Varsity women, Vernau win big at De La Salle Nike Invitational

Abbey Fisk and Olivia O’Keeffe pace together in the three mile varsity race at Newhall Park on Sept. 17. The Blue Devils took 14th and eighth places, respectively (Courtesy: C. Goodenough).

By Willa Moffatt, Editor-in-Chief–

Saturday, Sept. 17, saw the Davis High cross-country team running split squad. While the majority of the team competed at the Josh Ruff Memorial Trojan Invitational at Folsom High School, the women’s varsity and senior Michael Vernau traveled to Concord for the De La Salle Invitational.

Senior Sofia Castiglioni explained the choice behind the separate meets: “We asked our coach if we could compete at De La Salle because we liked the course and because we thought there would be more competition[…] after researching which teams were going to Josh Ruff and De La Salle, Coach Bill [agreed].”

The women’s team–consisting of seniors Castiglioni and Abbey Fisk, juniors Olivia O’Keeffe and Sage Taylor, and sophomores Sophie Lodigiani, Annie Mitchell and Ruthie Mitchell–took first place overall with 58 points, leading second place St. Francis by a whopping 61 point margin.

While head coach Bill Gregg went to Folsom, assistant coach and former DHS runner Christine Bowlus accompanied the smaller squad to Newhall Park.

Sofia Castiglioni races to a third place finish and is the first Blue Devil across the finish line (Courtesy: C. Goodenough).

“The girls team did some awesome pack running and really showed the depth of their team,” she said.

Though Vernau just missed the course record of 14:59 with his time of 15:00.07, he was satisfied with the day.

“I felt comfortable and smooth so I’m happy with it and hopefully it’s a signal of good things to come,” Vernau said.

The senior took first individually with a 20 second lead over second place finisher Meika Beaudoin-Rouss from Bellarmine Prep.

Bowlus commended Vernau for his efforts. “Michael went for the course record, it’s not easy to run from the front by yourself and keep the pace honest and he did a great job.”

The Blue Devil women went into the race with the goal of winning, according to Lodigiani. With that accomplished, they can now turn toward upcoming competitions, particularly the Stanford invitational in two weeks, where Davis will meet with Southern California rival Great Oak for the first time this season.

Castiglioni, the first Davis runner to cross the line in third with 17:54.2, congratulated Lodigiani for an outstanding performance.

“Sophie ran really well; she stayed with [Fisk] and [O’Keeffe] for most of the race until [O’Keeffe] broke off from the pack to kick it in a little faster,” Castiglioni said.

The next meet for all Davis High runners will be the first Delta League competition on Wednesday morning at Granite Regional Park in Sacramento on Sept. 28.

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