The Napa High varsity and junior varsity boys and both Vintage girls teams took first place in an evenly contested Big Game cross country season opener at Kennedy Park on Wednesday.
It was the first cross country competition in 15 months for the runners, some of whom also got to run in a couple of track and field meets last spring that were still 11 months ago.
“We were understandably anxious hosting Big Meet after such a long layoff and on a brand new course,” Napa High head coach Derek Moore said. “But overall, we are very pleased with the way it turned out. The official results showed we split with Vintage. But if ever there was a competition where everyone deserved a participation trophy this was it.”
Per safety protocols, Moore said, athletes completed a virtual health screen upon arrival using their smartphones. They were required to wear masks at all times except while racing. Junior varsity runners finished their races and left prior to varsity arriving, and spectators were not allowed.
The 3.04-mile course started and finished at the boat launch. It encompassed the River Trail north to almost the Imola Bridge, and south near the skatepark and BMX track. The temperature was on the warm side and runners faced a pretty stiff headwind the first half of the race.
“It was a great start to the season,” Vintage head coach Shari Costanzo said. “Kennedy is a flat course so, for athletes, it was a perfect day to run fast. They were just thrilled to be out there, so they were still smiling even when the race started to hurt.”
Napa High’s varsity boys won 22-35, as all five of their scoring runners finished in the top eight in the Vine Valley Athletic League dual meet.
David Acuna (17.38.8) was first for the Grizzlies, Logan Walsh (18.36.1) second, Uli Cruz (19.11.3) fourth, Finn McGrath (20.06.2) seventh, Andre Fanin (20.07.1) eighth, Sam Williamson (20.34.0) 10th, and Martin Salinas (20.42.5) 11th.
“David Acuna didn’t show any rust after months without competition,” Moore said. “Logan Walsh had probably the best overall race of his high school career. And had he not aggravated a calf injury during the race, Uli Cruz might have finished higher than fourth.”
For the Vintage varsity boys, it was Collin Durfee (18.49.1) in third, Nicholas Malito (19.57.9) fifth, Kevin Voldovinos (20.01.1) sixth, Aidan Rutherford (20.13.8) ninth, and Nick Dominici (20.57.3) 12th.
“Yesterday was the first varsity run for all of those boys,” Costanzo said. “It was Kevin’s first 5K race, so it was a personal record for him. Collin ran JV last season and used his ‘pandemic time’ to make himself stronger as a runner and worked hard all summer, fall and winter to become one of the strongest runners on the team. Nicholas has used his preseason training to strengthen himself as a runner and to run with some of the new members of the team during our practice 5Ks. Nick Dominici has stepped up as one of the leaders on the team organizing team runs.”
Vintage won the varsity girls race 17-40, with all five scorers placing in the top seven.
Grabbing the top four places for the Crushers were Mary Deeik (18.40.2), Tamara Hernandez (18.47.6), Josephine Borsetto (19.09.4) and Maggie Chapin (20.29.3), with Yadira Garcia (22.27.7) grabbing seventh and Natasha Beitz (23.00.2) ninth.
Freshman Sonya Mitchell (21.52.9) led Napa with a fifth-place time, while Kim Moreno (22.01.7) was sixth, and Annie Scudero (22.39.0) eighth. Annie Sanchez (23.17.2), Alondra Palafox (23.50.9), Alica Caldera (28.14.6) and Grace Sedgley (28.14.6) rounded out the finishers.
“Sonya Mitchell showed by finishing first for our varsity squad and fifth overall why she has a bright future on our team,” said Moore. “Senior Kim Moreno was right there with her. Annie Scudero also put in one of her best race performances.”
The Napa JV boys won 19-40 as all five scores were in the top six. Jayden Quintana (20.43.2) was the winner, and Hudson Truchard (21.13.8), Aiden Smith (21.16.5), Deibert Sebastian (22.08.0) and Willie Wilson (22.12.4) finished third through sixth. Nigel Clay (22.16.7) was seventh and Antonio Fredrickson (33.39.0) 12th.
“Our JV boys continue to shine,” Moore said. “Freshman Jayden Quintana smoked the field and we stacked the top seven with the exception of the No. 3 slot.”
For Vintage, Troy McDonald-Doxee (20.49.4) was second, and Nathan Luna (23.09.4), Zachary Murrell (23.14.1), Dylan Ito (24.04.6) and Brady Lowell (28.05.3) placed eighth through 11th.
The Vintage JV girls won 20-35 as Lilla Kasper (25.44.0), Natalie Scott (26.04.4), Tanner Henry (26.43.1) and Susana Nuno (26.43.6) placed 1-2-4-5 and and Milani Harris (28.53.4) was eighth.
Jazmin Damian-Guzman (26.24.0) led Napa with a third-place finish. Kiersten Hansen (27.14.0) was sixth, and Mila Cornell (28.15.8) seventh. Taking the last six places were Eileen Potter (29.04.5), Gigi Oggenfuss (29.06.9), Taylor Webster (30.07.0), Vanessa Garcia (31.47.4), Haven Domecus (34.30.9) and Hanna Denny (35.24.2).
Justin-Siena at American Canyon
The Wolves edged Justin-Siena on a 2.66-mile campus course, 28-29, despite seniors Jacob Guiducci and Vishnu Vijayakumar placing first and second and freshman Charlie Wenzel fifth for the Braves.
“A tremendous start to a long-awaited season, with Justin-Siena athletes placing first in all their races,” Justin-Siena head coach Clare Graham said. “Also a great performance by the American Canyon athletes, whose consistency gave them the edge.”
The Justin-Siena JV boys and girls teams did not have the minimum five runners needed to have a team score. In the JV boys race, freshmen Wyatt Paulson and Georgio Baldini finished first and second, respectively, and sophomore Olivia Janerico placed first for the JV girls, finishing ahead by a large stretch. Senior Genesis Celaya finished sixth and freshman Quinn Edie sprinted down the home stretch to finish ninth.
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