The Escalon High School cross country team traveled to Frogtown this past Saturday to compete in the San Joaquin Subsection Meet. This was the first round of postseason and combined all Division 4 schools in one race.
“Because of the potential for inclement weather, the rainy-day course was used. This means the course skipped one of the main hills and was flatter and faster,” noted Escalon head coach Michael Bower of the race in Angles Camp.
The Cougar varsity boys finished 15th as a team out of 23 scoring teams. Junior Andrew Morales ran a 17:44, a personal record for 3 miles. Sophomore Daniel Bagadiong stepped up to match the effort finishing in 18:15; junior Julian Gonzalez ran 18:22; junior Jose Calderon ran 18:55; sophomore Nate Millard, 19:16; senior Joshua Churchill, 19:33; and junior Marcos Grajeda, 20:02.
“Varsity girls finished 11th as a team, missing the chance to advance to sections by one place,” noted Bower.
The Cougar girls were led by a trio of sophomores: Katherine Romero in a season best 21:57, Lauren Rodriguez in 22:09, and Charlotte Shaddix in 22:17. Following them were senior Megan Fahey in 22:44; junior Destiny Reyes in 24:17; senior Ryan Walker in 26:41; and junior Faith Reyes in 31:05.
“While they did not qualify as a team, Katherine Romero and Lauren Rodriguez both qualified as individuals to compete in the section meet,” Bower added of his two top varsity girls.
In the frosh/soph girls race, freshman Madelyn Fahey finished in 17:13, grabbing the last spot to advance to sections. Sophomore teammates, Kali Castellanos and Emma Berchtold, finished in 18:03.7 and 18:03.8 respectively.
“The freshman boys had some big personal records. All of them beating their two-mile bests, even though the Frogtown rainy-day course is 2.2 miles,” Bower explained.
Matix Trimble ran 14:39, just missing the last spot to advance; Theodore Harp ran 15:11 and Brenden Berchtold finished in 15:39.
Both sophomore boys advanced as individuals: Jake Sawyer ran 14:45 and Luiz Verduzco ran 15:26.
Finally in the JV boys race, a trio of seniors finished their running careers with some huge PR's. Nikolai Lorenzo ran 21:18, Caleb Sandoval 22:39 and Joshua Schut ran 23:23.
“Getting to the end of a season is always an accomplishment. You’ve been training for months, possibly all summer. You’ve battled injuries or colds, or ill-timed obstacles. You’ve had days of focus and days where you struggle to get your shoes on and get out the door. But these kids were able to show up on their last day and really go after it,” Bower summarized. “Some of these kids you’ve watched this season go from not even liking running to fully embracing what the sport can do. The delayed gratification: to put in weeks of work for one race, one moment; is a huge benefit to helping these kids find success for the rest of their .”
In total, five Escalon runners will advance to the section meet on Saturday, Nov. 12 at Folsom High School. Moving on are varsity girls Katherine Romero and Lauren Rodriguez, sophomores Jake Sawyer and Luiz Verduzco, and freshman Madelyn Fahey.
And, said the coach, it turned out to be a very successful season on multiple fronts from the Cougars.
“I know I’ve said this before, but what I appreciate most is the stories; knowing what these runners have gone through, some of them over multiple years and see them rise to the occasion at the end of the season is a huge testament to their focus and desire to improve,” Bower said.