Sac-Joaquin Section 2019 XC Season In Review

Alexandra Klos burst onto the XC scene this season and ran off with Sac-Joaquin Section and State Division II titles, among her accomplishments. (Credit: Patrick Corsinita)


Where to start with the Sac-Joaquin Section 2019 cross country season? How about with perennial champion Matt Strangio of Jesuit? Or with two-time State Division III winner Riley Chamberlain of Del Oro? Or the newbie on the scene, Alexandra Klos of Vista del Lago? 

And then there's Madison Kackley, the dynamic St. Franciso duo of Cate Joaquin and Isabella Fauria, and subtle excellence of boys stars like Whitney's Austin Vasquez and Godebo Chapman of West Campus. 

There are five State Meet champions among the three names in that first paragraph. Let's start there.

Strangio, the University of Portland-bound senior, padded his resume this fall like few have before him. He ran 13 races and set four course records. Plus, Strangio ran through illness to go under the meet record at the Clovis Invitational on the State Meet course at Woodward Park in Fresno while placing third in the fastest race in meet history. He won 11 races and his worst finish was fourth at Nike Cross Nationals, a four-place improvement from 2018 on the Glendoveer 5K Course in Portland. 

Strangio concluded his stellar career with a third consecutive SJS title, a second State Division I title and a third consecutive top-15 finish at NXN. 

Whereas Strangio hit, if not exceeded, expectations, a couple of underclass girls were major surprises. Gregori junior Madison Kackley (pictured) won the SJS Division 2 title and placed fifth at State a year after placing eighth and 12th, respectively. 

And then there is Alexandra Klos, a converted soccer player who took the line for the first time this fall and blew everyone away. The sophomore at Vista del Lago flashed onto the scene when she knocked off now two-time State Division III champion Riley Chamberlain at Capital Cross.

In six races during the CIF season, Klos won four, placed second to Buchanan's Corie Smith at the Clovis Invitational only after stumbling over the final grass sprint to the finish. The other time Klos did not win was the opening of the season, the first of her career, when she placed second to St. Francis sophomore Cate Joaquin by six seconds at the Josh Ruff Memorial. 

Klos doubled back on Joaquin at the section final to win by more than 54 seconds. Klos than went on to win the State D-II title by 22 seconds over Colony's Amber Rios. Klos concluded her first year of XC by placing 28th at NXN as the No. 3 girl from California behind only San Diego star Carlie Dorostkar and Smith, the top two finishers in D-I at State. 

With Strangio leading the way, running 14:43.50, Jesuit took second at the State Meet. A pair of juniors, Spencer Pickren and Michael Chambers, placed 20th and 21st, respectively, among scoring runners to help Jesuit edge Bellarmine (CC) by one point. 

That was the highest placing of any of the SJS teams at State. 

The Calavaras boys placed fourth in Division IV, as senior Jacob Christopher, just as he had done at the SJS Final, crossed just behind West Campus junior Godebo Chapman. At sections, it was Chapman winning the title and Christopher second. At State, Chapman was seventh overall with Christopher eighth (sixth among scoring runners). (The Pat Rhames photo at right shows Christopher (190) right behind Chapman (1942) at the 1-mile marker on the course at Woodward Park.) Calaveras posted a 1:14 split among the scoring runners and a 16:23 average with seniors Jeremy Milligan and Bennie Hesser placing 25th and 41st (among scorers) with sophomore Garrett Hesser (56th) and junior Jaime Espirtu (62nd) also scoring.

Chamberlain ran the Woodward Park course in 17:16.00 and led Del Oro to a fifth place finish. Sophomore Hannah Wirth (18 among scorers), sophomore Emilie Merz (32) and junior Chloe Jeppson (56) were the next fastest for Del Oro. 

Vasquez followed up his SJS Division II title with a 12th place finish at State, running 15:22.90. Whitney ended up eighth behind Granada (NC) based on a sixth-runner tiebreaker. 

The St. Francis girls placed sixth in the D-II race at State, led by Joaquin, who was fourth overall and second among scoring runners, and senior Fauria, who was 20th among scorers. Sophomore Tatiana cornejo was 51st and senior Haley Silva was 61st in support for St. Francis. 

While Klos closed out her season in Portland at NXN, Joaquin ran the flat fast asphalt at Mt. SAC for Foot Locker West and qualified to compete at the Foot Locker National Championships in San Diego. 

One final mention to the East Union boys, who placed sixth in Division III. While Merced senior Cole McKain was the only SJS boy among the top 25 in D-III (he placed seventh), East Union ran a tight 45-second 1-5 split to earn a top-six placing. Sophomore Johnny Sandoval (pictured) led the way placing 26th overall and 20th among scorers followed by senior Marco Perez (36/26), sophomore Maury Ortiz (66/48), sophomore Cooper Freeman (95/70) and freshman Alex Cuevas (101/76). 

Below you will find list of top SJS finishers at the section finals and at the State Meet, followed by links to section finals coverage and section-specific 3-mile and 5K rankings.




1Matt Strangio12Jesuit (SJ)15:25.901
2Michael Chambers11Jesuit (SJ)16:11.302


1Madison Kackley11Gregori (Joseph A.) High School (SJ)18:27.901
2Abigail Fletcher11Oak Ridge High School (SJ)18:53.102



1Austin Vasquez12Whitney High (SJ)15:51.801
2Daniel Hernandez12Vacaville High School (SJ)16:04.802


1Alexandra Klos10Vista del Lago High (SJ)17:31.801
2Cate Joaquin10St. Francis Sacramento (SJ)18:26.402



1Cole Mckain12Merced High (SJ)16:22.301
2Jake Slade11Nevada Union High (SJ)16:48.90


1Riley Chamberlain10Del Oro High (SJ)18:47.301
2Hannah Wirth11Del Oro High (SJ)18:47.402



1Godebo Chapman11West Campus (Hiram Johnson) (SJ)16:13.601
2Jacob Christopher12Calaveras High School (SJ)16:18.602


1Brianna Personius9Sonora High (SJ)19:32.600
2Mahalia Quintana10Woodland High (SJ)19:34.301



1Jaydon Spires12Tioga High (SJ)17:02.800
2Jonathan Staley12Waterford High (SJ)17:28.501


1Mckenna Lechner9Foresthill High School (SJ)20:56.001
2Anna Rose11Argonaut High School (SJ)21:18.000



Boys in the top 25

1Matt Strangio12Jesuit (SJ)14:43.501
9Patrick Mcgonigle12Sheldon High (SJ)15:13.000

Girls in the top 25
5Madison Kackley11Gregori (Joseph A.) High School (SJ)17:44.700
23Ava Maier10Oak Ridge High School (SJ)18:15.0017
24Abigail Fletcher11Oak Ridge High School (SJ)18:15.8018


Boys top 25

12Austin Vasquez12Whitney High (SJ)15:22.9011

Girls top 25

1Alexandra Klos10Vista del Lago High (SJ)17:13.101
4Cate Joaquin10St. Francis Sacramento (SJ)17:39.702
17Sophia Karperos12Rio Americano High (SJ)18:07.1012
24Katie Kopec9Whitney High (SJ)18:13.800


Boys top 25

7Cole Mckain12Merced High (SJ)15:35.600

Girls top 25
1Riley Chamberlain10Del Oro High (SJ)17:16.001
24Hannah Wirth11Del Oro High (SJ)18:53.6018


Boys top 25

7Godebo Chapman11West Campus (Hiram Johnson) (SJ)15:34.500
8Jacob Christopher12Calaveras High School (SJ)15:35.306
15Cristian Martinez12Liberty Ranch (SJ)15:51.000
20Adin Dibble10Sonora High (SJ)15:59.200
21Daniel Winter10St. Mary's Stockton (SJ)15:59.800

Girls top 25
17Brianna Personius9Sonora High (SJ)18:41.300
24Alicia Romani9Christian Brothers High School (SJ)18:46.700


Boys top 25


Girls top 25



Additional photos by James Leash, Pat Rhames and DeAnna Turner