The Pitman and Turlock high school cross country teams finished the COVID-shortened season on a high note last week with victories in both of their meets.
In their last meet hosted at Pitman on March 17, the THS varsity boys and girls both took first place over fellow Central California Athletic League competitors Downey and Modesto. The boys earned first with 15 points and the girls emerged victorious with 34 points.
In the boys race, the Bulldogs grabbed eight of the top 10 spots of the tri-meet, with junior Brody Vecchione taking first thanks to his 16:37 finish of the three-mile course. Turlock rounded out the top three in the boys race; Bulldogs Sergio Mazon and Eric Hernandez followed closely behind Vecchione to take second and third with times of 16:38 and 16:58, respectively.
“What a way to end our season,” THS cross country coach Jo Ann Davison said. “Though it was abbreviated, these kids packed a full season of enthusiasm and spirit into it.”
On the girls side for Turlock, the team had two runners finish in the top five of the race, seniors Cynthia Varela and Fatima Chavez. Varela’s time of 20:45 earned her third place, while Chavez’s time of 20:59 put her in fourth. Kylee Redman, Andrea Gonzales and Phoebe Santos rounded out the top five for the Bulldogs.
“I am so impressed with the work they did to be able to legitimately compete with such a short season,” Davison said. “Their performances are a testament to their competitive spirit and hard work.”
The Pride met Enochs and Gregori at the latter’s campus on March 17 as well, with the boys team securing 24 points and a first-place victory. The Pitman girls came in second with 35 points behind Gregori’s score of 23.
The 5K course at Gregori ran about one minute slower than other three-mile courses in the league. Pitman’s Efren Sanchez impressed once again in the boys race, finishing in first place with a time of 17:10. Ethan Robinson of the Pride finished shortly after in third place at 17:36 and his teammate Damian Garcia rounded out the top five with a fifth-place finish of 18:00.
For the Pitman girls, Maci Day completed the race in second place thanks to her 20:17 finish. The Pride’s Charlotte Laska was the next-best runner of the day for the school, finishing in fourth place with a time of 20:51. Pitman runner Isabella Dominguez also finished in the top 10 in eighth place thanks to her time of 23:18.
“It was great to be able to have some races this year! Had a chance to get some good races in and take this training into track season,” Pitman cross country coach Eren Fisher said. “I’m proud of our athletes and the chance they had to see their hard work through quarantining pay off in some great races and times. It’s tough to say goodbye to the seniors and we’re really excited for the returners for what we hope is a regular season next year.”