Getting back to competition, the Escalon cross country team traveled to Jacob Myers Park for the TVL No. 2 league meet on Wednesday, Sept. 29.
The course was fast, the weather mild, and the runners ready to capitalize on their training progress, noted head coach Michael Bower.
The JV girls team was led by sophomore Hannah Wampler (14:32) and freshman Victoria Rich (14:50), who finished second and third overall.
Leading the JV boys were freshman Nate Millard (12:42, fifth overall), Jose Calderon (12:46, seventh overall), and Julian Gonzalez (13:05, 10th overall).
“Jose exploded for a huge personal record, shaving almost two minutes off of his TVL 1 time,” Bower explained. “And the big improvements were available to all. Everyone set a season best mark for their respective race distance, with many athletes improving their TVL 1 time by 30 seconds or more per mile.”
Freshman Kali Castellanos shaved almost two-and-a-half minutes off her previous 2-mile time, to finish in 16:08.
“For the varsity boys, Joshua Churchill (19:48) and Andrew Morales (19:54) both broke into the 19s for the first time of their career,” Bower added.
The scoring five were rounded out by Benjamin Millard (20:41), Grady Fugett (22:34) and Christian Epps (23:57).
And the varsity girls were once again led by freshman Katherine Romero (21:59), followed by Laura Thompson (24:23) and Megan Fahey (24:33); Ryan Walker (25:40) and Belen Lechuga (25:52). Collectively they averaged an improvement of over 40 seconds per mile from their TVL 1 time.
“To show up to a new course and have athletes not skip a beat was awesome. They have been training well, and their time reflected their efforts in practice,” the coach said. “Several of our runners hit their end of season goals, so to be at this point with another month to train is an exciting spot to be in.”
For the TVL meet, the JV girls placed second overall as a team, with the JV boys and varsity girls both placing third and the varsity boys taking fifth.
The Cougars were slated to race their Purple & Gold course on Tuesday, Oct. 5 after The Times went to press.
“The team started the season racing this course as an intrasquad challenge, and now two months later, they get to race it again and see how much they have improved,” Bower said. “The 2.25 mile course starts and finishes on the EHS track and loops through the surrounding neighborhood, orchards, and in front of Dent.”
The cross country team will next travel to Lake Yosemite to compete at the Thunder Cross Country Classic on Saturday, Oct. 16. They will also take a few athletes to the Mt. Sac Invite on Friday, Oct. 22.