From AUBURN JOURNAL SPORTS.
On Saturday, in all likelihood, The Hillmen will qualify both the varsity boys and girls squads to the California Interscholastic Federation State Championships.
To move on, the Hillmen need only finish top-three in Division III for both boys and girls races at the Sac-Joaquin Section Championships at Willow Hill in Folsom.
Itâs a feat they already achieved last week. Placer was third in both varsity races at the SJS Sub-Section Championships in Frogtown, easily out-pointing the fourth-place squads in the division.
With the field of teams whittled down to 10 per division this week and Placerâs real competition limited to Rio Americano and Vista del Lago, The Hillmen are confident a dual trek to the state championships in Fresno is in the cards.
âWith a nice gap between us and (the fourth-place teams), we can really focus on Vista and Rio and not worry about someone behind us,â Placer coach Randall Fee said. âWe are going in there pretty healthy and thatâs all you can ask for as a coach.â
Despite competing without their best runner at sub-sections, the Hillmen boys scored 89 points in D3, just behind Rio Americano (49) and Vista del Lago (73).
Sophomore Connor Ryan, the top underclassman, ended fifth in the three-mile race while Jesus Reyes (eighth), Jesus Carrasco (23rd), Wesley Moore (26th) and Riley Black (27th) scored solid marks.
The Placer varsity girls took third with 97 points, while Rio Americano (89) and Vista del Lago (55) finished top two in the division.
Marin Chamberlin finished 10th in the race while Elana Muzzy (18th), Skyler Bray (21st), Lisa Vaughan (24th) and Delaney Garcia (25th) finished strong.
Placer frosh-soph and JV teams also ensured section trips with top-five finishes in each race.
âTo have them all qualify is quite a reflection on how strong Placer cross country is,â Fee said. âI was really pleased.â
If Placer sends both varsity teams to state, it will be the second time in three years the team has done that. The Hillmen won a girls state title in 2004, but are only an outside shot at state hardware (top three) this season.
âItâs a very tough division and Southern California is loaded with powerhouse teams, so we are going into state with realistic expectations,â Fee said. âOur first goal was to bring home the PVL banner.â
âAnd now we really want the blue section banner,â Fee said. âThe state meet is the cherry on top.â
The D3 varsity girls race is at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, while boys begin at 1:45 p.m.
Lindsey Hyatt-Barr, a member of both the Placer High School Athletic Hall of Fame and Sac-Joaquin Section Hall of Fame, will be a special motivational speaker for Placer cross country today at 3:15 p.m.
Placer was led by PVL MVP Marin Chamberlin who finished 9th with a 3 mile time of 20:12, Elana Muzzy was 16th with a 20:52 followed by Skyler Bray at 21st with a time of 21:05. Lisa Vaughan was 24th with a 21:17 followed by Delaney Garcia at(26th) 21:20 and Kesley Griffin (60) 23:54