Wednesday’s first Central California Athletic League cross-country cluster of the season couldn’t have gone any better for the Turlock High Bulldogs varsity squad that saw the girls and boys turn out first place results from Legion Park in Modesto.
“What a great day for racing. We have a strong league and better competition makes everyone better,” said Turlock head coach JoAnn Davison.
The Pride followed up in second on the varsity boys side, while the girls placed third.
“The team to beat is Turlock at all levels,” said Pitman head coach Eren Fisher. “We are excited about the varsity boys though, strong showing from the sophomores and juniors. We have put in some good times and we are really excited, very competitive right now and we like it. It is going to be a fun year for varsity boys, going to be a good fight and we will see what happens.”
The Turlock varsity girls runners who each clinched a top 10 result include Fatima Chavez, Andrea Gonzalez and Eliana Moreno. This was coupled with a solid backup role by Sandra Tovar and Ashley Mendez, said Davison.
“This was enough to nudge out tough Pitman and Gregori squads,” said Davison. “Those athletes work hard every day and are focused on very specific goals. They also pull each other along. You cannot coach that kind of team work. It's in them and how they define themselves as a team."
The Turlock varsity girls took first with a score of 47. The varsity boys took third with 55 points.
Turlock’s boys varsity squad topped all with a score of 54. Pitman followed up in second with a score of 61.
Pitman’s frosh/soph girls took third and Turlock finished in fourth.
The Turlock boys frosh/soph squad took first, while Pitman followed up in second.
“The varsity boys pulled out a win in glorious fashion,” said Davison. “Eric Hernandez won the boys race decisively. His teammates are equally devoted to their quest for a team title, which has not happened since 1987. Sophomore Brody Vecchione showed not only his talent, but great maturity in the 5K race. Sergio Mazon, Adrian Gutierrez and Gavin Valenzuela topped out a powerful top five. The win was solidified by the depth of speed in Jackson Allen, Nate Haynam and Matt Haynam."
Hernandez ended up winning the race with a time of 16:41, while Pitman sophomore Efren Sanchez followed up in second with a time of 16:43.
Vecchione took fifth with a time of 16:48 and Damian Garcia of Pitman took sixth (17:06).
On the girls side, the best result on the varsity side came from sophomore Camila Stephens of Pitman who took third with a time of 19:17.
“Camila Stephens came in a close third and showed to be one of the top league runners, definitely running for a top spot,” said Fisher. “Proud of how they ran and take what we can at the first league meet. Some of our runners had good times as well.”