Oakmont's Garcia, Vista girls are second at state meet

Del Oro's Stephens makes podium in Division III boys race
By: Bill Poindexter/Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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FRESNO -- Del Oro High School junior Trevor Stephens made it onto the top-10 podium by one second. Oakmont junior Karlie Garcia missed a state championship by one second. And Vista del Lago finished a glass-is-half-full second in Division III on Saturday in the CIF Cross Country Championships at Woodward Park.

Placer County schools sent enough competitors to fill a bus - teams and individuals from Divisions I through V - and left Fresno with positive results.

Garcia, Stephens and Vista del Lago led the charge. Garcia led the Division III girls race until the final meters, when Campolindo senior Carrie Verdon sprinted past. Verdon was timed in 17 minutes, 19 seconds in the three-mile race to Garcia's 17:20.

"It was a good race. I was trying to get a better start, because I usually I get really awful starts," said Garcia, who had an eight-second lead at 2 1/2 miles. "I just kinda went out and went for it."

Garcia won the Capital Valley Conference championship this season and raced to her second Sac-Joaquin Section Division III title.

Top-10 finishes by junior Madeleine Ankhelyi (third, 17:34) and sophomore Clare Carroll (sixth, 17:56) helped Vista del Lago place second as a team in Division III. Palos Verdes won with 103 points to the Eagles' 142.

Vista del Lago freshman Sierra Jaeger finished 32nd (19:10), junior Jennifer Morgan 43rd (19:28) and sophomore Alegra Mendez 59th (19:45).

"I'm very proud of our team," senior captain Chelsea Shill said of the Eagles, who finished 13th last year. "All our hard work and dedication, our early morning practices, our hot summer runs, everything just came down to this. We showed our hard work. Everyone just ran great."

Oakmont, with sophomore Marisa Carino finishing 24th in 18:54, finished 15th, and Del Oro was 18th.

Stephens was timed in 15:42, a personal record by about 20 seconds, according to the junior. Stephens said he felt comfortable for the first mile and had a strong kick at the end.

"He raced perfectly, from preparation to understanding what needs to be done and what was going to happen here, because it's different here, and then actually executing," said Del Oro coach Kevin Ostenberg, noting 12 of 14 Golden Eagles runners were in the state meet for the first time.

Said Stephens, "It's amazing. I've put in a lot of work this year and a lot of training."

Woodcreek's boys finished 12th and its girls 13th in the eighth trip to the state meet for each team.

Senior Hunter Tyler broke into the 15-minute group for the first time with a 15:53 and finished 18th individually. Junior Jon Horvath was 31st at 16:07, and senior Brandon Biando and juniors Justin Clark and Sam Devereux were 63rd, 70th and 75th in 16:32, 16:35 and 16:38.

"We were hoping to be top 10 or better. The boys ran really well, better than we ran at Clovis," Timberwolves coach Terri McKillop said. "We were happy they made those gains."

It was the first top-five time for Clark, who was the seventh or eighth man all season and ran a PR.

Junior Karina Nunes overcame an illness to lead the Woodcreek girls with a 19:05 time, 37th overall. Senior Samantha Gomez was 61st (19:43) and sophomore Rosemary Dipentino 62nd (19:43).

"Most girls would die for a 19:05. To put yourself in a race and pull that off was very good," McKillop said. "Rosemary Dipentino had a great race. She stepped up huge."

In other races:

* The Oak Ridge boys placed 18th and the girls, paced by freshman Ellie Velez in 42nd (19:14), were 15th in Division I.

* In Division II, Folsom's boys finished 20th. Individually, Granite Bay junior Trent Brendel finished 43rd in 16:06, and Grizzlies sophomore Katie Mersereau was 65th in 19:25. In the girls race, Roseville senior Shayna Powless was 99th in 20 minutes.

* Placer's boys were 16th and Del Oro 19th in Division III. Senior Christian Finkbeiner led the Hillmen by finishing 32nd in 16:14.

* Whitney junior Ryan Hodgens finished 48th in the Division III race in a time of 16:16.

* In Division IV, Bear River junior Alex Coffman clocked a 16:59 time to finish 75th.

* Foresthill senior Kelsey Zoller finished 83rd in the Division V girls race in 21:26. Roseville resident Neilson Powless, a freshman at Victory Christian, placed 12th in the Division V boys race in 16:11.

Contact Bill Poindexter at Follow him on Twitter at BillP_RsvPT.