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Sophomores shine in second cross country meet for Turlock and Pitman
Pitman boys cross country
The Pitman Pride varsity boys cross country team placed first in the second CCAL Center Meet on Wednesday. It was the first ever league meet that the boys varsity team has won (EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal).

Pitman High varsity boys and girls cross country teams shined on Wednesday at the second Central California Athletic League Center Meet, hosted by Turlock High at Donnelly Park. 

The Pitman Pride varsity boys team notched a first-place finish, the first in program history, while the girls placed second.

 “I am very happy with how my team responded from the first league meet,” said Pitman head coach Eren Fisher. “Our varsity boys won for the first time ever, we never won a varsity league meet. First meet Turlock won, and Turlock was second in this meet, so we are now tied with Turlock going into the third meet and that is going to be big.” 

girls cross country
Camila Stephens of Pitman High placed second in the second CCAL Center Meet on Wednesday after clocking in at 18:25 (EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal).

Turlock’s boys took second and the girls placed third. 

“The scores didn’t show their efforts today, but the clock never lies. We had so many kids turn their best ever. So, that is good for them to see their hard work pay off. It also lets us know we’re headed in the right direction,” said Turlock head coach JoAnn Davison. 

The Pitman High cross-country team shined in ways it never had before. 

Sophomores were the story for both Turlock and Pitman High, as the teams had multiple standouts. 

The race for varsity girls was interesting, with Gregori taking first with 37 points. Pitman placed second with 48 points while Turlock took third with 78 points. 

In the varsity girls race, Gregori’s Madison Kackley topped all with a time of 17:44. Pitman’s Camila Stephens followed up in second place after clocking in at 18:25. 

Kackley earned a spot in the All-Time top 10 times at Donnelly Park.

Bulldog runners put up some amazing times of their own, with sophomores Eliana Moreno and Andrea Gonzalez leading the day for the ladies, posting substantial personal records. Turlock, despite a third team finish, still had seven athletes under the 22-minute mark.

Turlock boys cross country
The Turlock High varsity boys cross country team placed second in Wednesday’s CCAL Center Meet No. 2 from Donnelly Park (EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal).

Moreno ran a PR with a time of 19:58 and took seventh. 

Pitman’s next best performance behind Stephens was Diana Olthof, who clocked in at 20:03, finishing in eighth place. 

Turlock’s Gonzalez followed up in ninth place with a time of 20:15. 

The varsity boys race belonged to Pitman all the way after they notched the top three spots of the day.  

Christian Balderas was the best in the day after he ran a 15:31. Teammate, sophomore Efren Sanchez took second with a time of 15:59. Sophomore Damian Garcia placed third after clocking in at 16:06. 

Turlock’s best varsity boys result came from sophomore Brody Vecchione, who clocked a personal record at 16:11, taking fifth. Teammate Sergio Mazon was the second-best finish for Turlock with an eighth-place finish after clocking in a PR of 16:17.7.  

“Pitman ruled the day in the boys varsity race,” said Davison. “But Turlock did put up quite a fight. Sophomore Brody Vecchione ran a massive personal record for the dogs as did all five scoring teammates. Sergio Mazon moved up two spots in the league standings, helping to fend off Gregori.” 

“The team was fired up, we wanted to respond well to the first meet, and we didn’t have Christian in our first race,” Fisher added. “The team is excited and thrilled, still they are looking ahead into the postseason and what they can do. They are really excited about where they are and the hard work is paying off.” 

The third CCAL Meet will take place from Legion Park in Modesto at a time yet to be announced on Oct. 30. 

“Adrian Gutierrez, Gavin Valenzuela and Jackson Allen also ran their own personal best, setting up a Pitman/Turlock run off for the league title in the final CCAL meet on Oct. 30,” Davison added.