With a different lineup along with improved performances, Oak Ridge High’s varsity girls’ cross country team won the second Sierra Foothill League meet held Wednesday in Grass Valley.
The Trojans placed fourth in the first league meet, so this improved finish has the team back in the running for a league title. Elena and Maddy Denner again led the way, placing first and second with identical times of 19 minutes, 29 seconds over the three-mile course. Haley Dean made a big leap from finishing 17th at the first league meet to place fifth, finishing her race in 20:21.
Freshman Abby Fletcher and sophomore Abby Gladwell, running their first varsity races, also excelled, as Fletcher placed 10th in 20:39 and Gladwell, 27th in 22:12.
“We're progressing nicely with young runners stepping up to fill a need we have at the varsity level,” Oak Ridge coach Bob Wright said. “With the win, we'll be in contention for the league championship and a state meet berth. We’re as strong this year as we were last year with lots of potential for improvement. The girls are excited, as they all ran well yesterday. We will be moving athletes around over the next couple of weeks before league finals to figure out what our top seven will be going into the postseason.”
Added coach Rob Fairley, “The varsity girls team is developing very well. Haley and Abby had very good races. Abby Fletcher has tremendous potential as a distance runner. To place 10th in her first varsity race in a very competitive league is an outstanding accomplishment. Abby Gladwell stepped up nicely to place 27th in her first varsity race.”
Drew Spencer led the varsity boys, as he placed fourth in 16:52. Christian Wilde placed 29th in 18:19 and was followed by Sohan Kancherla (39th, 18:42), Colin Kong (53rd, 19:45) and Parker Loggins (70th, 21:09).
“The boys ran well with all of them improving their times from this course from last season, or establishing seasonal bests over the distance,” Wright said.
At the freshman-sophomore level, Aidan Campbell led the boys in the two-mile race, as he placed 16th in 12:07. Clark Fransham ran 20th in 12:12 and was followed by James Gezi (31st, 12:36), Grant Geeting (33rd, 12:37) and Dylan Goebel (34th, 12:40).
Alexia Enriques placed third for the girls, finishing in 13:52. Ayden Subjek took 23rd in 15:23 with teammate Daria Scuitto right behind her in 25th (15:25). Hannah Connover placed 37th in 16:00.
“Despite the low finish (sixth) for the boys freshman-sophomore boys, they did well, as we are in the toughest league in the entire section,” Wright said. “They have a really good shot at finishing the season in the top-five or six teams in the section.”
Added Fairley, “Lexi Enriques raced very well to place third. She was sick for about a week, so her strong performance has helped bring back her confidence. Lexi will have the opportunity to compete at the varsity level soon.
“Many of our varsity and freshman-sophomore boys showed good improvement by turning in fine performances. We have a very good group of young athletes and some solid veterans to help lead the team. The attitudes of our athletes have been tremendous. For many of them, this is there first year of competitive cross country and they are hanging in there very well at the daily practices.”