Lo­cal run­ners com­pete in state cross-coun­try cham­pi­onships

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY AN­THONY GALAVIZ [email protected]­nobee.com

De­fend­ing state girls crosscoun­try cham­pion Corie Smith wasn’t feel­ing right at 4 a.m. Satur­day.

Un­for­tu­nately, it wasn’t nerves just hours be­fore the state meet at Wood­ward Park. The Buchanan High ju­nior woke up with flu-like symp­toms.

Buchanan coach Brian Weaver told her it was best not risk­ing her health, and Smith sat out the race.

Her run­ning part­ner, Buchanan se­nior Meagen Lowe, went on without her and fin­ished sec­ond for the sec­ond straight year on the 3.1-mile course. Tori Gai­tan of jug­ger­naut Great Oak-Te­mec­ula won the girls D-I race in 17 min­utes 19.4 sec­onds ahead of Lowe’s 17:26.6.

“I wanted to come in and run smart,” Lowe said. “Run my race and I think I did pretty well, but it was a lit­tle weird (not hav­ing Smith in the race) just be­cause I’m so used to her be­ing in that pack, but we both just try to fo­cus on run­ning our own races. I feel my race strat­egy wasn’t any dif­fer­ent.”

Smith said she was “bummed” she couldn’t race. She said she felt fine Fri­day and won­dered whether she had a case of food poi­son­ing.

“I was look­ing for­ward to com­ing out here and de­fend­ing my state ti­tle. I knew it was go­ing to be a great race. To wake up this morn­ing and not be­ing able to run was just dev­as­tat­ing.

“I had to come out here and put a smile on for my team­mates, and I know they did

amaz­ing. I know they tried their hard­est.”

Without Smith, the Bears slipped from last year’s run­ner-up team fin­ish to sixth with 211 points. Great Oak won its record sev­enth straight D-I ti­tle with 79 points.

Lowe showed steady im­prove­ment her whole ca­reer, from 26th and 18:23.9 her fresh­man sea­son at state, then sixth and 17:36.7 as a sopho­more and last year’s 17:19.8 on a faster track.

“My goal through­out my high school ca­reer is don’t move back­wards at all,” she said. “I can’t com­plain.”

Said Smith: “It’s weird watch­ing be­cause I hate watch­ing. It’s still fun. I en­joyed watch­ing (Lowe) go out there and try her hard­est. It looked like a great race. It’s fun un­til I saw the fin­ish. We should be fin­ish­ing to­gether, but what can you do about it?” Divi­sion I boys — Clo­vis North ju­nior Isa­iah Galindo’s goal was to fin­ish in the top 10 in the D-I boys race.

Never mind he was deal­ing with a pinched nerve in his foot. Galindo fin­ished sev­enth in 15:12.6.

“Fin­ish­ing sev­enth was pretty amaz­ing,” he said. “I went out there think­ing I’m shoot­ing for the top 10 and to pull away with sev­enth, that was pretty good.”

Great Oak se­cured its record fifth straight boys ti­tle with a dom­i­nat­ing 65 points as all five scor­ers fin­ished in the top 20 (and its two non-scor­ers were 23rd and 31st). Clo­vis North came in 10th.

Matt Stran­gio of Je­suit took the race in 15:04.5. Other Val­ley high­lights — Clo­vis se­nior Olivia Her­rera was 27th and Clo­vis West fin­ished 15th in girls D-I.

Buchanan ju­nior Kelly Brewer was 35th in boys D-I.

Edi­son se­nior Bryan Banue­los was 19th and Cen­tral ju­nior Abel-Rud­isha Tef­fra was 22nd in boys D-III.

Lind­say se­nior MaKaylie Cae­sar was 10th, lead­ing the Car­di­nals to 13th as a team in girls D-IV.

The Chowchilla boys fin­ished 20th in D-V.

PHO­TOS BY CRAIG KOHLRUSS ck­[email protected]­nobee.com

Buchanan's Meagen Lowe, left, stays on the heels of the lead run­ners in the girls Divi­sion I race in the State cross-coun­try cham­pi­onships at Wood­ward Park in Fresno on Satur­day.

The Clo­vis North cross-coun­try team, in­clud­ing lead­ing run­ner Isa­iah Galindo, right cen­ter, start their race Satur­day.

Merced run­ner Cole McKain, left, sprints to the fin­ish in the boys Divi­sion III race iat Wood­ward Park on Satur­day.

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