Placer boys, Woodcreek, Vista girls claim cross country titles

Granite Bay's Mersereau, Oakmont's Garcia win Divisions II, III girls races
By: Justin Lawson/Roseville Press Tribune Correspondent
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Following a one-year hiatus from the Sac-Joaquin Section cross country meet, one might think Karlie Garcia would have a solid plan to earn another first-place medal to put next to the one she earned in 2009.

Instead, Garcia went in as she does for any other meet.

“I was just running and trying my best,” Garcia said. “I don’t really set goals for myself. I just run.”

The low-key approach worked as the Oakmont High School junior overcame a horrible start to outpace every other Division III girls runner Friday on the Willow Hill course at Folsom High School with a time of 17 minutes, 41 seconds to claim her second section title. Garcia sat out 2010 because of an illness.

Garcia and sophomore teammate Marisa Carino, who finished fifth (19:26), led Oakmont to third place with 84 points, but it was Vista del Lago that ran away with the team title, its second in a row. Vista’s Madeleine Ankhelyi (18:01), Clare Carroll (18:18) and Sierra Jaeger (18:51) finished second, third and fourth, and Alegra Mendez (20:15) finished ninth. Although, only the top four finishers count toward the team score, each member of Vista’s team finished no worse than 21st, which spurred it to a 29-point total and the win.

Del Oro placed second with 73 points and was paced by Megan Gentes’ time of 19:58 in 10th place.

The Oak Ridge boys and girls placed first and second in Division I. The boys scored 50 points to nip perennial section winner Davis’ 51 points. Dusty Armstrong (16:35) finished second, and teammate Sean McHone (16:39) came in fifth.

The Oak Ridge girls placed two runners in the top 10 with Ellie Velez (19:51) finishing seventh and Rachel Peterson (19:57) eighth. The team scored 65 points to finish behind St. Francis’ 31.

Woodcreek returned to the top of the Division II girls meet with 48 points to get past Vacaville’s 60. Karina Nunes (19:53) finished fourth, followed by Samantha Gomez (19:58) in seventh and Brooke O’Brien (20:14) in 10th.

Katie Mersereau of Granite Bay took the individual crown with a time of 19:27.

Woodcreek took second on the boys’ side with 73 points behind Del Campo’s 30. Hunter Tyler set the pace with a time of 16:22 and a third-place finish while Jon Horvath (16:35) came in sixth and Brandon Biando (16:38) eighth.

“We were hoping to win, obviously, and Del Campo ran out of the top of their heads,” Timberwolves coach Terri McKillop said. “We gave them the best battle we could. We knew it was going to be between the three schools (Del Campo, Woodcreek and Bella Vista) and it was whoever showed up with the best team (Friday).”

Host Folsom finished fourth with 126 points, led by Sam Scheuer (16:45) in 10th.

Placer brought home its first section title since 2006 and ninth overall when it edged El Dorado 92-95 in Division III. The team wasted no time jumping into celebration mode after the win when it spilled down from the checkout point and into the open arms of family and friends in Folsom High School’s parking lot.

“They have built and built all year, and to have them run like they did with two of our scorers actually in a playoff soccer game (Thursday) and to have them come back like they did with those tired legs is just phenomenal,” Hillmen coach Randall Fee said. “We only won by three points, and it was just a total team performance.”

Christian Finkbeiner (16:18) was third to give Placer its only top-10 finisher, but it proved to be enough to reclaim the title. Placer was the runner-up three of the last four years.

Del Oro, which claimed three Division III titles and one Division II crown in the last four years, finished third at 116. Trevor Stephens (16:14) finished second and Sam Baker (17:00) was ninth.

Whitney’s Ryan Hodgens (16:38) finished sixth and teammate Jacob Zufelt (16:49) was eighth.

In Division IV, the Bear River girls finished fourth with 140 points despite not placing a runner in the top 10. Perennial champ Bret Harte won the section with 61 points.

On the boys’ side, Alex Coffman of Bear River (17:10) finished sixth.