Buchanan, Madera South shine at Section meet
For Hagen Reedy and Jose Herrera and their Buchanan High girls and Madera South boys cross country teams, there was hardly a push from their rivals Thursday at the Central Section championships at Woodward Park; they ran against the clock.
- Reedy, a year after winning the D-I title by 39 seconds in 17:44 over the 3.1-mile course, ran away and hid this time by 56 seconds in 17:11. She then announced a commitment to Colorado of the Pac-12.
- Her Buchanan team extended one of the most extraordinary dynasties in all of section sports by winning its 13th consecutive championship by 24 points over Clovis West.
The Bears (23), in missing a perfect score by eight points, also went 4-5-6-7 with Maddy Nikkel (personal record 18:28), Hannah Benoit (18:45), Justice Hinojosa (PR 18:53) and Jose Frye (18:54).
- Herrera, a year after capturing the D-II gold by 4 seconds in 15:58, delivered the surprise of the day by blowing away a strong D-I field in 15:37. Defending champion Blake Haney of Stockdale was second at 15:47.
- And Herrera’s state third-ranked Stallions also went 3-4-10-11 with David Garcia (15:49), Uriel Cabanos (15:52), Juan Macias (16:07) and Eduardo Herrera (16:12), Jose’s freshman brother. They scored 29 points, with state No. 8 and four-time section champion Buchanan (64) a distant second.
It was a fifth straight section crown for Madera South after winning D-II (twice) and D-III (twice). All have been coached by Rich Parris, the same man who won five section titles in a row previously at Madera.
“That’s 10, wow,” he said. “I’m ecstatic. And we go 1-3-4-10-11? Holy moly.”
But running virtually unopposed will end for his Stallions, Herrera, the Bears and Reedy in nine days.
“And I look forward to it,” Reedy said of the 26th CIF State Championships Nov. 24 at Woodward. “It’s hard out here.”
It’s hard, she means, trying to beat a PR — a section-record 16:59, in her case — without someone clipping at your Nikes.
Yes, Bullard’s Ali Teliha — one of the section’s most consistent distance runners for four years — was only 3 meters south of Reedy at the mile mark.
Then, bye-bye for the only cross country female state champion in section history. That occurred last year, when Reedy won the D-I race in 17:27.
Simi Valley’s Sarah Baxter, the nation’s best, won D-II the same day in 17:08.
Since then, Simi Valley has been elevated to D-I, meaning: Game on for the pair next week.
“I’m looking forward to state to have someone with me and get the time I want,” said Reedy, who was hoping for about a 16:55 Thursday. “I wanted to do better, honestly. But I can’t dwell on that because what our team did was amazing.”
Madera South’s Jose Herrera hit the mile mark at 4:50 with three others. A mile later, he was gone.
“I made my move on the hill, took it from there and didn’t look back,” he said. “I’m very happy for my team. We work together, push each other and talk to each other. Running as a pack is the key. We wanted this pretty bad. Now we want to get on the podium (top three teams) at state.”
A combination of the top two or three teams in each division Thursday qualified for the state in addition to the top five individuals separate from those teams. But those individuals had to finish among the top 12.
- Other boys golds went to El Diamante sophomore Jacob Bilvado (D-II, 15:49), Roosevelt’s Victor Maldonado (D-III, 16:16), Exeter’s Robert Reid (D-IV, 16:12) and Immanuel’s Kasey Knevelbaard (D-V, 16:54).
- Boys team titles also went to McFarland (D-II), Roosevelt (D-III), Exeter (D-IV) and Central Valley Christian (D-V).
- Other girls champions were Monache’s Jordyn Zorn (D-II, 18:43), Ridgeview’s Lashya Morgan (D-III, 19:03), Exeter’s Yesenia Silva (D-IV, 18:41) and CVC’s Annechiena Knevelbaard (D-V, 20:16), who’s not related to Kasey Knevelbaard. Silva and Annechiena Knevelbaard also won last year.
- Girls team titles were also won by Shafter (D-II), McFarland (D-III), Exeter (D-IV) and CVC (D-V).
By Andy Boogaard