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League Meet, Invitational Keep Cross Country Busy
Finishing fourth overall in the first TVL meet was sophomore Charlotte Shaddix, covering the course in 16:06 to pace the JV cross country girls. Photo Courtesy Of Michael Bower

The Escalon Cross Country team had an interesting start to league competition. On Wednesday, Sept. 7, Escalon hosted the first league race on their own track and campus.

Because of the high heat, the league was forced to run later in the day, but doing so required the use of lights.

“As a result, we started and finished at the track and ran on the sidewalk around campus,” said head coach Michael Bower.

The JV boys were led by sophomore Daniel Bagadiong who finished fourth overall in a time of 12:58 on the 2-mile course. Rounding out the top 3 were freshmen Matix Trimble (15:05) and Theo Harp (15:08).

The JV girls finished second at the league meet. They were led by sophomore Charlotte Shaddix with a breakout time of 16:06 also finishing fourth overall. Kali Castellanos finished in a time of 17:19 and was followed closely by Emma Berchtold in a time of 17:22.

In the varsity boys 5k race, a trio of juniors finished first: Jose Calderon was Escalon’s first finisher in 19:54, with Andrew Morales running 20:27 and Marcos Grajeda 21:59.

“They had some decent early season marks, but we were down a couple of runners and the boys finished in fifth place,” noted Bower.

The girls varsity team also struggled with some absences but pulled out a third place team finish. Freshman Katherine Romero finished 10th overall (24:00), followed by senior Megan Fahey (25:15) and junior Hannah Wampler (26:17).

“It was early in the season, and there were a lot of last minute changes. I am proud of our kids adjusting and getting some opening marks,” Bower said. “It was helpful to see where we stand in league and where we can make improvements. Even with the bit of crazy it produced some extra fun; running under the lights and having the sprinklers go off as the last race was finishing just added to the memories.”

The Saturday after the Trans-Valley League opener, the team ventured off to the Josh Ruff Memorial Invite in Folsom. Due to concerns about heat and possible air quality, all levels ran the same 3400m course.

Junior Marcos Grajeda and senior Joshua Churchill continued their streaks of improvement running their fastest paces of the year, finishing in 14:32 and 14:50 respectively.

In addition, finishing out the last race of the day, junior Faith Reyes ran 20:34 to break the sub 10-minute per mile pace for the first time this season.

“Folsom is a challenging course, and really reinforces everything that we can be working on. Whether hills, turns, running on dirt, our start, etc. It highlights all that we can be intentional about for the rest of our season. I was excited to see some kids set some great times, and even those that didn’t showed they understand how to handle a meet and are growing in confidence,” explained Bower.

Following that full week of racing, the team had a break from competition and has focused on training at a high level.

“The high heat put a damper on how much we could do outside, so it has been great to touch more speed and run for longer with the cooler weather,” said Bower.

On Sept. 28, the team will head to River Bluff Regional Park for TVL Meet 2. While the league decided to move to this new park several years ago, this is the first time Escalon will be racing there.

“It is a fun spot and I am excited to see how the runners respond to this new course,” Bower said.

Junior Marcos Grajeda has put together some solid efforts so far this season for the varsity cross country team. Photo Courtesy Of Michael Bower