By Mitch Stephens
Jim Tracy and the University girls cross country team captured their ongoing record 10th Division V state championship and fourth in a row Saturday at Woodward Park in Fresno.
Though it was University’s highest winning total with 114 points (low score is best in cross country) over Thacher of Ojai (124), Lick-Wilmerding (130) and Branson of Ross (141), Tracy was ecstatic.
Under clear, calm and cool conditions, the Red Devils were paced by senior Jennie Callan, who took 10th while covering the rolling 3.1-mile course in 19 minutes, 6 seconds, well back of repeat individual winner Julia Maxwell (17:26).
Callan and senior Lizzy Teerlink (20th, 19:39) are the first University girls to ever be part of four state titles. Other contributors were sophomore Grace Euphrat-Weston, junior Sydney Locksley and junior Izzy Simon.
Tracy, who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease 30 months ago, continues to coach from a wheelchair.
Many thought he would step down after the team’s 2010 title, but he continues to persevere. He’s helped greatly by assistants Kevin Cruikshank, Alex Mason, Brittany Garrett and Hilary Kiger.
“This one feels particularly good, because we weren’t at all the favorites,” Tracy said. “We really had to rise above and they wouldn’t lose . . . I’m definitely declining and it’s been a struggle for me this year, but it’s all worthwhile to see the looks on the girls’ faces, knowing they went all the way – knowing they are champions.”
Lick-Wilmerding earned a state medal (the top three teams and 10 individuals do so) and its top finisher Molly Dicke earned two, by placing ninth overall (19:05).
Lick’s Andie Von Eschen also had a strong race by placing 13th in 19:16 and teammates Both Dicke and Von Eschen are juniors.
Other point-getters for Lick-Wilmerding were senior Hannah Rosenthal, sophomore Julia Thompson and freshman Maddy Nakada.
Convent of the Sacred Heart placed 10th and the Cubs were led by sophomores Camilla Bykhovsky (25th) and Sarah Selzer (31st).
A pair of San Francisco male runners also earned medals, including University senior Connor Clark, who took third in the Division V race in 15:40, just behind individual champion Trevor Reinhart of Marin Academy.
St. Ignatius senior Ciaran Murphy placed ninth overall in Division III in 15:40, the same mark as Clark. The Wildcats placed ninth overall with 252 points, well back of champion St. John Bosco of Bellflower (70 points).
Other contributors for the Wildcats were senior Patrick Cummins (16:25), sophomore Ben Osipow (16:26), freshman Kevin Lehr (16:28) and senior Eugene Kwan (18:14).
Also in Division III, Sacred Heart Cathedral placed 21st with 520 points. The Irish were paced by junior Brendan Foti (16:48).
In Division I, Lowell’s boys placed 22nd out of 23 teams and were paced by juniors Brian Nguyen (17:12) and Donald Chen (17:15). Lowell’s girls were also 22nd out of 23 teams and the Cardinals were led by
senior Leila Rad (22:08) freshman Kristen Leung (19:52).