The Badger cross country program finished their season at the Central Section CIF Cross Country Championships held at Fresno’s Woodward Park Nov. 19, with the girls placing 12th and the boys 20th in D-III.
Liberty of Bakersfield finished first, Kerman was the highest North Sequoia League finisher at fifth place. All teams participated with seven runners on a 5K course. Overall, there were 197 runners.
Gabrielle Stegge was the highest female Badger finisher at 30th, with a time of 21:20. Other YHS finishers included: Elyse Espe (54th) 22:17; Rachel Mattos (83rd) 22:58; Jessica Fine (103) 23:30; Randi Johnson (103rd) 23:52; Hannah Scott (118) 23:57; and Olivia Mattos (128) 24:12.
The YHS boys finished 20th in the Central Section CIF finals. Dinuba placed first. Overall, 28 teams competed in the D-III finals. YHS was the only NSL school to compete in D-III. Kerman ran away with the Division IV title.
Joseph Campbell (61st) 18:04 was the top Badger finisher for the boys. Other YHS results: Russell Zelazo (67) 18:14; Isaac Rumohr (81) 18:24; Brendan Rhoan (103) 18:53; Ethan Conti (137) 19:32; Matthew Horton (140) 19:41; David O’Brien (147) 19:55. Overall, there were 198 runners competing in the boys division.
It was the last official meet for retiring 30-year cross country head coach Ellen Peterson, who will leave Yosemite High at the end of the school year with more league titles (43) than any coach in the school’s 40 year history.
Boys second - girls third in NSL meet
Prior to the Central Section Championships, Yosemite took second place in the boys and the girls earned third place at the North Sequoia League Championships held at Woodward Park on November 12.
Kerman took home the NSL boys title with 16 points, followed by YHS (51), Liberty (77), and Washington Union (118).
Kerman placed first through fourth and had seven top 10 finishers. Roberto Alvarez of Kerman won the individual title with a time of 17:26.
Russell Zelazo topped YHS runners taking fifth place with a time of 17:54. Joseph Campbell was 8th in 18:39. Other YHS finishers: Isaac Rumohr (11th) 18:55; David O’Brien (13th) 18:58; Matthew Horton (16th) 19:09; Brendan Rhoan (18) 19:22; Ethan Conti (20) 19:40; Travis Wood (21) 19:47; Andrew Volpetti (23) 19:54; Trevor Wood (24) 19:56; Russell Warmerdam (26) 20:02; Kevin Kirk (27) 20:05; and Shane Eckstein (29) 20:11.
Kerman won the girls title with 19 points. In a mild surprise Liberty was second with 54 points, and YHS was third with 62. Alexis Acosta of Kerman took the individual title with a time of 21:17.
Gabrielle Stegge was the top Badger runner placing 7th with a time of 21:54. Jessica Fine was 10th at 23:04. Other top YHS girls finishers: Elyse Espe (14) 23:29; Rachel Mattos (15) 23:33; Balana Ramos (16) 23:45; Hanna Scott (18) 24:05; Randi Johnson (20) 24:26; Olivia Mattos (23) 24:36; Katie Whitcomb (25) 25-07; Amy Whitcomb (29) 25:32.
According to Badger Coach Ellen Peterson, Kerman had a championship team in every way - the boys went on to win Valley in their division.
“It is never fun to lose, but in valiant efforts, there is no shame in simply doing your very best,” Peterson said of her team. “And there was no doubt, the Badgers gave it everything they had - they lowered their race times, raced through the finish line, and were gracious and supportive to the entire family of NSL runners competing. We miss Sierra’s teams, but are happy Chowchilla added cross country this year.”
Peterson called her team and the season a big success.
“Our season could not have been any more enjoyable or successful,” said Peterson. “The team chemistry, the senior leadership, the youth to carry on a championship future, great assistant coaches, and so many adventures - beginning with the summer camp, the conquering of Cloud’s Rest, the Badger Half-Marathon, over 50 runners at MT SAC, nine meets, and a lot of ‘bonding’ on all those ‘tight’ bus rides - it was all perfect. We have lived Badgerously.”
The cross country banquet is at 6 p.m., Dec. 7, at Sierra Vista Church. $5 per person or $15 per family and a potluck dessert.