This pair, from Visalia and Clovis, has closed a cycle of excellence in Central Section girls cross country.
Gabby Satterlee and Lauren Moffett.
One is headed to Waco, Texas, to run for Baylor; the other to Nashville, Tenn., to run for Vanderbilt.
Both were multiple section champions for title-winning teams and, this season, were bronze medalists in different divisions of the CIF State Championships at Woodward Park – one of the premier prep distance showcases in the land.
This is why Central Valley Christian’s Satterlee and Clovis North’s Moffett share The Fresno Bee’s Runner of the Year honors.
How to split them?
Satterlee went 3-for-3 in both individual and team section titles
▪ Satterlee: In addition to going 3 for 3 in section golds as an individual and for her team in her prep career (the first in Division V, the past two in D-IV), she placed second to eventual state D-I titlist and All-American Destiny Collins of Great Oak-Temecula while beating a who’s who of accomplished state runners in October’s Clovis Invitational Championship Division that also included Moffett and Clovis’ Mikayla Sodersten at Woodward. Satterlee would finish 3-0 head-to-head against Moffett, counting also the season-opening DeWitt Invitational in Madera and season-ending Foot Locker West Regional in Walnut.
▪ Moffett: The 2014 Fresno Bee Runner of the Year, pointing all along to the postseason, blistered a 17-minute, 23.3-second performance on Woodward’s 3.1-mile course in the state D-I final to not only post the section’s overall best time of the season by 21 seconds over Satterlee, but also to become the section’s third-fastest female all-time behind Buchanan’s Hagen Reedy (16:59 in 2012) and Mission Prep-San Luis Obispo’s Jordan Hasay (17:05, 2005).
17:23.3 Moffett’s state finals time at Woodward Park’s 3.1-mile course, making her the third-fastest female in the history of Central Section cross country
And now we watch, wait and wonder: Has girls distance running in the section become so good that another cycle of major college talent will follow?
The most recent development of runners has sent Buchanan’s Hagen Reedy to Colorado in 2012 and Clovis North’s Leigh Moffett to Dartmouth in ’13, and will see sister Lauren head to Vandy of the Southeastern Conference, Satterlee to Baylor of the Big 12 and Sodersten to Oregon State of the Picific-12 Conference.
“It’s the hard-working nature of us in the Valley,” Satterlee says. “Buchanan, Clovis, Clovis North and all the big Clovis schools are known for great coaches and programs. Then throw in CVC, which you don’t hear about as much, it’s a really competitive area. It will be neat to come back and see who the next great runners are.”
Well on their way are Buchanan’s Meagen Lowe, The Bee’s Rookie of the Year, and McFarland’s Devianna Salcedo – among the section’s top five runners this season as freshmen.
Lauren Moffett points to Reedy’s influence on the most recent distinguished cycle.
“Hagen set the bar high and things have stepped up since,” Moffett says of the section record-holder with a time of 16:59 on the state’s official venue at Woodward. “Just look at the number of people under certain times now. It’s different; there’s a lot more depth.”
Satterlee’s faith and fire – CVC coach Scott Kostelyk has been awed by Satterlee’s balance of religion and athletic determination: “She’s a wonderful Christian young lady. But at the same time, she’s so fiercely competitive.”
This surfaced particularly at the Clovis Invitational in October.
It’s there, in one of the nation’s largest meets, that offers a sweepstakes Championship Division and then four additional enrollment-based divisions.
By enrollment (CVC has 260 students), Satterlee belonged in D-IV, but Kostelyk wanted her to dive into the deep end of the pool: “We try to focus on our team, but this was Gabby’s one shot to run with the best.”
Collins, last June’s state 3,200-meter champion, won the race at 17:36.7. Satterlee ran with her for most of the race before placing second at 17:48.8.
Satterlee’s personal best was a 17:44.0 for third place in the state’s D-IV. A week later, she finished 11th in the Foot Locker West Regional at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut.
In track and field, she’s CVC’s record-holder in the 200, 400, 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters, and, this spring, would like to add the 100 for a clean sweep.
Possessing a range unlike few in section history, she’s sixth and seventh all-time in the section in the 1,600 (4:52.27), her favorite distance, and 800 (2:10.24), according to section historian Ron Blackwood.
She cites this year’s state individual finish and last year’s state team title in D-IV as the highlights of her cross country career.
“To run side by side as a team was remarkable, so memorable I’ll never forget,” she says. “And to have such great success individually, without injury or setback, has been such a blessing.”
The joy of beating the Bears – Buchanan’s girls had won 14 consecutive section D-I titles in cross country before Clovis North won the past two behind Moffett’s gold medals.
And that’s what she’ll be singing about in Nashville: “I said last year: Winning as a team was the happiest day of my of life, and that was the same thing this year. The races are a blur, but the moments I remember most are finishing and looking back for teammates. It can be confusing, but it’s also the most memorable.”
A repeat Bee Runner of the Year after her sister earned the honor in 2013, Moffett won the section D-I title by 25 seconds at 17:55 before going 17:23.3 while placing third behind Collins (17:09.4) and Monte Vista-Danville’s Brooke Starn (17:22.6) at state.
Now to track and field a year after sweeping the 1,600 and 3,200 in the section and placing eighth in the state in the 1,600. She ranks fourth and eighth in the 1,600 (4:50.25) and 3,200 (10:37.01) in section history.
“What Lauren learned in the course of four years was consistency,” Broncos coach Jason Lienau says. “Every season she had an upward trajectory from beginning to end. She knew what was the most important part of the year, and she constantly looked to that. The last couple years she did a particularly amazing job keeping focus and gaining confidence.”
Girls Cross Country All-Stars: Rookie of the Year Meagen Lowe
- School: Buchanan
- She’s qualified because: She established herself as one of the top freshmen in the state by placing second to Clovis North’s Lauren Moffett in the Tri-River Athletic Conference (18:24.3) and Central Section Division I (18:20) finals and finishing 26th in the CIF State Championships – all at Woodward Park’s 3.1-mile course. As Buchanan’s top runner, she led the Bears to fourth place at state.
- He said it: “We had a pretty good idea what we were getting with her because she ran pretty tough at (Buchanan feeder Alta Sierra Intermediate). But any time you go into high school, it’s an adjustment, going from 3k to 5k and the length of the season. But she handled everything extremely well. She puts in a lot of her own time beyond the normal practice time.” – Buchanan coach Brian Weaver.
Girls Cross Country All-Stars: Co-Coaches of the Year Jason Lienau and Scott Kostelyk
- School: Clovis North
- He’s qualified because: He did for the second straight year what nobody had done in the previous 14 – beat Buchanan for the Central Section Division I championship at Woodward Park. The Broncos did so but by four points, placing their top five runners among the first 11, and that was without junior Lauren Lienau, the coach’s daughter, who had finished third and fifth as a sophomore and freshman before taking the cross country season off.
- Bouncing back from the TRAC: Clovis North, after losing by 15 points to Buchanan in the Tri-River Athletic Conference Championship only a week earlier, found its stride on the 3.1-mile course in the section finals behind senior Lauren Moffett (first, 17:55), sophomore Blayney Dolan (third, 18:29), seniors Jena Srikanth (eighth, 18:54) and Camilla Hanson (10th, 19:05), and junior Pari Manoogian (11th, 19:11).
- He said it: “Beating Buchanan is what we hope and definitely shoot for. We kind of keep each other honest and push each other along, and both programs have gotten better because of it. But, looking at the future, we’re going to have to have some kids come out of the woodwork because Buchanan has the upper hand. On paper, we’ll be looking at the heels of Buchanan next year.” – Jason Lienau
- School: Central Valley Christian
- He’s qualified because: The Cavaliers’ 16-year coach has developed a small-schools empire in west Visalia with an enrollment of 260, winning four consecutive Central Section titles, the first two in Division V, the past two in D-IV, while competing mostly against schools three to five times larger in enrollment. A perfect score in a cross country meet is 15 – meaning, that team placed 1-2-3-4-5, for 15 points. Kostelyk’s past four teams, in the section finals while assisted all along with accomplished ultra-marathoner Randy Vander Tuig, have scored 20-15-15-16.
- The other girl: Senior Shani Slabber has proven invaluable to CVC’s rise to power. It was Slabber who largely influenced teammate and three-time section champion Gabby Satterlee to join the cross country team as a sophomore. And it has been Slabber who has placed second in section finals four consecutive years behind teammates Annechiena Knevelbaard (once) and Satterlee (three times).
- He said it: “It’s been so fun, and Shani deserves a lot of the credit. She got Gabby to come out. I’m in it here for the long haul. I want this community and school to be a running school.” – Scott Kostelyk
The Fresno Bee’s Girls Cross Country Sweet 16
- Vanessa Chavira, junior, Clovis
- Angelica Costilla, senior, Madera South
- Blayney Dolan, sophomore, Clovis North
- Jasmine Gonzalez, senior, Madera
- Camilla Hanson, senior, Clovis North
- Clare Hernandez, sophomore, Buchanan
- Pari Manoogian, junior, Clovis North
- Jonnie Montano, senior, Madera South
- Mackenzie Mora, junior, Buchanan
- Kati Nili, sophomore, Buchanan
- Veronica Ortega, sophomore, Madera South
- Shani Slabber, senior, Central Valley Christian
- Mikayla Sodersten, senior, Clovis
- Jena Srikanth, senior, Clovis North
- Skylar Steenburgh, sophomore, Buchanan
- Jenna Wilson, junior, Central Valley Christian