State cross country meet: CVC, Clovis North teams run at elite levels

The Fresno BeeNovember 30, 2013 

Hours before Central Valley Christian's girls volleyball team played under the bright lights of a Southern California Regional volleyball match, a budding team of Cavalier runners first stole some state attention at Woodward Park.

It was there, a little after noon Saturday, that CVC's girls not only placed second in Division V at the CIF State Cross Country Championships, they did so without a senior among five scorers on the 3.1-mile course.

"Our girls really rose to the occasion today," coach Scott Kostelyk said after receiving a fifth from sophomore Gabby Satterlee (18 minutes, 52 seconds), a ninth from sophomore Shani Slabber (19:18), a 29th from junior Annecheine Knevelbaard (19:56) and a 35th and 46th from freshmen twins Jenna (20:13) and Jadyn (20:33) Wilson.

This came a year after CVC didn't even field a complete team in the state meet.

Saturday's feat also was achieved with first-year runners in Satterlee and the Wilsons. Satterlee, Knevelbaard and the Wilsons delivered personal records.

CVC averaged 19:47 a runner for a 1:38.52 total. The Cavs progressively improved after clocking 1:41:35 and 1:39:12 in two previous meets this season at Woodward.

"Then we realized our goal of a podium (top three) finish could be had (in the state finals) if we could just run a little harder," Kostelyk said.

CVC beat state top-ranked Flintridge Prep-La Canada (third, 93 points) and finished behind Branson-Ross (70) of the North Coast Section.

Broncos rising in D-I

Clovis North, with only its fourth senior class, has quickly joined a neighborhood of tradition under Jason Lienau, who has coached the program since its inception six years ago.

The Broncos, after beating the likes of perennial state power Buchanan while sweeping the Tri-River Athletic Conference boys and girls titles two weeks ago, were eighth and fifth with those teams Saturday at the state D-I level.

The highlight came from senior Leigh Moffett, who clocked a personal-best 17:25 for a fifth place finish in the 198-runner girls field.

"From where she has come as a freshman, awesome," Lienau said of the Dartmouth-bound runner, 106th as a freshman (20:10), 35th as a sophomore (19:00) and 12th last year (18:00).

"I'm very happy," said Moffett, who has a 4.1 GPA. "It finally all came together at the state meet."

Psalm Ocampo, a junior, led Clovis North's boys finishing 18th in 15:42.

Bear of a bad break

Buchanan's girls had four runners clock personal records while placing sixth as a team, three points behind Clovis North.

But Hannah Benoit-Bucher, a week after placing second in the section at 18:01 on the same course while leading the Bears to their 14th straight D-I championship, battled through a 102-degree fever while timing 18:57 and finishing 76th.

A healthy Benoit-Bucher likely would have placed in the top 20, potentially vaulting the Bears to second behind nation top-ranked Great Oak-Temecula.

Maddy Nikkel (31st, 18:24), Miranda Kennedy (41st, 18:34), freshman Taylor Gonzales (59th, 18:45) and Josie Frye (61st, 18:46) all set PRs while Justice Hinojosa (43rd, 18:35) scored as well for Buchanan.

The reporter can be reached at aboogaard@fresnobee.com or @beepreps on Twitter.

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