The Millennium High girls cross-country team put strategy and teamwork together to earn the Falcons a Sac-Joaquin Section Division V championship banner on Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Willow Hill course at Folsom High School.
Millennium’s first-place finish in the SJS Division V will send the girls to their second consecutive California Interscholastic Federation state championship meet, Nov. 30 in Fresno.
“I think we’re a really united team, so we know how to work our strategies to place better,” senior Anneliese Bradley, the Falcons’ lead runner, said.
Bradley will make her third trip to state competition after advancing as an individual in 2011 and leading the team to a berth last year.
“It’s more fun going as a team, because you have everyone there supporting each other,” Bradley said.
She ran the 5K Willow Hill course at Folsom in 23 minutes, 2 seconds, placing fifth overall. Millennium’s team score of 42 beat five other Division V teams, including second-place Vacaville Christian High (51), which also qualified for state competition.
Falcons team members heading to state competition include junior Serena Cho (24:32), sophomores Priyana Patel (24:41) and Valeria Diaz (24:42), junior Estefania Torres (25:21) and freshmen Mae Sandhu (25:23) and Emme Snarr (25:29).
It will be a repeat trip for Cho, Patel and Torres and a first for Diaz, Sandhu and Snarr.
The Falcons improved on their third-place finish in the Nov. 9 subsection meet at Angels Camp, where they finished behind Modesto Christian and Vacaville Christian highs. At the section meet Saturday, Modesto Christian did not have a full team, so Vacaville was the team to beat.
Patel said the Falcons knew Vacaville’s top three runners would finish near the front, but Millennium’s athletes could push a little harder to for a better team result. All seven Millennium runners came in ahead of Vacaville’s No. 4 runner.
“It’s always a team effort,” Patel said. “Whenever we see each other in the race, we encourage each other. Working as a team is what got us to state. Even at state, that’s what we’re going to continue doing.”
Millennium’s varsity boys did not qualify any runners for state competition. Lead runner Spencer Blackwell (19:44), a senior, placed 23rd overall out of 68 runners. Also running for Millennium were sophomore Josh Harrison (20:19), freshmen Paolo De Los Santos (20:50) and Steven Blackwell (21:02), sophomores Eddie Diaz (21:28) and J.T. Amador (22:02), and senior Paul Cardenas (22:49).
Kimball High senior Francesca Loayza (20:10) finished in 25th place overall out of 75 runners in the Division I 5K varsity girls race Saturday, 25 seconds shy of qualifying for the state meet. Tracy High senior Ellie Fisher (22:14) placed 51st out of 78 runners in Division II.
Four more local runners earned medals in the freshman and sophomore 2-mile races, but athletes at those levels do not advance to state competition. In Divisions I and II, medals are awarded to the two fastest teams and the top eight at-large runners not on those teams. The five fastest runners in Division V earn medals.
The local medalists were Jacob Spencer (12:08), Tracy High, 11th place, Division II sophomore boys; Chandler Geha (12:29), Kimball High, 10th, Division I freshman boys; Mo Harrison (12:40), Tracy High, 12th, Division II freshman boys; and Andrew Priela-Soto (13:52), Millennium High, third, Division V freshman boys.
Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or email@example.com.