Napa High cross country continued to have the only individual varsity boys winner in the short history of the Vine Valley Athletic League Championships, as senior Eric Aguilar won by over 11 seconds at Alston Park on Saturday.
Aguilar led the 42-runner field with a time of 17 minutes, 6.9 seconds on the 3.0-mile course, earning a medal. The only other year the four-year-old VVAL held a championship meet was at Alston Park in 2019, when Napa High’s David Acuna led the varsity boys field as a junior.
Justin-Siena freshman Hailey Schuemann placed second out of 37 runners with a time of 20:59.6 in the varsity girls race, the Braves’ best-ever finish in the meet, and earned a medal.
Vintage senior Drew Holloran placed third in the varsity boys race in 17:22.1, leading the Crushers to a second-place finish that was their best-ever faring in the meet.
American Canyon sophomore Emma Piazza placed 16th in the varsity girls race, eclipsing the 20th-place finish by Daniela Solis in 2019 as the Wolves’ best placing in the meet.
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Sophomore Charles Wenzel placed eighth in 17:36.1 to lead the Justin-Siena varsity boys to their best-ever VVAL finish at fourth.
The Petaluma boys won their first league pennant since 2012 with 31 points, followed by Vintage (55), Napa (60), Justin-Siena (125), Casa Grande (130), American Canyon (134) and Sonoma Valley, which had an incomplete team.
Aidan Smith also made the top 10 for Napa High, placing ninth in 17:40.7. Also running for the Grizzlies were Logan Walsh (15th, 18:08.0), Noah Massey (18th, 18:19.3), Jayden Quintana (20th, 18:42.9), Martin Salinas (19:04.8) and Finn McGrath (19:20.1).
Rounding out the Vintage boys were Liam Alexander (10th, 17:42.4), Collin Durfee (11th, 17:51.4), Aiden Rutherford (16th, 18:11.8), Nicholas Malito (17th, 18:16.9), Nicholas Dominici (18:53.6) and Troy McDonald-Doxsee (20:27.9). Most ran personal records for the course. Holloran earned a medal and Alexander and Durfee went home with ribbons.
The American Canyon boys were led by Emanuel Barajas (22nd, 18:47.9), Yahir Madrigal (23rd, 18:52.2) and Elvin Fuerte (25th, 18:55.2), while Alfons McCoy (19:45.6), Andres Cardenas (20:40.0) and Ethan Luong (21:57.0) rounded out the contingent.
Running with Wenzel for Justin-Siena were Wyatt Paulson (19:26.7), Devon de los Santos (19:27.9), Cameron Wang (19:29.8), Owen Fortner (20:04.9), Jack Duffy (20:07.1) and Jack Carey (20:19.1).
The Casa Grande girls won with a 30-point score behind freshman champion Avery Codington, who could have Schuemann to deal with for three more years.
Petaluma was second (47), followed by Justin-Siena (78), Napa (102), Vintage (111), American Canyon (147) and Sonoma Valley, which had an incomplete team.
The Napa Valley’s next highest girls finisher was Vintage junior Sophia Notaro, with a sixth-place time of 21:21.9. Rounding out the Crushers’ five-runner squad were Quetzaly Hernandez (20th, 24:20.9), Lilla Kasper (24:39.5), Eliza Chapin (25:10.2) and Maddie Chiu (28:09.2). Notaro, Hernandez and Chiu ran course PRs and Notaro earned a ribbon.
Helping Justin-Siena place second were Katherine Heffernan (11th, 22:14.7), 19. Lily Dominguez (24:19.1), Ainsley Adams (24:38.1), Paige Helms (24:45.8), Ella Webb (24:48.7) and Quinn Edie (26:21.2).
Running for Napa High were Sonya Mitchell (14th, 22:34.6), Alondra Palafox (17th, 23:38.9), Jemma Ceja Delgado (18th, 24:06.2), Anna Scudero (24:45.8), Jazmin Damian (25:15.4) and Melina Sanchez-Bernal (26:11.5).
Next for American Canyon was Sadia Diouf (26:04.4), followed by Ellaine Fuerte (26:23.7), Hannah Wildes (28:08.9), Jessica Estrada (30:57.1) and Telorah Kawakami (39:21.6).
The teams will compete in the North Coast Section Championships on Nov. 20.
Branson 32, Calistoga 30
The Bulls (8-0) finished 4-0 in the North Central IV eight-person league, followed by Stuart Hall (4-3, 3-1) and Calistoga (5-2, 2-2). But a week after Branson routed Stuart Hall, 58-36, the visiting Bulls nearly lost to Calistoga on Friday night.
But the Wildcats couldn't quite pull off the upset after outscoring Branson 16-12 in the second quarter and 14-0 in the third to take a 30-18 lead into the fourth quarter.
Calistoga head coach Shane Kohler said the game wasn't quite what he imagined but was "very thrilling to be a part of" as his team scored 30 points with only 148 yards of total offense.
"A few different calls on my end or perhaps a couple bounces of the ball in another direction could have served us better," he said. "Nevertheless, I was super proud and content with the performance of our young men."
Isaac Garcia caught two touchdown passes, one from fellow senior Yuliani Caballero (3 for 4 passing for 17 yards, and 14 carries for 15 yards with one touchdown) and one from junior Christian Ramirez (3 for 4 passing for 50 yards). Garcia had four catches for 49 yards, and senior Marvin Marin added two grabs for 18 yards.
Edgar Caldera, a sophomore who led the Calistoga rushers with 75 yards on 18 carries, recovered a fumble and returned it 60 yards for a touchdown on defense.
Leading the Wildcats with 9 tackles each were senior Juan Vega, junior Alexis Rios and Caldera, while Caballero added 8, and senior Neftali Gutierrez and sophomore Javier Rodriguez with 6 apiece. Emmanuel Chavez added 5 tackles and a sack. Rodriguez and sophomore Jose Vega also had a sack each. Rios and Caldera each snagged an interception.
Five weeks after traveling to Miranda in Humboldt County and routing South Fork, 43-14, the Wildcats will host the Cubs (5-4) in the first round of the North Coast Section 8-Person playoffs at 7 p.m. Friday.
"For our rematch with South Fork, we will come with more of the same look," Kohler said. "I believe we have almost secured our identity on offense and defense, both of which will come with a coverage-pass orientation and a pressure-run orientation."
JV Boys Cross Country
Vintage, Napa, Justin 2-3-4 at VVALs
Petaluma claimed not only the top five spots, posting a perfect team score of 15, but also had 10 of the top 12 in the VVAL Championships on Saturday at Alston Park in Napa.
Two Vintage runners, sixth-placer Valentin Arango (19:51.9) and 11th-placer Zachary Murrell (20:18.5) kept Petaluma from dominating the top dozen in the 51-runner race and finished second with 62 points. Napa was third with 70 and Justin-Siena fourth with 108.
Vintage also saw Brady Lowell finish 23rd (21:17.20). Placing 28th through 31st for the Crushers were Nathan Luna (21:53.3), Max Kaplan (21:54.5), Niko Smith (22:01.4) and Miles Joshua (22:02.0). Rounding out Vintage’s contingent were Jack Heffner (22:21.9), Alec Rutherford (23:22.1), Anthony Gutierrez (26:55.2) and Soren Deyoung (33:12.7).
Napa was led by Isaiah Rojas (13th in 20:20.5), Uriel Ortiz (16th in 20:25.7) and Jean-Luc Pijanowski (17th in 20:38.7). Also competing for the Grizzlies were Theo Maas (21:48.9), Ryan Butler (22:03.9), Thomas Rist (22:05.8), Adrian Navarro (22:53.9), Gonzalo Rodriguez (22:57.0) and Finnegan Shanahan (28:17.3).
Giorgio Baldini paced Justin-Siena with a 14th-place time of 20:23.0. Other Braves competing were Franklin Kelly (22:30.2), Shane Green (23:08.1), Benjamin Del Castillo (23:50.0), Beau Leary (24:03.0) and Chance Kelly (25:29.0).
Running for American Canyon were Jacob Phillips (22:35.0) and Keanu Kawakami (25:35.6).
JV Girls Cross Country
Braves’ Celaya wins VVAL race
Justin-Siena freshman Ayshalyn Celaya won the 15-runner race on Saturday in 25:10.3, beating the runner-up from Petaluma by nearly nine seconds on the 3.0-mile course at Alston Park.
Also running for the Braves were freshman Eponine Celaya (fourth, 25:48.8), Sofia Campos (sixth, 27:03.8) and Joselyne Cervantes (38:13.6).
Vintage’s only runner in the race was Aina Akaboshi (seventh, 27:13.3) and Napa High’s only representative was Mila Cornell (27:41.4).
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