Sac-Joaquin Section Girls Cross Country Preview
Del Oro senior Riley Chamberlain (right) is a two-time CIF-State Division III champion. (Dan Tyree photo)
Below is an overview look at cross country athletes to watch in the Sac-Joaquin Section. Because of the shutdown of the 2020 season and loss of the CIF-State Championships, a lot of our information below is based on returning athletes from the 2019 State Meet, 2019 Sac-Joaquin Section finals, and marks achieved during both the 2021 winter XC season and the spring '21 track season.
We're fortunate that the SJS has had a couple of key preview meets as well as season-opening meets this past weekend from which to draw data.
Information is based on results in the MileSplit database. Please let us know of any inaccurate or incomplete information.
Contests are underway in the Sac-Joaquin Section with the SJS Sub-Sectional scheduled November 6 with the SJS Championships, a State Meet qualifier, to be held November 13.
Runners To Watch
Vista del Lago senior Alexandra Klos will not return to the course to defend the SJS and State Division 2 titles she won during an awesome 2019 sophomore season. Klos is an elite soccer player who, according to VdL coach Robert Grove, has decided to focus on preparing for college soccer. She is headed to Santa Clara. At the 2019 State Final, Klos ran the Woodward Park 5K course in 17:13, the sixth-fastest time in D-II history. Her time ranked third in the merge behind Carlie Dorostkar and Corie Smith, who went 1-2 in D-I. She went on to compete at Team Nationals in Portland, placing 28th. (Patrick Corsinita photo)
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Emily Aronhalt (Inderkum, Sr.), Melissa Barajas (Modesto), Jenna Calvert (Franklin, So.), Abby Carroll (Davis, Jr.), Loralye Clements (Oak Ridge, Jr.), Chloe Cook (Gregori, Jr.), Norah Dulaney (Davis, Jr.), Sanya Gowda (Folsom, Sr.), Olivia Johnson (McClatchey, Jr.), Ava Maier (Oak Ridge, Sr.), Lily Marshall (Kennedy), Anna McNatt (McClatchy, Jr.), Louisa McNatt (McClatchy, Jr.), Ariana Puccini (Franklin, Jr.), Elizabeth Richey (Woodcreek, Jr.), Kayla Rutz (Oak Ridge, Sr.), Skyler Tatum (Lincoln, Sr.), Quinn Walker (Oak Ridge, Jr.), Dylan Wright (Oak Ridge, Sr.).
Kaylee Barnes (Rio Americano, Sr.), Tatiana Cornejo (St. Francis. Sr.), Carly Foster (Granite Bay, Jr.), Cate Joaquin (St. Francis. Sr.), Ava Kopec (Whitney, So.), Katie Kopec (Whitney, Jr.), Olivia Schlieman (Rio Americano, Jr.), Claire Silva (St. Francis, Sr.), Leila Swenson (Bella Vista, Sr.), Kayla Towne (St. Francis, So.), Natalie Wieland (Ponderosa, Sr.), Hailey Wurzbach (Vacaville, Sr.).
Addison Arsenith (Placer, Sr.), Leah Booth (Placer, So.), Karissa Chamberlain (Del Oro, So.), Riley Chamberlain (Del Oro, Sr.), Avery Covington (Del Oro, Jr.), Kassidy Fmura (Oakdale, Jr.), Haliegh Humble (Oakdale, Sr.), Emilie Merz (Del Oro, Sr.), Isabel Perez-Zoghbi (Merced, Sr.), Constance O'Neal (Placer, Sr.), Aryanna Sandoval (Los Banos, Sr.), Megan Schreck (Nevada Union, Sr.), Anna Soares (Placer, So.), Alexis Stubbs (Atwater, Sr.).
Janiah Basco (Weston Ranch, Jr.), Madison Clement (Sonora, Jr.), Hannah Crone (El Dorado, Sr.), Chloe Gautschi (El Dorado, Sr.), Maya Gomez (Livingstone, Jr.), Lily Johnson (El Dorado, So.), Brianna Personius (Sonora, Jr.), Mahalia Quintana (Woodland, Sr.), Alicia Romani (Christian Bro, Jr.), Sofia Vasquez (Summerville, Sr.), Lydia Waters (Ripon, Sr.), Annie Wild (Ripon, Jr.).
Gabriella Biitner (Colfax, Jr.), Jade Biitner (Colfax, So.), Maya De Jong (Ripon Christian, Jr.), Kara Dierssen (Colfax, Sr.), Monica Gutierrez (Waterford, Sr.), Katrina Husby (Vacaville Christian, Jr.), McKenna Lechner (Foresthill, Jr.), Laura Everett (Vacaville Christian, Sr.), Ashley Sams (Central Catholic, Sr.), Mari Ziegler (Colfax, Jr.).
2019 Team Champions
Division I: Oak Ridge (9th at State)
Division II: St. Francis (6th at State)
Division III: Del Oro (5th at State)
Division IV: Ripon (20th at State)
Division V: Colfax (22nd at State)
The last time we had a CIF-State cross country meet, a sophomore named Riley Chamberlain from Del Oro won her second consecutive Division III title and a soph from Vista del Lago named Alexandra Klos came off the soccer field to blow away the field in the Division II championship.
Both had won CIF-Sac-Joaquin Section divisional titles the previous week.
Klos, a high-level soccer recruit headed to Santa Clara, made her first foray into the cross country realm extremely successful, winning just about every time she took the line. But soccer is her best sport and that's what she has decided to focus on this fall, Vista del Lago cross country coach Robert Grove said.
Even with Klos out of the conversation, the SJS remains strong at the top.
Chamberlain, a BYU commit, continued her extreme dominance in Division III and enters her senior year with two section and State Meet titles already on her resume.
Cate Joaquin, runner-up to Klos in the section race while leading St. Francis to the SJS title, was fourth at the State meet and now is the No. 1 returner in the division from that meet. She wrapped up a successful sophomore season qualifying for the Foot Locker National Championships.
Whitney junior Katie Kopec was 24th at State and third in the section meet as a freshman and is the No. 3 returner in the section in Division 2.
In Division 1, Oak Ridge won the section title with returners Ava Maier, Kayla Rutz, Quinn Walker, and Dylan Wright running Nos. 1, 3, 4, and 5, respectively, at State. Walker is a junior. The other three are seniors. Maier just went 11:59.48 for 2 mils to win the Senior race at the Sierra College Invitational with Rutz second in 12:02.26. Junior Brooke Butler went 12:06.99 with Walker in at 12:12.54. Butler was the Sierra Foothill League 2-mile frosh/soph race winner in March.
McClatchy junior Anna McNatt was the fastest girl on the course Saturday in Rocklin, running 11:21.62 at the Sierra Invite. McNatt is the No. 2 returner in the SJS from the 2019 State Meet (where she was 43rd in D-I) after placing fourth in the section final.
Del Oro's section defense obviously begins with Chamberlain, but also includes returner Emilie Merz, a senior who ran No. 3 for the team at State in 2019, as well as Riley's younger sister Karissa Chamberlain, a sophomore who placed fourth at the league meet in March.
Returning Division 4 champion, Brianna Personius, a junior at Sonora, won her league 3200-meter title on the track in the spring. Returning D-5 champion McKenna Lechner, a junior at Foresthill, has just two races in the database since placing 33rd in the D-V race at State in 2019. One of those races was Saturday in the Sierra Invite where she placed eighth in the Junior race.
Inserted photos by Patrick Corsinita