The JSerra Girls Are On A Mission This Fall: Be The Best

* The JSerra Catholic girls were runner-ups in the girls sweepstakes race at Woodbridge 

Photo Credit: Raymond Tran/MileSplit

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By Tomoki Chien - California MileSplit

Chase Frazier is pleased with his team's start to the season -- and rightfully so.

It's been a hot one.

His MileSplit50 No. 3 ranked JSerra Catholic girls stormed their way to an easy win at the Cool Breeze Invitational to begin the month, opening their season with a 43-point team score.

The squad followed two weeks later with a second-place effort at the Woodbridge Cross Country Classic, losing to Air Academy (CO), but beating powerhouse Buchanan.

The Kadets have since moved up to No. 1 in the national rankings, while Buchanan has shifted to four. JSerra's national ranking is its best in school history. 

"Just seeing them handle that fast start and being in that type of competition [at Woodbridge], you know we have a great team," said Frazier, who is the program's head coach. "That was a pretty crazy race."

The result may not have been particularly surprising. The two-time reigning CIF Division IV champions returned this year with all but one runner who scored at last year's state meet: Anastasia Snodgrass, who now runs for Cal.

Every scoring runner at Woodbridge was a junior or younger, and those top five finished with an impressive 25-second spread.

Freshman Reese Holley, who finished fifth for the team at Woodbridge with a time of 17:14.3 over the 3-mile course, has started to look like a serious rising star.

"[Holley]'s learned to not race at practice, but to compete," Frazier said. "She's not trying to one-up anybody; she's a freshman that's mature."

Transfers Sophie Polaya junior formerly of Santa Margarita, and Chloe Elbaz, a sophomore formerly of Xavier Prep, also bring serious additional star power to the JSerra lineup.

Their CIF-mandated sit-out period will end Oct. 2.

Frazier plans to field those two transfers, who are veterans of the Woodward Park course, at the Clovis Invitational next Saturday.

Junior Brynn Garcia, who led the squad at Clovis last year and also finished first for the team at Woodbridge, should bring even more firepower.

The varsity squad won't include a single senior.

"We're looking to get a chance to compete against DI, DII, DIII teams and some of the good individuals around, because when we go back to the state final it's just DIV," Frazier said.

This JSerra squad has never won Clovis, but Frazier would like to change that this year.

Expect it to be a battle. 

Buchanan should be out for redemption after its third-place finish at Woodbridge and a "DNP" at last year's meet.

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"This group's pretty much ready for anything. And there's way more than seven out there."

Los Altos should also not be underrated. The Eagles return with a near-intact varsity squad and could secure back-to-back titles. And don't discount Newbury Park, either, which finished just a point behind JSerra last year for third-place.

But Clovis is just the start.

Frazier would like to win the state title for a third year in a row. He'd also like to podium at Nike Cross Nationals, after a performance in Portland last year that he called a "learning opportunity."

"When I stepped off the plane and felt the weather, I was like 'Oh, we have not dealt with this before,'" Frazier said. "It was windy. It was cold."

Frazier said the squad had about a half hour between when it was introduced and when the race started, and he didn't plan the warmup properly.

The squad finished second to last; Frazier plans to adjust accordingly this time around.

"Last year I didn't really want to talk about [NXN] -- we wanted to take it one step at a time," Frazier said. "But we won back-to-back state championships, we won Orange County for the first time in the school's history. Really, the next thing is that national level."

When JSerra enters the November championship season, it'll do so with a remarkably deep roster. Its "B" team is regularly a serious contender at a high varsity level, and there's no shortage of talent to slot into the the top seven.

"We don't say 'Ok, these are the seven spots,'" Frazier said. "They know that it's a revolving door. ... But we do have that competition. And competition is good. If you're going to college at the next level, you're going to be on the line with everyone who was a captain on their [high school] team."

Frazier's keys to success this season?

Stay hungry. Be resilient.

"This group's pretty much ready for anything," Frazier said. "And there's way more than seven out there."

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