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JSerra senior Anthony Grover won the division title by 14.30 seconds over Mitchell Ross of Scotts Valley and Foothill Technology gave one last title to legendary coach Ken Reeves, beating runner-up Scotts Valley by 18 points. 

Two of this year's race favorites, Jeremy Kain of Scotts Valley (pictured above from 2021) and Bryce Gilmore of Sage Creek, placed 12th and 13th, respectively, as sophomores, and are the division's top returners from 2019. 

The girls race was all Sage Creek for a second year in a row as senior Skyler Wallace placed second, senior Lavanya Pandey was fourth, sophomore Stormy Wallace was sixth, and freshman Malia Leupold was ninth. Sage Creek set the D-IV team time record at 90:58. Stormy Wallace and Leupold are the leaders of the 2021 team looking for a third consecutive title.

Foothill Tech junior Brooke Secreto was a 19.90-second winner over Mayfield junior Audrey Suarez for the individual title.



This is a bit of mystery division.

Oh, Big Bear's Max Sannes was uber-impressive winning the Southern Section in 15:11.4 and would figure to be a very slight co-favorite with Sage Creek's Bryce Gilmore (pictured), who scorched the 2.96-mile Balboa Park Morley Field course in 14:56.4, winning the San Diego Section by 42 seconds.

But neither might be first across the finish line with the likes of Scott Valley's Jeremy Kain (15:26.8) and Menlo School's Justin Pretre (15:29.7) coming off a huge showdown in the Central Coast Section finals at Crystal Springs. Kain's teammate, Ryder Brabo is certainly no slouch (14:34.7 for 3 miles) and Albany's Sean Morello captured the North Coast Section title in 15:16.3 at Hayward High.

Don't forget Adin Dibble of Sonora who tied with teammate Broen Holman (pictured) first the Sac-Joaquin Section championships at 15:41.2. Could they make it 1-2 again at State?

Scott's Valley has been atop the Division IV state team rankings for most of the season but it took everything the Falcons had to fly past Menlo, 44-45, in the Central Coast Section championships. Both schools figure to be in the mix as all Menlo needs is any runner to pick up a couple of places.

Albany showed only a 64-second gap between 1-5 in the North Coast Section behind Morello. Also in the mix are teams like Placer from the Sac-Joaquin Section, Yosemite from the Central Section, Lowell from the San Francisco Section, Laguna Hills and Cathedral of the Southern Section, and San Diego Section champ Sage Creek with a strong 1-2-3 punch.




When Sage Creek's girls bid for their second straight title in 2019, it wasn't a case of if they'd win, but by how much. They were not only fast up front, they were deep.  In the end, just 12 seconds separated their first and fourth runners as all of them were in the Top10. They set a Division IV team time record 1:30.59.

That isn't expected to happen this year as the Bobcats go for their third consecutive championship.

They certainly still have the front-runner as Stormy Wallace (pictured), who two years ago was sixth at 18:04.5 behind her sister Skyler, has had a banner year. She won at Mt. SAC and she was dominant in the section championships, clocking a time of 17:20.9 over 2.96 miles at Balboa Park's Morley Field. That was the fastest time of the day for any division by five seconds.

Southern Section champion JSerra, with freshman Brynn Garcia leading the way at 18:10.6, was only 1:02 between its No. 1 and No. 5, and La Canada was just a step behind. JSerra has been projected as the team to beat in D-IV most of the season. They are young and deep but probably not as impressive on Saturday as they had hoped as two expected scorers, sophomore Georgia Jeanneret and senior Ashley Gallegos, were not among their top 5. 

Still, a 17-point win over La Canada in a division that also includes Laguna Hills, and Harvard Westlake, is nonetheless impressive. 

Harvard Westlake gapped at 30 seconds but the usual front-runner, senior Daniela Quintero, placed 21st but still led the way. 

Although Oaks Christian placed sixth after losing the tie-breaker to South Pasadena, sophomore standout Payton Godsey won the division title by seven seconds over La Canada sophomore Arielle McKenzie, clocking a 17:21.9 over the Mt. SAC course-faster than the 17:25.0 Wallace ran winning the Mt. SAC Invitational.

Laguna Hills freshman star Holly Barker placed third in that Southern Section final (17:54.9), followed by Oaks Christian sophomore Grace Geyer, JSerra's Garcia, and La Canada sophomore Katelyn Matarese

The division loaded with young talent on the girls side includes perhaps the runner to beat in Acalanes sophomore Olivia Williams, the North Coast Section champion. She ran the fastest time at the NCS meet on the 3-mile Hayward HS course beating along the way, standout Albany senior Sophia Nordenholz.

Williams' 16:15.20 is the fastest 3-mile time of any girl in the division this fall. Nordenholz's 17:28.00, for third in the girls sweepstakes race at the Clovis Invitational on the State Meet course is the fastest 5K of any girls in the division this fall. Wallace's 17:47.30 at Hole In the Wall in Arlington, Washington in early October ranks second.

Other girls to watch include Central Coast Section champion Ashlyn Boothby from Scotts Valley. She was just an 8th-grader when Sage Creek last won and the sophomore member of the 1-2 Boothby punch with sister Amber, a junior, was impressive in winning the CCS title in 18:15.3 at Crystal Springs.

As for Sage Creek's team chances, the Bobcats fared well in the San Diego Section finals where, if you took out Wallace, the rest of the five scorers were less than a minute behind as a pack. Malia Leupold (19:22.8), who was ninth in the state as a freshman, was only the No. 4 Sage Creek individual as freshman Gabriella Peters (19:01.5) and soph Kaya Scuba (19:09.5) beat her to the finish line.

Other teams to watch include Sac-Joaquin Section champion Placer, Central champion Santa Maria, perennial San Francisco Section champion Lowell, and Miramonte and St. Mary's College Prep out of the NCS. 

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Steve Brand is a freelance writer and regular contributor to MileSplitCA.

MileSplitCA editor Jeffrey Parenti contributed to this report.

Photos by DeAnna Turner, Angel Pena, Daniel Tyree, James Leash, Matt Ebiner, and Patrick Corsinita.