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Pickren qualifies for state cross country championships

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Only a sophomore, Folsom’s Spencer Pickren has qualified for the CIF state cross country championships on Saturday at Woodward Park in Fresno.

Pickren placed eighth in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 championships on Saturday at the Willow Hills course in Folsom. Pickren was the first underclassmen to finish the race, as his time of 16 minutes, 32.6 seconds was just a few seconds shy of his personal-best time. Pickren was happy to qualify for state.

“My goal was to reach the state championships by my sophomore year,” Pickren said. “I’m excited to make it. I was confident before the race, because I was confident in my training. The plan was to exhaust myself by pushing as hard as I could and that’s what I did.”

Pickren now hopes to have a strong run on Saturday.

“Woodward Park is one of my favorite courses,” Pickren said. “Earlier this year, I ran 16:22 there so I’m hoping to at least run a 16:20 this time.”

Pickren led the varsity boys’ team to a ninth-place finish. Behind Pickren ran Eric Anderson (25th, 17:41.7), Israel Alfaro (49th, 18:39.6), Michael Welsh (53rd, 18:51.9), Kevin Lasalle (56th, 19:01.9), Andrew Callanan (62nd, 19:19.3) and Brennan Pelayo (69th, 20:45.8).

The varsity girls placed sixth in the Division I race. Mariam Samara placed 22nd in 21:05.3 and was followed by McKayla Hodson (33rd, 22:00.7), Tirza Cai (34th, 22:02.6), Sanya Gowda (37th, 22:24.3), Kylie Crebar (51st, 23:19.6) and Elizabeth O’Donnell (57th, 24:02.1).