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Eagles making run for title

Pendergrass twins spark Del Oro team loaded with depth under first-year coach
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Cole and Chase Pendergrass may be twins, but in track they compete at opposite ends of the spectrum.
The Del Oro High seniors said with each twin making huge strides in their events, this is no case of sibling rivalry. Cole holds the team’s season record in the 200 meter, with 22.54 seconds. He also holds top finishes in the 100 meter and is a member of the 4x100 relay team.
Chase prefers long-distance events. He holds top-three season best finishes for the Golden Eagles in the 1500 meters, 1600 meters, 3000 and 3200 meters.
“Being on two different ends of the spectrums, we stand on the sidelines and support each other,” Chase said. “I think it helps we are both at the top in our end of the spectrum.”
The Pendergrass’ have their goals set for the Sierra Foothill League Championships Wednesday and Friday.
“I’ve been looking for a lifetime (personal record),” Chase said. “I already got my lifetime (personal record) with 10:23 in the two-mile. I am looking to beat my (personal record) in the mile now.”
Cole has his sights set on soaring past one of his own teammates.
“I desire to break 11 in the 100 and to be the best I can be. If winning is part of that, than so be it,” Cole said. “Angelo Pasquale from Del Oro is the one guy I need to beat.”
Pasquale leads Del Oro in the 100 meter at 11.19 seconds. Cole is just behind him at 11.32 seconds. Pasquale’s best 100 meter last season was 10.95 seconds, making him the second best in the section. The healthy competition with his teammate hasn’t been the only thing on Cole’s mind this season.
He said his greatest challenge this season has been balancing school, work and practice. Cole is also composing four piano songs for his senior project. Chase got shin splints early on the season, but has since healed.
Del Oro coach Dustin Fee is in his inaugural year as head coach. Fee, who ran track at Placer, teaches P.E. at Penryn and H. Clarke Powers Elementary schools. Many of his students are now coming up through the ranks to run track at Del Oro.
“It’s been a very busy first year. As hard as this team works and as talented of athletes as they are, it has been an absolute delight and pleasure to coach,” Fee said. “Especially the freshman and sophomores because I have had them as my students at Penryn and H. Clarke Powers. It’s a pretty unique situation.”
Fee said Del Oro is in a good position to win both the boys and girls SFL championships — if they can out-perform fellow contender Rocklin. The 4x400 meter relay team comprised of Kenneth Andri, Casey Wheeler, Blake Covey and Kai VonAlvenslaben was less then a second away from making the automatic qualifying time for CIF State Championships. They hope to get their time down at league finals.
Fee said injuries have been the most challenging part of the season. Top-contender in the pole vault, Mackenzie Landry came back a couple of weeks ago after an injury. She cleared 11 feet at a meet against Roseville on April 27.
Sophomore Brianna Ruiz has been out with an injured sartorious. Ruiz typically competes in the 200 and 400-meter events, but has been out for much of the season. Fee said that while she still wanted to compete, he decided to reserve her strength for the league meet.
“She would have competed and gone sub-60 in the 400 because she has the heart of a lion,” Fee said. “But I want to keep her tame until the time counts.”
Ruiz said making the transition from a long basketball season, where she helped lead the Golden Eagles to NorCal Championships, to track was a challenge. Fee said Ruiz has the talent to earn a full-ride scholarship in track.
Granite Bay track coach Jackie Nasca said Del Oro is ripe with talent and in a good position to win league championships.
“I think Del Oro is always a strong team. Their seniors and juniors are naturally gifted and they have such depth with the younger group,” Nasca said. “Rocklin is always a force for us, but I think Del Oro may be stronger.”
Fee said he is optimistic about Del Oro’s shot at a title going into league trials today at Nevada Union.
“I’ve loved working with all of the kids here,” Fee said. “They are already dedicated and motivated. That makes them really easy to work with. My team is phenomenal. I think they will do very well — We have the depth.”
Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com.