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Woodcreek boys, Granite Bay girls triumph at SFL cross country meet

Grizzlies' Holt wins her fourth individual title; Timberwolves' Biando takes boys race with strong finish
By: Bill Poindexter
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Brooke Holt’s fourth Sierra Foothill League cross country championship led another 1-2-3 individual finish that helped Granite Bay High School win an SFL team title, too, Friday at William Jessup University.
Brandon Biando’s push to the finish line earned him an impressive crown and helped Woodcreek reclaim the SFL boys championship.
Solo triumphs are big in cross country, but in an age when the national spotlight shines on individuals, it still takes a textbook team effort to win championships in the sport.
Granite Bay placed five runners in the top nine – that’s half of the All-SFL team of 10 – to score 23 points and run away with the girls title. Woodcreek was second with 53.
In the boys race, Woodcreek placed four runners in the top 10 and finished with 36 points. Rocklin was second with 47.
The Granite Bay trio of Holt, freshman Clare Carroll and senior Christine Zavesky finished 1-2-3 again to lead the Grizzlies. That was how they finished when Granite Bay and many other Placer County teams opened the season Sept. 2 at the Del Oro Invite.
“They are the real deal,” Granite Bay coach Angie Pozzi said. “The girls, all of them, have just been working really, really hard. They’ve dedicated themselves to the season, to each other, to be a positive force and work with each other. They’ve made it so much fun.”
Last year’s meet was run in almost “ideal” conditions, according to Zavesky. On Friday, it was cool, breezy and overcast. Coaches had to fill in holes on a course Zavesky described as thicker and heavier. She said the course felt “a little slower” than last year, but she still was timed in 17 minutes, 58.55 seconds over three miles, 10 seconds quicker than last year. Holt’s time of 17:19.61 was 12 seconds slower than her time in 2009, and she still beat Carroll (17:38.48) by nearly 19 seconds.
In addition to the seniors, the best girls team Pozzi has coached includes two big-time freshmen in Carroll, who Pozzi described as an “age-group ace,” and Katie Mersereau, who finished eighth in 18:31.25. Allison Daly was Granite Bay’s fifth runner in the top 10, clocking 18:45.53 to finish ninth.
“It’s still amazing to do this good and to have us go 1-2-3 so many times,” Holt said.
Among the boys, Woodcreek has battled Rocklin for SFL supremacy for the last five years, Timberwolves coach Terri McKillop said. Rocklin won it last year. Woodcreek returned much of its team this fall.
“We’re very, very excited about the performance of the boys,” McKillop said, noting a key to the team is staying together. “They pack-run well, and they train well together.”
Trent Brendel of Granite Bay won both SFL meets this season, but Biando pushed ahead of him on the back of the course and sprinted up the last hill to the finish in 15:36.61.
“I just held it strong all the way,” Biando said. “I felt like I started to lose him right at the last 200 yards.”
“It was huge to see him step up,” McKillop said.
Juggling the Granite Bay band with cross country, Brendel said he hadn’t raced in three weeks.
“My legs didn’t feel it,” said the mellophone player, whose time of 15:38.71 still beat his previous personal best of 16:13. “I was pushing.”
Woodcreek’s Hunter Tyler complemented Biando by finishing fourth in 15:57.07, and Timberwolves teammates Jon Horvath and Angelo Ciaraglia finished ninth and 10th in 16:12.24 and 16:12.79. Woodcreek’s Sam Devereux was 12th in 16:14.94 and Taylor Guinnip 16th in 16:29.19.
Brendel will have a much more interesting day than most other runners when they compete in the Sac-Joaquin Sub-Section Meet on Saturday, Nov. 6, at Frogtown in Angels Camp. When he’s done running, he’ll march with the Granite Bay band in the Folsom Fall Festival field show competition.

Sierra Foothill League Cross Country Meet
At William Jessup University
Boys
Team results:
1. Woodcreek 36, 2. Rocklin 47, 3. Nevada Union 72, 4. Del Oro 94, 5. Granite Bay 130, 6. Roseville 179.
Top 10 individuals (3 miles): 1. Brandon Biando (W) 15:36.61, 2. Trent Brendel (GB) 15:38.71, 3. Simon Lambert (NU) 15:54.95, 4. Hunter Tyler (W) 15:57.07, 5. Parker Ahlf (Roc) 16:00.18, 6. Michael McHenry (Roc) 16:04.91, 7. Cody Fikes (Roc) 16:07.08, 8. Trevor Stephens (DO) 16:08.77, 9. Jon Horvath (W) 16:12.24, 10. Angelo Ciaraglia (W) 16:12.79.
Girls
Team results:
1. Granite Bay 23, 2. Woodcreek 53, 3. Del Oro 59, 4. Rocklin 117, 5. Nevada Union 121, 6. Roseville incomplete.
Top 10 individuals (3 miles): 1. Brooke Holt (GB) 17:19.61, 2. Clare Carroll (GB) 17:38.48, 3. Christine Zavesky (GB) 17:58.55, 4. Emma Freeman (DO) 17:58.84. 5. Karina Nunes (W) 18:08.63, 6. Caitlin Devitt Payne (DO) 18:11.03, 7. Sami Gomez (W) 18:29.20, 8. Katie Mersereau (GB) 18:31.25, 9. Allison Daly (GB) 18:45.53, 10. Shayna Powless (Ros) 18:47.89.