23, 2. BIG VALLEY CHRISTIAN 34
Lauren Jimison of Capital Christian should walk away with the section title as no one was within two minutes of her at subsections (21:08). Tracey Morrison of Big Valley Christian is the fastest runner in the team competition, but Jim Elliot Christian put four ahead of Big Valley’s #2 and looks to repeat as D5 section champs. Both teams will go to Fresno.
COMBINED SJS GIRLS RANKINGS(last rank-10/20)
TOP 25 COMBINED GIRLS TIMES AT SJS SUBSECTIONS – 11/5/05
Overall Time Div Place in Div/Name/SCHOOL
1 1814 2 1 1 1852 Alex Kosinski OAK RIDGE 18:14
2 1843 1 1 1 425 Maria Malone FOLSOM 18:43
3 1849 2 2 2 3880 Cecily Lemmon VACAVILLE 18:49
4 1849 4 1 1 3561 Maritza Garcia RIVERBANK 18:49
5 1851 1 2 2 901 Erin Lewis MODESTO 18:51
6 1854 4 2 2 3343 Amanda Moreno ESCALON 18:54
7 1857 3 1 1 2360 Brianna Atkins DEL ORO 18:57
8 1901 3 2 2431 Hillary Kigar EL CAMINO 19:01
9 1911 1 3 3 430 Casey O'Day FOLSOM 19:11
10 1915 1 4 4 358 DANZEL BRADSHAW FAIRFIELD 19:15 AVD
11 1918 1 5 5 359 CAPRICE BRADSHAW FAIRFIELD 19:18
12 1918 1 6 6 1299 Lauren Lewis YUBA CITY 19:18
13 1918 2 3 3 2197 Cherise McNair SIERRA 19:18
14 1924 2 4 4 1886 Stacey Haack OAKMONT 19:24
15 1928 2 5 5 1592 Caitlin Clark GRANITE BAY 19:28
16 1931 2 6 6 2047 Ursy Bergmooser ROCKLIN 19:31
17 1934 1 7 816 Sable Browning MERCED 19:34
18 1935 3 3 2 2790 Nicole Mendoza ST. FRANCIS 19:35
19 1941 1 8 7 269 Chelsea Reilly DAVIS SR. 19:41
20 1942 1 9 8 232 Maddie Hall DAVIS SR. 19:42
21 1942 2 7 7 3897 Annaliza Rizo VACAVILLE 19:42
22 1943 1 10 9 227 Jenna Fritz DAVIS SR. 19:43
23 1946 1 11 10 369 DOMINIQUE JACKSON FAIRFIELD 19:46
24 1946 2 8 8 3870 Lindsey Dubs VACAVILLE 19:46
25 1946 2 9 9 2079 Anna Murdock ROCKLIN 19:46