Five of the top runners from the Bay Valley Athletic League descended on Fresno on Nov. 25 for the CIF Cross Country Championships, having qualified at the previous week’s North Coast Section Championships.
The top finisher among the contingent was Liberty senior Julia Gonzalez who had placed sixth in the NCS Division II girls race, running a phenomenal time of 18:08 on the 3-mile NCS course at Hayward High.
Down at Woodward Park in Fresno, Gonzalez tackled the longer and more difficult 3.1-mile course, finishing in the top 30 state-wide in the Division II race, with a time of 18:47.4.
Gonzalez was stuck toward the back of the first 50 runners after the first mile, but steadily made up ground over the second mile breaking into the top 30 by the next mile mark, and hanging on to her place from there.
“I feel like I ran real well today,” Gonzalez said. “I’m definitely pleased with the outcome today.”
She was joined in the Division II race by teammate Madison MacPherson who had placed eighth at the NCS Championships. MacPherson placed 51st in the CIF race, finishing in 19:13.6. She also gained ground during each mile of the race, crossing the one-mile mark in 69th place, moving up to 59th place by the two-mile mark, and gaining eight more spots before the race had concluded.
The other female runner to qualify for the CIF Championships from the BVAL was Freedom junior Jiana Cortero who also qualified as a sophomore. Cortero ran in the ultra-competitive Division I race, finishing in the top 100 with her time of 19:34.6, a big improvement from her sophomore season.
“This year, I just had better workouts, better mileage, and better strategy,” Cortero said. “I was able to identify who I should be able to run with, and what I needed to do for better success.”
Cortero qualified for the state meet by finishing in fifth for the NCS Division I girls race, having run 19:21.9 at the Hayward course. Gonzalez, MacPherson, and Cortero were also the top three finishers at this year’s BVAL Championships.
On the boys’ side, BVAL champion and Heritage senior Jett Charvet ran to a top 50 finish in the CIF Division II boys race, in a time of 16:16.3. The elite middle-distance runner got out to a fast start, running the first mile in 4:45, part of a front pack which included about 25 runners. His second mile slowed, but he used his strong finish to stay in the top 50 of an elite field, one that included multiple teams ranked in the top 25 nationally.
Pittsburg senior Logan McNamar, who finished fourth in the BVAL meet, qualified for the state meet as one of the top individual qualifiers in the NCS Division I race, where he took 10th overall. McNamar finished the CIF Division I race in 17:07.7, which placed him in the top 150 runners in his race.
The CIF Championships concludes the 2017 cross country season. Many of these athletes can be seen again on the track in the spring.