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Young Viking leads way at state cross country finals

Oakmont's Garcia among three local girls in top 21 D-II runners
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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The fabulous freshman campaign of Oakmont High School's Karlie Garcia reached its peak Saturday at Woodward Park in Fresno.

The young Viking raced to a fourth-place finish at the state cross country meet. Garcia, the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II girls champion, ran the 5-kilometer course in 17:52 and finished 23 seconds behind the champion. Her team finished 18th as a group.

“The race was fast and Karlie Garcia from Oakmont ran a great race,” said Granite Bay coach Angela Pozzi. “She has been putting the pressure on all season and it come thru for her at the state meet. I am excited for her and Oakmont for making it to state. It is always great to see our league teams and section teams do well at the state meet.”

“Fourth place is the best placing at the state finals of any Oakmont athlete ever,” said Oakmont coach Ryan Nugent. “Previously, Stacey Haack finished in 14th place in 2005. Karlie proved on Saturday what I knew all along, that she is the best freshman in the state of California.”

The next best freshman time, in a different race, was 24 seconds slower than Garcia’s time, which was the 12th best girls’ time of the day overall.

Other Oakmont runners, Kristine Lozoya (82nd) and Nyralee Chhottu (85th) also ran well in Fresno.

Woodcreek was the No. 9 finisher in the team competition, led by senior Courtney Crosta, who was 19th in the individual run. Crosta finished two seconds ahead of Granite Bay junior Brooke Holt, who crossed 21st.

“It wasn't the outcome we had wished for,” Pozzi said. “We were expecting a little higher placement, but on any given day 5k is just a hard race physically and mentally. Given the length of the season and the number of races it takes it toll.”

Crosta was supported by sophomore Sami Gomez, who finished 63rd, and also from sophomore Ciara Donnelly (71st) and junior Stephanie Romo (78th).

“We were hoping for a top 10 finish so ninth was nice and a good day even with sickness and injuries,” said Woodcreek coach Terri McKillop. “I think if we all had been healthy we could have pulled off fifth place, but I was extremely pleased with the overall team effort. Courtney's 19th-place finish was awesome and Stephanie Romo hung in and ran well despite a nagging injury that should have sidelined her for the race.”

Rocklin's boys team finished 16th, led by Steven White's 47th-place result, while Woodcreek's Tyler Raposa was five spots ahead of White in 42nd position.

White was joined by a pair of teammates in the top 100 D-II boys finishers as Colin Bruice was 89th and Cody Fikes finished 99th.

“This sport is the best, these young people teams and individuals coming together and seeing what they can accomplish,” Pozzi said. “Most of them accomplish physical goals taking their bodies places like Olympians, from the No. 1 team member down to the number seventh runner.”

FYI:

Top local finishers at the state cross country finals:

Girls

Karlie Garcia, freshman, Oakmont (fourth, 17:52)

Courtney Crosta, senior, Woodcreek (19th, 18:23)

Brooke Holt, junior, Granite Bay (21st, 18:25)

Boys

Tyler Raposa, senior, Woodcreek (42nd)

Steven White, senior, Rocklin (47th)