Sac-Joaquin Section Mid-Season Report

SAC JOAQUIN SECTION -- California is a very large state that is divided into 10 not so equal sections. The Sac Joaquin Section is one of the bigger sections and has proven to be one of the top competitors at the California state cross country meet.

This past weekend, many of the top teams in the state competed at the world famous Mt. SAC Invitational. Among the thousands of competitors were some of the better SJS teams and individuals. 

During the next week or so, most teams will be racing their league rivals while keeping an eye on the fast-approaching league championship meets along with the most important meet for most section teams, the Sac Joaquin Championship meet.

Based on the meets that have taken place so far this season, here is a quick snapshot of the top individuals and teams in this section.

BOYS INDIVIDUALS

In the North Coast Section, Liam Anderson is the runner to beat. In the Sac Joaquin Section, the runner to beat is Jesuit junior, Matt Strangio. He's dealt with different injuries throughout his high school career but has proven to be a tough competitor during championship seasons. 

Nevada Union senior Garrett Gough will also be one of the favorites when the best runners in the section face each other. He has rolled to four victories during the season including a sub 15 effort at the just completed Mt. SAC Invitational. 

Placer, one of the top teams in the section, is led by the duo of Jesus Guerra-Reyes and Jesus Carrasco.

Two more runners that will be a factor in the team races are Colin Ryan of Jesuit as well as Damian King of Bella Vista.

Vacaville freshman Kellen Steplight has been a revelation for his team as he has finished near the front of the many races he has already run this season.

Ranking the top 10 Sac Joaquin Section boys for Three Mile Run

RANKTIMEATHLETE/TEAMGRADEMEET DATEPLACE
114:44.81
Nevada Union High (SJ)
2019
214:55.88
Placer High School (SJ)
2019
314:57.35
Placer High School (SJ)
2019
415:14.50
Christian Brothers High School (SJ)
2019
515:15.20
Armijo High (SJ)
2019
615:17.00
Christian Brothers High School (SJ)
2019
715:29.50
Davis Senior High School (SJ)
2021
815:29.80
Merced High (SJ)
2020
915:29.90
Rio Americano High (SJ)
2019
1015:32.90
Rio Americano High (SJ)
2019

GIRLS INDIVIDUALS

This section has had quite a run of top female runners who have made noise at the national level. This year, the latest star runner is Del Oro freshman Riley Chamberlain. She has a nearly undefeated season and her most impressive performance may have been her lone loss at the Clovis Invitational as she finished in 2nd place with an impressive 17:12.7 time on the 5k course. That is the fourth fastest time for a freshman on the often used Woodward Park course.

Merced senior Quinn Hagerman has also posted a nearly undefeated season and her lone loss was also at the always tough Clovis Invitational. Her invitational victories include efforts at Lowell, Earlybird, and Highlander.

Another runner to watch in this section is St. Francis, Sacramento junior Isabella Fauria. She was one of the elite freshmen in the state before dealing with a long-term injury that sidelined her for the majority of her sophomore year. She has been the steadying veteran leader of her team and is slowly but surely returning to her form of two years ago.

Ranking the top 10 Sac Joaquin Section girls for Three Mile Run

RANKTIMEATHLETE/TEAMGRADEMEET DATEPLACE
117:06.00
St. Francis Sacramento (SJ)
2020
217:07.10
St. Francis Sacramento (SJ)
2022
317:27.00
Gregori (Joseph A.) High School (SJ)
2021
417:27.10
St. Francis Sacramento (SJ)
2022
517:37.10
Merced High (SJ)
2019
617:42.00
Del Oro High (SJ)
2022
717:49.00
Pitman (John H.) High (SJ)
2019
817:51.60
Vacaville High School (SJ)
2019
917:54.30
St. Francis Sacramento (SJ)
2019
1017:56.57
Ponderosa High School (SJ)
2022


BOYS' TEAMS

The Division I favorites provided the healthy return of Matt Strangio will be the Jesuit Marauders. They will be tested by the always tough Davis Bluedevils who will be led once again by longtime coach, Bill Gregg.

In Division IV, the two best teams that will clash for the section title will be the Placer and Christian Brothers. They are both currently ranked among the best teams in the state in their division and will both need a near perfect race to capture the section crown.

GIRLS' TEAMS

Here are the leading contenders in each division. 

The Davis girls have stormed through this section and despite the monster competition at state with the Great Oak girls, have been one of the best teams in the nation as they have podiumed multiple times at NXN. This season, the Davis girls will look to capture another section crown and then surprise a few teams at state.

In Division II, the already mentioned St. Francis, Sacramento girls seem to have the division on lockdown and will be looking to gain another podium finish at state. They currently trail a couple of southern California teams but don't count them out just yet.

In Division III, the dominant team is the Vista Del Lago girls who are aiming for not just a section title but perhaps an even more impressive state championship victory. The next best team appears to be Del Oro and as mentioned above, they may be led by the best individual in the section, Riley Chamberlain.

In Division IV, Placer and Christian Brothers will contend on the girls' side as well but they may have to overcome a strong El Dorado team in order to finish on top of this division.

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