Oakmont girls step up in Garcia’s absence
Oakmont High School didn’t win the girls title at the second Capital Valley Conference cross country meet of the season Wednesday at Maidu Regional Park, but coach Ryan Nugent liked what he saw anyway.
With Karlie Garcia getting a day off following her impressive victory at the Clovis Invitational last weekend, the Vikings still assembled a second-place finish with 35 points to Bella Vista’s winning 24. Sophomore Marisa Carino won the 5K race in 18 minutes, 42.5 seconds, nearly 20 seconds ahead of Bella Vista junior Sara Lack (19:02.2).
Oakmont had three other top-10 finishes: freshman Kylie Michaels in fourth (19:53.34), senior Nyralee Chhotu in seventh (20:09.57) and senior Grace Cambra in ninth (20:13.05). Also, senior Georgia Cambra was 14th (21:37.06), senior Kendra Sheppard was 19th (21:55.62), and senior Cheyenne Amaro was 23rd (22:28.1).
“We had a very good day. The other girls really stepped up and ran well,” Nugent said. “I was really happy with the way the rest of our girls stepped up.”
Coming off the Clovis meet and with the CVC finals two weeks away, Nugent said it was a good day for Garcia to “recharge her batteries.” He debated whether to sit Carino, but the sophomore convinced him to let her run. She finished behind Lack at the first CVC meet.
On Wednesday, Lack and Bella Vista teammate Renny Castanon were on Carino’s heels about one mile in, but Carino pulled away.
“When you lose Karlie, it’s easy to just feel deflated and kind of, ‘Oh no, we’re not going to have as big a shot at winning,’ ” Nugent said. “But they all stepped up as a team. For a while, we were winning the meeting. In the last mile, their strength took us over. You put Karlie in the mix, we’re right there. And with the girls knowing, ‘Hey, we have Karlie up front, too,’ they always just run better. Any time we have her in the race, we have a shot to win any meet.”
Oakmont’s boys were missing three of their top six runners and finished fifth. Del Campo dominated with 20 points. Senior Edixon Puglisi finished sixth (16:30.64) for the Vikings.
One runner had a commitment with the Oakmont soccer team. Another had a knee injury. The other was freshman Ian Miller, who has been the Vikings’ No. 3 varsity runner but stayed down Wednesday and won the 3,200-meter frosh-soph race in 10:58.99. Oakmont won the frosh-soph boys and girls titles.
Sophomore Elijah Selby’s 11:10.32 time gave the Oakmont frosh-soph boys a 1-2 finish, and sophomore Austin Taggart finished ninth (11:42.05).
The Vikings had four top-10 finishers in the frosh-soph girls race: sophomores Mikayla Brant (13:42.81) and Ashley Emitte (13:56.32) in second and third, freshman Megan Burnes in fifth (14:26.85) and sophomore Amanda Baskerville in seventh (14:46.07).