Cross-country sprints to success at De La Salle Invitational

Junior Michael Vernau sprints into finish first in the varsity race with a time of 15:12 for three miles.
Junior Michael Vernau sprints to the finish to win the men’s varsity race in 15:12. (Photo: W. Moffatt)

By Meghan Bobrowsky, Editor–

The Davis High cross-country team won four divisions and had the first place runner in five of eight races on Saturday, Sept. 19, at the De La Salle Invitational at Newhall Park in Concord, Calif.

Senior Jasmine Casillas led the women’s JV team to a narrow, nine-point victory over Monte Vista, winning individually in 13:09 for two miles.

Following the first Davis victory, the men’s top seven JV team swooped in and stole the win from Southern California visitor Long Beach Poly by a mere five points. The top five runners from Davis were junior Jackson Laird, senior Josh Gieschen, senior Brendan Deas, junior Fox Conner and junior Nicholas Leacox, who all finished in the top 10.

Freshman Sophia Lodigiani poses with her first place medal after taking the title in the women’s frosh/soph division on Sept. 19.

Gieschen attributed the win to his team’s perseverance.

“I think our team is able to stand up to our competition in any race and succeed,” he said.

Next came the women’s varsity race. Led by senior Fiona O’Keeffe, who broke a 19-year-old course record with a time of 16:41 for three miles, the Blue Devils easily overpowered the competition.

O’Keeffe’s sister Olivia was the fourth runner for DHS and finished 13th overall in 18:27.

“I think we’re really strong this year and could do some neat stuff in terms of end of the season meets,” she said.

Despite a strong effort from the varsity men, Jesuit topped the competition by nearly 70 points, leaving the Devils to take second. Junior Michael Vernau won the race with a time of 15:12 for three miles.

Freshman Sophia Lodigiani won her frosh/soph race, running 12:53 on the two mile course. Helped by a strong effort from sophomore Hana Du (20th in 14:06), the women’s frosh/soph finished fourth.

Although DHS took third in the top seven frosh/soph men’s race, losing to Jesuit and De La Salle, assistant coach Tim Groth was encouraged by what he saw.

“I feel we are getting better every week,” he said.

The unlimited entrants men’s JV race was packed with Blue Devil runners. Seniors Sam Ruhe and Jaleel Dmeiri battled for the individual title, with Ruhe winning in 12:17 to Dmeiri’s 12:21. Junior Kyle Tran took third to help DHS win the race.

The last event of the day was the frosh/soph men’s unlimited race, in which Davis placed second to Jesuit but put four runners in the top 10, with sophomore James Brunette taking second.

Next week, the team will split up: the two varsity squads will head to the Stanford Invitational while the rest of the Blue Devils compete at the Pacific Tiger Invitational in Stockton, Calif.

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