Chico, Pleasant Valley Big Winners at Northern Section Final

Chico senior Mario Giannini (140 in read) is pictured early in the race during Wednesday's CIF-Northern Section Championships in Cottonwood. Giannini went on to win a second consecutive section title while also running the third-fastest time in course history. (Photos courtesy of Scott Giannini)

* * *

Updated 11/12 at 8:15 a.m. with official State Meet qualifiers

* * *

Chico senior Mario Giannini defended his title while running the third-fastest time in course history and Pleasant Valley captured the boys team championship at the CIF-Northern Section Championships on Wednesday afternoon at West Valley High in Cottonwood.

Senior Tryon Jardin led the way for Pleasant Valley, which earned the first of two automatic entries from Division III into the State Meet. Chico will also advance.

Jardin was second overall, running the 3-mile course in 16:07.38. 

He was 38.20 seconds behind Giannini, whose 15:29.18 slots in front of the 15:30 posted by John Whelan of Etna in 2012. Tim Nelson of Liberty Christian holds the course record at 15:01, set in 2002. Domenic D'Acquisto of Enterprise covered the layout in 15:20 in 2010. The NS has run the same West Valley HS course since 1992.

In the girls race, the Molina Twins, Della and Iresh, went 1-2 in leading Chico to a definitive victory. Iresh won the section title in 18:44.97 with Della a few ticks back at 18:46.40. Chico earned the only automatic entry from Division III for the State Meet.

University Prep senior Becca Gaido was third overall in 19:26.85, as the winner of the Division V competition. She was the overall runner-up as a sophomore in 2019. 

The Northern Section runs just two varsity races per gender at its championship meet, and then sorts through to identify the winners of Divisions III, IV, V, and VI. Yes, even though the state does not have six divisions, the NS awards winners of the smallest school division but then lumps D-V and D-VI together to determine qualifiers for the State Meet. 

The section is allotted two State Meet berths for Division III boys, Division IV boys, and girls, and one team spot for D-III girls, and D-V boys and girls. 

In the boys competition. Henry Baun of Yreka was fourth overall in 16:36.40, claiming the D-IV title. Mt. Shasta's Drew Hering was next in 16:43.27, as first across among D-VI runners. University Prep's Noah Gaido went 16:59.99, eighth overall and first among D-V runners. 

Also scoring for Pleasant Valley, senior Renton McGregor, who was third overall in 16:24.02, freshman Jackson Hein was ninth in 17:03.00, and sophomore Cavin Muff, who was 10th in 17:06.00. 

Paris Esther of Orland was seventh overall in 20:23.31 to win the D-IV title, Becca Gaido won the Division V title, and Jenna Justice of Etna, who was 13th overall in 21:09.06, won the D-VI title. 

Also scoring for Chico was senior Una Griffith, who was fifth overall in 19:40.61, junior Dot Clemente, 12th in 21:02.33, and senior Tori Mackay, who was 15th in 21:24.15. 

State Meet Qualifiers (official)



Teams (section allotment-1): Chico


Chloe Alchin, Pleasant Valley

Elizabeth Merrill, Shasta

Natalie Molz (Foothill)


Teams (2): Las Plumas, Orland


- Gabrielle Katz, Sutter

- Augustine Mylan, Yreka

- Gisela Cruz Montes, Enterprise

- Dara Schmidt, Sutter

- Carlotta Christie, Yreka

Division V

Teams (1): University Prep

- Jenna Justice, Etna

- Darcie Range, Fall River

- Sylva Carpenter, Mt. Shasta

- Elizabeth Yokel, Etna

- Lucia Duarte, Weed


Division III

Teams (2): Pleasant Valley, Chico

Individuals: None

Division IV

Teams (2): Yreka, Enterprise


- Jesse Hicks, Orland

- Antonio Palma, Wheatland

Division V 

Teams (1): University Prep


- Drew Hering, Mt. Shasta

- Ryan Mitchell, Weed

- Stephan Chapdelaine, Live Oak

- Christian Robison, CORE Butte

- Kevin Sarabia, Colusa

Individual qualifiers to the State Meet are based on a formal that is tied to the number of automatic team qualifiers per division. If a division is allowed two team qualifiers, a maximum of five athletes among the top 12 not on one of the qualifying teams will advance. If a division is only allotted one team qualifier, a maximum of five athletes among the top eight not on one of the qualifying teams will advance. 

Photos courtesy of Scott Giannini