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Hodgens takes his talents to state

Teams turn in best efforts in program history
By: Staff Report
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FOLSOM _ Whitney High cross-country runner Ryan Hodgens will have to represent the Wildcats on his own at state, Nov. 26, but the teams showing at the Sac-Joaquin Sections Meet was the best the program has seen. Hodgens, a junior, turned in a time of 16:38 to finish seventh overall, and fourth among individual qualifiers. The top three teams and five top individual runners qualified for state. Hodgen’s teammate, Jacob Zufelt, missed qualifying by six seconds. The boys team placed sixth, and the girls 9th to finish in the top 10. Neither level has finished higher at sections. “Everyone on the teams ran great,” said cross country head coach Mark Snow, “and I couldn’t ask for a better group of runners.” And almost all of them will be back in 2012. Hodgens, Zufelt, and Jenica Dodge were All-CIF medalists. Dodge, a sophomore, finished in 10th place, just three seconds behind the last individual qualifier. Following Dodge were junior Megan Hall (24th, 21:03), sophomore Taelor Hatch (59th, 23:02), junior Ali Oranen (61st, 23:22), and senior Nicole Kreutzberg (63rd, 23:47). Also running for the Widcats was freshman Faith Gottenberg, “(The girls) have steadily improved, and they made this year our best year ever,” said Snow. “With some new additions next year, our girls should contend for a league title.” Hodgens and Zufelt are both juniors. Backing them up at sections were sophomore Nathan Wellington (11th, 17:03), sophomore Nicholas Pulido (54th, 18:32), and sophomore Devin Valdez (62nd, 19:12). Also running were senior Sean Donovan, and junior Alec Bigelow. Snow said his squad is looking forward to track and field, and that has him excited for the season as well.