Vista sweeps Division III varsity cross country titles

By: Matt Long of the Telegraph
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Vista del Lago won its sixth Sac-Joaquin Section girls’ cross country championship in the last nine years, as the dynasty continues.

Friday at the Willows Hills course in Folsom, Vista’s boys’ team won its second Division III title in three years. The Vista teams equaled the accomplishment first done in 2015 when they both won section titles.

For the sixth straight season, a Vista girl was won an individual section title, as Sydnee Kizziar won the Division III race in a personal-best time on the course of 19 minutes, 2 seconds.

“I’m very proud of the girls; they put in all the work and have had a positive mindset all year,” Kizziar said of the section title. “We’ve got great coaches too. My race went well. I got tired on the second loop, but I thought of the team and that kept me going.”

The Eagles run for each other; that’s what makes them tough. Despite the fact that Kizziar was tiring, she kept pushing hard for the team. Freshman Anna Vogtmann fell and bloodied both knees, but promptly got up and kept motoring forward.

“When I fell, my thought was about the team,” Vogtmann said. “I thought ‘I can’t go down for them,’ so I got up and picked up where I left off.”

Showing heart and grit, Vogtmann finished in 19:36, which was a better time than she ran during league finals when she didn’t fall.

“I didn’t know early on that I’d even make the varsity team, so it’s really exciting to win the section and make it to the state meet,” Vogtmann said. “I’m happy for the team. Everyone’s goal is to make the state meet.”

Following Kizziar and Vogtmann, Vista’s next four runners finished within a minute of one another. Rachel Burgoyne placed 11th in 19:46 and she was followed by Maya Barragan (13th, 20:08), Natasha Evans (15th, 20:17) and Sophie Pelletier (17th, 20:35). The team’s final runner, Annaka Barragan, placed 46th in 22:10.

Vista scored 48 points, finishing well in front of runner-up El Camino, who scored 85.

“I knew at the beginning of the year that they could win it,” Vista coach Robert Grove said. “I knew that we were very deep. This is the most together group we’ve had in a long time. They’re very determined to be great. They’ve done everything we’ve asked and they deserve this. They ran great. Now we’ve got to get ready for state.”

Vista’s boys were more of a long shot to win than the girls, but they still got the job done. From the beginning of the season, team leaders Ben Kizziar and Jack Hacker believed in the team and they came through when it counted.

Vista scored 83 points to win the meet, while Del Oro placed second with 88. Kizziar placed fifth to lead the team, as he finished the race in 16:43. Hacker was seventh in 16:44. Brad Waterman ran 22nd in 17:35, while Ethan Karr was Vista’s fourth finisher in 24th place in 17:39. Jonah Petersen placed 32nd in 17:50 to finish the scoring. Also running for the Eagles were Nathan Koning (43rd, 18:01) and Brenden Jones (55th, 18:24).

“It feels good, and I’m so excited to come out on top as a team,” Kizziar said. “We said at the beginning of the year that we wanted to win it. We believed. We kept training and put in the good fight. It feels good to win as a team.”
Hacker, admittedly, has had an up-and-down career due to injuries. Now in his senior year, he’s thrilled at the success both he and his team is having.

“My career has been spotty because of injuries, but this year has been smooth sailing,” Hacker said. “To win sections this year is amazing. With the girls winning too is nice because we both finished second last year.”

Grove was proud of his team pleased with them.

“I’m so happy for them,” Grove said. “I knew they had a shot if they ran great. It was a gutsy performance. Ethan Karr passed two Del Oro kids in the final 300 meters and I bet that’s what did it. All these guys wanted it. You could see it on their faces.”


Lower levels

Vista’s freshman-sophomore girls’ squad also won a section title, as did Abby Carter, who won the race in 14:05. Other runners included Catie Timm (third, 14:24), Arabella Perez (fourth, 14:30), Cameron Bader (fifth, 14:33), Brieanna Anderson (12th, 14:54), Sabrina Terando (19th, 15:31) and Sky Kezmoh (20th, 15:32).

JV girls, third place – Kendall O’Daniel (second, 21:04), Kathleen Breeze (fifth, 21:31), Sophie Moore (15th, 22:11), Grace Markel (17th, 22:38), Danielle Bello (18th, 22:38), Sarah Sanderson (49th, 24:11), Payton Lagomarsino (68th, 25:16).

Freshman boys, second place – Preston Breeze (sixth, 12:37), Michael Dias (17th, 13:13), Alec Evans (22nd, 13:59), Logan O’Daniel (29th, 14:25), Hayden Wagg (30th, 14:28), Bryce Caples (37th, 15:35).

Sophomore boys, third place – Michael Pecha (14th, 12:24), Elliott Harrison (19th, 12:37), Dennis Xiao (24th, 12:53), Alcuin Mowrer (28th, 13:10), Joel Kreiser (31st, 13:13), Lukas Jakubicki (43rd, 14:13), Timothy Yomogida (48th, 16:15).

JV boys, fifth place – Stephen Northouse (ninth, 17:47), Daniel Howell (10th, 17:54), Austin Soelzer (41st, 18:51), James Junaidi (44th, 18:59), Shawn von Chance-Stutler (59th, 19:23), Addison Vaquero (66th, 19:30), Jake Solak (68th, 19:33), Ryan Larson (73rd, 19:54), Tanner Tran (86th, 20:35).