Eagles aiming for third straight cross country title

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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Vista del Lago’s cross country teams are ready for Saturday’s Sac-Joaquin Section championships.

Both teams qualified for the meet by placing in the top-10 at Saturday’s sub-section meet at Angels camp, the girls placing first and the boys running sixth.

The girls scored 71 points, just three in front of second-place Del Oro. Madeleine Ankhelyi won the race in 18 minutes, 29 seconds with teammate Clare Carroll 28 seconds behind in second place. Jennifer Morgan placed 20th in 20:48 with teammates Alayna Gocke six spots behind in 26th in 21:05. Megan Howell finished the scoring by placing 35th in 21:43.

Saturday the team will be going for its third straight Sac-Joaquin Section Division III title and are the favorites to do so with heavy competition expected from Del Oro. Vista's normal number three runner, Sierra Jaeger, didn't run at the sub-section meet, as she's been battling a knee injury, but will run on Saturday. Gocke also has been fighting a cold, but the hope is she'll be 100 percent come Saturday.

"I'd be feeling better if we were 100 percent healthy, but that's life," Vista coach Robert Grove said. "We're the favorites on paper, but we still have to go out and run. The girls have made good progress this year, and I've been especially pleased with Madeleine and Clare."

Zach Jaeger led the boys’ team, as he placed fifth in 16:22. Kyle Chun ran 25th in 17:05 with Andrew Schiek placing 41st in 17:44. Sam Ruby (50th, 18:02) and Aaron Schiek (67th, 18:26) rounded out the scorers.

Like the girls, the boys also have to place in the top-three positions to advance to the state meet. Grove said the competition will be tough, as the Eagles will be battling top teams such as Placer, El Dorado, Will C. Wood and Del Oro.

"The best we've ever done at this meet is ninth, so I'm hoping for a top-five finish," Grove said. "If we don't make it as a team, I think Zach has a very good chance to make it to the state meet as an individual. He made it last year. I also think Kyle has an outside chance of making it."

To make it as an individual, runners must be one of the top-five runners finishing in the top-12 that aren't already on the teams that have qualified.

The freshman boys and freshman-sophomore girls earned third-place finishes. Ryan Von Chance led the freshman boys, placing fourth in 12:21. Other scorers included Nikolas Guevara (14th, 13:08), Vincent Chevreuil (20th, 13:28), Cooper Rode (31st, 13:52) and Daniel Baquero (36th, 14:02).

Weirui Xiao led the freshman-sophomore girls, as she placed third in 14:10. Lucie Chevreuil (4th, 14:15), Hannah Montague (13th, 14:48), Sarah Downs (35th, 15:47) and Lexie Zimny (68th, 17:24) also scored for the team.

Nicole Cooper (5th, 22:53) and Elizabeth Anderson (13th, 23:36) ran for the junior varsity girls, while Ryan Andersen (40th, 13:14) and Maclean Ankhelyi (62nd, 14:01) ran for the sophomore boys.