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Vista cross country teams seeking another section championship

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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After winning Sac-Joaquin Section Division III cross country championships a year ago, Vista del Lago will try to accomplish the feat for a second year in a row on Saturday at the Willow Hills course in Folsom.

The Eagles’ varsity girls’ team will be trying to win their seventh section title in the last 10 years. Del Oro is expected to be the team’s biggest rival. The top-three teams will advance to the CIF state cross country championships.

Vista is coming off a solid performance at the sub-section championships last Saturday at Angels Camp, scoring 35 points to win the meet. Del Oro placed second with 71 points.

After not running at the Capital Athletic League championships a week earlier, Anna Vogtmann, Rachel Burgoyne and Maya Barragan returned and all placed in the top-nine positions. Vogtmann, Burgoyne and Natasha Evans ran fifth through seventh in 19:38.6, 19:54.9 and 20:03.07, respectively, while Barragan placed ninth in 20:23.0. Vista's final scoring runner, Sophie Pelletier, placed 10th in 20:24.1.

“Our girls are all healthy and excited for the section championship,” Vista coach Robert Grove said. “They did exactly what we needed them to do on Saturday: get a solid effort in and come away confident. Our varsity boys will be ready for Saturday as well. All we wanted to do was qualify. This Saturday matters.”

The varsity boys placed fourth at subsections, led by Jonah Petersen who placed seventh in 16:51. Other scoring runners for the Eagles included Ethan Karr (24th, 17:39.3), James Junaidi (25th, 17:40.7), Jake Solak (38th, 18:04.9), and Andrew Zimny (43rd, 18:08.2).

The boys will be looking to defend its section title it won a year ago and make it back to the state championships. Del Oro, Nevada Union, and Merced figure to be the team’s biggest rivals.

Vista also had teams qualify from the junior varsity boys, sophomore boys, and freshman-sophomore girls’ levels. The junior varsity boys’ team placed second to Del Oro. The Eagles were led by Michael Pecha and Tanner Mendoza, who ran first and second, overall, in 17:28.8 and 17:31.7, respectively. Also scoring for the team were Alcuin Mowrer (15th, 18:57.1), Joshua Hart (17th, 19:13.8) and Addison Vaquero (18th, 19:14.0).

While the junior varsity girls didn’t have a team compete, Cameron Bader and Kathleen Breeze qualified by placing first and second in the race. Bader finished in 20:52.1, while Breeze posted a time of 21:13.4.

The sophomore boys held down the first five positions in the race to take first overall. Charlie Becker-Ellison (11:32.8), Preston Breeze (11:36.4), Silas Glynn (11:51.7), Michael Dias (11:58.7), and Daniel Granger (12:03.6) scored for the Eagles.

Cali Reese led the freshman-sophomore girls’ team, which also placed first. Reese finished second in 13:57.5. Mikiah Parlier placed eighth in 14:30.9 followed by Catie Timm (11th, 15:05.4), Angela Zhou (13th, 15:22.4) and Nishtha Shah (16th, 15:37.2).