Eagles claim second straight section cross country title

-A +A

For the second straight year, Vista del Lago’s cross country teams have qualified for the CIF state cross country championships.

The varsity girls won the Division III Sac-Joaquin Section title on Saturday for the second consecutive year and for the seventh time in the last 10 years, outscoring Del Oro, 39-50, while the varsity boys ran second to Nevada Union, 61-68. Both teams will compete Saturday at the state championship race at Woodward Park in Fresno.

“The girls were awesome,” Vista coach Robert Grove said. “They were packed really tight and were just fantastic. I’m super excited for the boys. They proved they deserved to be there. Thursday we thought we’d be going off the sub-section results and they wouldn’t have made it.”

Rachel Burgoyne led the girls, as she placed fourth overall in 20 minutes, 16 seconds. Anna Vogtmann ran sixth in 20:32.4 with teammates Natasha Evans and Kendall O’Daniel hot on her heels in eighth and ninth places in 20:34.2 and 20:35.1, respectively.  The team’s final scoring runner was Sophie Pelletier, who placed 12th in 20:44.9, just 28 seconds after Burgoyne crossed the finish line.

Abby Carter (20:48.9) and Maya Barragan (21:45.2) also ran for the team.

It’s been another great season for the Eagles, who arguably have one of their best teams one through seven in school history.

“We had a strong summer, and set some pretty high goals,” said  Burgoyne. “We kept each other accountable. We knew how much work we had to do.”

While it’s not a big shocker the girls defended their section championship, the boys making it to state was more of a surprise. The team steadily progressed throughout the season and came within seven points of winning a second straight Division III title.

“I’m really happy to make it to state,” junior Jonah Petersen said. “It was my only goal going into it; I just wanted to score points for my team. We were ready to put it all out there.

“I wasn’t sure at the beginning of the season if we would make it. I didn’t know what division we were going to be in, but once I found out we were in Division III, I knew we had a decent shot.”

Petersen led the Eagles by placing fourth in 16:48.7. Ethan Karr ran 12th in 17:17.3 with teammate James Junaidi not far behind in 13th in 17:19.2. Stephen Northouse (18th, 17:32.8) and Andrew Zimny (21st, 17:34.4) finished off the scoring runners for the team. Jake Solak (17:36.3) and Brenden Jones (18:06.7) also ran.

 Now it’s on to Saturday’s state championships where the teams are hoping for good things.

“I’m sure the girls would love to be on the podium,” Grove said. “The guys are probably hoping for a top-15 finish. We’re going to go and do what we can do. We feel the girls have a chance to do some special damage.”

Burgoyne is excited for the state championships.

“We have pretty high goals for state,” Burgoyne said. “We want to win Division III, and our reach goal is to qualify for Nike Nationals, which is a top-three finish in all divisions. We want to push ourselves to be the strongest team possible. We’ll be ready.”