When senior captains Danny Longcor and Lindsey Rubottom reminded the entire Yosemite High Badger cross country team that "this is what we have trained and worked for all season," there was no doubt about what they was referring to -- A long-anticipated victory over Kerman in the Nov. 8 Boys' North Sequoia League Championships and claiming at least a second place finish for the Girl's Team.
Though the Badger ladies' teams had the pressure of a 20-year plus record of NSL-CSL championships diminished by a clearly dominant Kerman team in prelims, the men's teams have been consistently defeated by Kerman and looked to reverse that outcome. The responses by the teammates at league finals turned out to be as exciting as any in memory and nothing less than stunning.
The boys team won the NSL championship at Fresno's Woodward Park.
Yosemite's Alek Simpson (17:27), Chris Grant (18:02) and Liam Womack (18:11), finished first, second and third respectively in the 5K race to lead the first place Badgers. Other Yosemite finishers in the top nine (qualifying for the Valley Meet) were Issac Soliz (18:35), Alex Statkus (18:56), Carson Burton (19:08), Brian Tenorio (19:10), Tristan Webb (19:28) and Ben Williams (19:42).
"I felt pretty comfortable throughout the race and I am sure I will be able to run a minute to a minute and a half faster when it counts," said Simpson, referring to today's (Thursday) Central Section Division III race at Woodward Park.
Second place in the boys division went to Kerman.
The Yosemite girls, led by freshman Jessica Fine (22:24), tried to catch Liberty for the second place finish, but were unable to overcome illness and some nagging injuries. With the vast majority of the team freshman and sophomores, the future looks bright. The Badgers, who finished third in league, also included Phoenix Skeahan (25:02), Rachel Arroyo (26:13), Christen Cogdell (26:16) and Sharon Warmerdam (27:07) in the top 5 Teammates.
Yosemite frosh-soph boys also won the NSL finals led by Greg Royse (20:29), Paul Esposito (21:05), Sam Knowles (21:30), Matt Horton (21:36), Russell Warmerdam (21:45), Seth Aguilera (22:08), Sam Williams (22:36), Chase Lassos (22:53) and Shane Eckstein (22:54), all finishing in the top 12 overall.
Central Section (Valley Finals ) are at Woodward Park this Thursday, with the Badgers' first race at 12:30.
The boys team will be running in today's (Thursday) Division III Central Section race and Fine will be representing Yosemite in the girls race.
Simpson is currently ranked No. 1 in division.