Cross Country: University girls win third straight state championship

By Joey Gulino

FRESNO – University High School head cross country coach Jim Tracy pointed to one key with his 2011 girls team.

“I think the key was they said yes to success,” he said. “They said, ‘We will achieve what we have achieved because it’s our turn.’”

That’s now nine turns for the program, to be exact.

Led by senior Bridget Blum’s runner-up individual finish in Division V, University won its third straight state championship and ninth overall on Saturday at the CIF State Cross Country Championships at Woodward Park.

Two other San Francisco-area teams finished in the top six in Division V, including Urban (fifth) and Lick-Wilmerding (sixth).

The University boys also finished fifth in their Division V race to highlight a day that featured 10 City teams competing in Fresno.

But once again, the story starts with the University girls, who added to their record-breaking haul of state titles. University’s team time of 1 hour, 36 minutes and 39 seconds was almost three minutes faster
than runner-up Xavier Prep of Palm Desert.

University outscored Xavier Prep 74-107. In cross country, the individual finishes of runners attached to a team are added up to determine the scores.

“It was really fun,” said Blum, whose time of 18:22 was a personal record. “We all just really wanted to buckle down and win it for the team.”

Senior Holland Reynolds finished fourth individually in 18:50, junior Jennie Callan was fifth in 18:51, junior Lizzy Teerlink finished 25th in 19:58 and sophomore Sydney Locksley wound up 38th in 20:38.

University’s other two runners were freshman Grace Euphrat-Weston, who was 48th in 20:56, and junior Jamie Kerester, who finished 76th in 21:48.

With such a wide array of ages and experience on the team, Tracy knew his girls had to stick to their plan.

“If we put three girls in the top eight, I can’t imagine us losing, because I know our four and five girls are going to come through,” he said.

They needed to, considering the competition that other San Francisco-area schools provided in Division V.

Urban scored 157 points and had a team time of 1:41.56, while Lick scored 167 points and ran a time of 1:42.13.

Urban senior Emma McCune finished 15th individually with a time of 19:42, while fellow senior Jordan Clark was 29th in 20:19.

Urban freshman Molly Carleton turned in a big performance, finishing 34th in 20:33. The other two Blues’ scorers included senior Halle Heiden, who finished 36th in 20:35, and Clara Hendrickson, who was 43rd in 20:47

Lick’s top two runners were right on par with Urban’s, but the Tigers didn’t have the depth at the back end. Senior Lucia Calthorpe finished 17th in 19:48 to lead Lick, while sophomore Andie Von Eschen was right behind her at 18th with a time of 19:49.

The pack of senior Rachel Prensky-Pomer, sophomore Molly Dick and freshman Julia Thompson wasn’t enough to pick off Urban, but the group still ran well. Prensky-Pomer was 39th in 20:44, Dicke wound up 40th
in 20:45 and Thompson was 53rd in 21:07.

In the Division V boys race, University edged out Chadwick High of the Southern Section by two points to finish sixth. After finishing third individually in the North Coast Section Championships, junior
Connor Clark did even better on Saturday, finishing second in the state individually with a time of 15:44.

The rest of the pack finished within a minute of one another. Senior Duncan Hosie was 33rd in 17:05, freshman Ben Tracy was 37th in 17:10, junior James Burton was 51st in 17:34 and sophomore Ned Geeslin was
76th in 18:03.

Together, it was enough to edge Chadwick, which scored 201 points to University’s 199. Geeslin’s performance was particularly critical, as Chadwick’s young but talented middle group of runners only had a 32-second disparity.

Of the other six teams from San Francisco that competed on Saturday, none finished higher than 19th in their respective divisions.

In the Division II girls race, St. Ignatius finished 19th with 450 points, sneaking past 20th-place San Ramon Valley by two. Sophomore Kendall Hacker finished 44th with a time of 19:13 to lead St. Ignatius.

In the Division III boys race, the Wildcats finished 21st with 508 points, led by junior Ciaran Murphy’s 45th-place time of 16:27.

Sacred Heart Cathedral finished right behind St. Ignatius in the Division III boys race at 22nd. The Fightin’ Irish scored 603 points, with senior Austin Quach’s 101st-place time of 17:15 leading the way.

The Sacred Heart girls finished 20th in the Division III race with 490 points, led by sophomore Emily Jay’s time of 19:39, which was 53rd overall.

Lowell sent both its boys and girls programs to the state meet, and each finished 22nd in their Division I race. The Lowell boys scored 607 points, led by senior William Chen’s time of 16:25, good for 61st individually.

The girls, meanwhile, scored 683 points and were paced by junior Susan Li, who finished 119th in 20:41.

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4 Comments on "Cross Country: University girls win third straight state championship"

  1. Kezar for Keeps | November 27, 2011 at 12:21 AM |

    I’m not a huge cross country fan, but it’s nice to see some diverse coverage on the site. Kudos to Joey, whoever that is.

    • I know Joey from working at The Signal newspaper in Santa Clarita down in SoCal. He was in Fresno covering some of his local teams and helped us out tremendously. He’s a great writer and does really good work with track and XC. I’m glad we could get this in.

    • Great article Joey!

  2. Thought that Lowell had some great talent this year, but those state runners are just so good. But congrats to Lowell on their great season!

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