A young Yosemite girls cross country team placed second at the Nov. 6 North Sequoia League meet at Woodward Park, just two points behind Kerman..
The top three finishers for the team in the 5k (3.1 mile) were freshman Emily Rich (20:50.15), senior Rachel Mattos (22:01.15), and freshman Kaia Owen (22:06.28).
Other top 20 finishers included sophomore Ali Contreras (22:42.62), and senior Gabeielle Stegge (22:51.72).
The YHS boys team placed fourth at the meet, with Yosemite’s No. 1 runner, Russell Zelaza, finishing fourth with a time of 17:33.78.
Yosemite’s next three finishers were Tyler Hellwig (19:37.84), Alec Small (19:57.72), and Ethan Conti (19:58.06).
“Russell has led the boys team all season long with a season best of 16:56 in a 3 mile race,” said Coach Kim Lawhon. “Although the men’s team was not as deep this year as other years, the guys really stepped up. Alec Small has transferred his track season talents well to cross country and has been a great training partner for third year varsity runner Ethan Conti.”
Lawhon said senior Ben Johnson made a strong addition to the team.
“Ben is a great example of ‘hidden talent’ at YHS,’ Lawhon said. “He gave cross country a chance this year with the encouragement of friends, who wanted him to come out to have fun, and before long he realized he’s an amazing runner.”
Tyler Hellwig has been working hard to make major drops in his times this year.
“He went from 19 minutes in the 3 mile/5K average to a personal best time of 17:16,” Lawhon said.
The top seven boys and girls runners from the league meet will run in the D-IV Valley Meet today (Thursday) at Woodward Park.
Girls place second at invitational
Prior to the league meet the girls team took second in the small school division at the John Seaman Invitational, with the top five runners on the team coming home with medals.
In that meet, Mattos had a personal best time in the of 20:49 (3 miles), and Stegg also ran her best time of the season (21:03). Three other team members received medals.
Mattos and Stegge have had success this season, with the two of them alternating back and forth for the No. 1 and No. 2 position on the team.
Four freshman on the team - Rich, Owen and Jaiden Strawberry, and Jocelyn Stansberry have been strong varsity runners helping the team with times all under 22 minutes.
Mattos recently had a personal best time in the of 20:49 three mile time with Stegge right behind her at 21:03.
“This entire team has amazed me with their work ethic,” Lawhon said. “I’ve been really pleasantly surprised to see how much they love running more and more each day and have really meshed well as a team family.”
Yosemite High Correspondent