The 2019 Pitman High varsity boys cross-country team achieved something that no other previous team had before — win a league championship.
This historic victory for Pitman happened on Wednesday from Legion-Tuolumne Regional Park in Modesto where the Central California Athletic League Championships took place. The Pride’s varsity girls team also did well, taking second for the second straight year.
“The boys did so well, demolished, and showed they were the best team in the league,” said Pitman head coach Eren Fisher.
The Turlock varsity girls notched a third-place finish, while the Bulldog varsity boys took fourth.
The Pride varsity boys dominated the day as they notched five of the top 10 finishes.
Christian Balderas and Damian Garcia finished in second and third place, respectively, leading the way for a squad that would make history by the conclusion of the race.
Ben Plaa managed to finish in sixth place for Pitman. Efren Sanchez finished in ninth and Ethan Robinson took 10th. Neither of them are seniors.
Turlock’s top finish on the varsity boys’ side was sophomore Brody Vecchione who took fifth place, one second ahead of Plaa (Pitman). Sergio Mazon of Turlock took 12th for the ‘Dogs. The third best finish for Turlock was Jackson Allen who finish in 19th.
“Now we are just excited for a strong team race at subsections where we will be facing different teams since we are Division-II, everyone except Downey is D-I… so we will see what happens there,” said Fisher. “Last year was the first time we had any team qualify for section, we had the girls, and this year are trying to do that again.”
The best finish on the varsity girls side came from Pitman sophomore Camila Stephens, who finished in fourth place with a time of 19:30. Turlock High’s Fatima Chavez and Eliana Moreno followed in fifth and sixth place, respectively.
Diana Olthof of Pitman had the Pride’s second-best finish for the varsity girls after finishing in seventh place.
Pitman’s Maci Day (9th), Bella Kern (10th) and Isabella Dominguez (11th) followed up and helped secure five of the top 11 finishes on the day for the Pride.
“As always, all you can do is race on race day. When you walk off the course knowing you gave it everything you had, then you can hold your head high,” said Turlock head coach JoAnn Davison. “The wins sometimes happen, sometimes they don't. So, our guiding principle is to always be our best self. In that, we can all be successful. We are always proud of our kids."
Next for Pitman and Turlock is sub-sections, which will take place from Calaveras County Fairgrounds at a time yet to be announced on Nov. 9.
“Real excited and proud of how the kids raced today. They finished the league race real strong and we’ll see where we can qualify the kids next week,” Fisher added. “In order to go to the next race, you have to qualify at sub-sections, either as individuals or team, and that is our focus to qualify.”