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River Bluff Regional Park Hosts Cross Country Finals
cc seniors ESC
This year’s seniors on the Escalon cross country team were recognized at the TVL finals and include, from left: Gorette Coelho, Megan Fahey, Ryan Walker, Joshua Churchill, Nikolai Lorenzo, Joshua Schut, Caleb Sandoval, Kenny Wolaver. Photo Contributed

Taking on all other teams in the Trans-Valley League, the Escalon cross country runners participated in the TVL finals on Wednesday, Oct. 26.

“We were a bit short handed. Some students were sick, some were out of town, but we bumped some kids up to varsity and still had a great day,” noted head coach Michael Bower. “There is something great about League Finals ... getting to race the same course for a second time really shows you how much progress you made.”

The day started off with the JV girls race, with just a handful of Escalon competitors. Sophomore Kali Castellanos finished in 16:59, a course record. She was immediately followed by freshman Madelyn Fahey in 17:01, and fellow freshman Genevieve Coelho (22:08.5) and Jocelin Cerceda (22:08.7).

The Cougar JV boys were also a bit understaffed, with the first finisher being sophomore Jake Sawyer in 14:35, picking up an individual medal. He was also followed by a trio of freshmen: Theodore Harp (14:51), Matix Trimble (15:04), and Brenden Berchtold (15:42).

Escalon’s varsity girls finished in fourth place as a team. Sophomore Katherine Romero ran 22:43, a season best for 5k and earning her one of the top seven individual awards. The rest of the scoring team came in close together: sophomore Lauren Rodriguez (24:16), senior Megan Fahey (24:46), sophomores Charlotte Shaddix (24:49) and Destiny Reyes (24:51). Senior Gorette Coelho finished her high school career running a season best 27:40.

“The varsity boys finished fifth out of five teams. They ran a little flat because of the short rest from Mt. Sac, and it is a very competitive league this year,” Bower explained.

Coming in first for the Cougars was junior Andrew Morales (19:32). Sophomore Daniel Bagadiong stepped up to run varsity and finished in 19:50. The rest of the team was close behind, with junior Jose Calderon (19:57), junior Julian Gonzalez (20:11), junior Marcos Grajeda (20:46) rounding out the scoring five.

“It’s a tough turnaround to race Friday and again on Wednesday, but these kids handled themselves well. Even though the placing might not have been quite where we liked, almost all showed improvement on their first attempt at this course,” said Bower. “Our real focus is to show up with our best selves at subsections.”

In addition to the four races, and giving out team and individual awards, the league uses the night to recognize seniors. Escalon had a slew of seniors finish out the season: Joshua Churchill (4 year), Nikolai Lorenzo, Joshua Schut, Caleb Sandoval, Victor Romero (4 year), Megan Fahey, Ryan Walker (4 year), Gorette Coelho (4 year), Kenny Wolaver (4 year).

“It’s special to watch these kids run. You see growth and progress in one season, but some of these kids you have gotten to watch over the last four years. Struggles in school, injuries, making life decisions, organizing priorities, developing as a leader, and oh so many jokes,” the coach noted. “At the end of the day, it’s fun to get to see a small snapshot of them growing into adults. And I am excited to see where they all end up.”

The Cougars are now preparing for the upcoming subsection event.

“Overall, almost everyone set a course PR (personal record), and many runners set a distance PR at finals,” Bower added. “We may not have had the best team scores, but the improvement is there. I’m hoping we can rest up, fine tune and have a great showing at subsections this upcoming weekend.”

The subsection race is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 5 at Frogtown – Calaveras fairgrounds. In the varsity races for D4, the top 10 teams and 10 individuals advance to sections. In all other races, the top six teams and 10 individuals will advance to sections.