What has literally been a banner year for the Davis High boys and girls cross country teams — both squads won Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championships on Nov. 16 — continues Saturday with the CIF State Championships at Woodward Park in Clovis.
At last year’s event, the Blue Devil girls were paced by then freshman Fiona O’Keeffe as they posted their best state-meet finish ever (fifth), while the DHS boys took 15th in California. This season, a pair of deep and talented squads are looking to do even better.
For the girls, O’Keeffe has had the opposite of a sophomore slump, winning her second straight individual section title in record-setting fashion (17:20 at Willow Hill). O’Keeffe has set several team and SJS marks this season, including at the Clovis Invitational last month.
At that race, which is held on the same Woodward Park Course as Saturday’s state meet, the Devil girls were second in the championship division, which featured 24 of the top schools in the state.
That day, Davis coach Bill Gregg told The Enterprise that “this was another important step toward the team’s end-of-season goals of capturing a Sac-Joaquin Section title and a top-three finish at the state championship.”
The locals accomplished the first goal in an epic head-to-head matchup against St. Francis two weeks ago. Contributions from freshman Sofia Castiglioni (third place in 18:18), Giulia McIsaac (seventh in 19:12), Maggie McManis (10th in 19:25), senior Sophie Meads and Jeanne-Marie McPherson were key for the Blue Devils that day, and will be necessary for the locals to achieve their next goal of a top-three state meet finish.
For the DHS boys, a second consecutive SJS title was earned on Nov. 16 when all seven of their runners finished in the top 17.
The Devil crew saw Brian Song (third place in 16:09) and senior Jasper Laca (fourth in 16:18) among the leaders, with Ben Roberts (10th), Gavin Monges (13th), Charlie Harris (14th), Nick Borowsky (15th) and Blake Croft (17th) close behind.
While Gregg has stressed running as a pack as being a key to success for both Davis squads, there’s something extra that makes the local boys so happy running together:
“We spend so much time together running during the season and I can truly say these are my brothers,” Laca told The Enterprise after the section championship. “It’s just impossible to put into words how great it feels to win and to do it with this group of guys.”
Both Blue Devil teams hope to have that feeling again on Saturday.
The DHS girls will run in the D-I race at 8:30 a.m., while the boys D-I race starts at 9:40 a.m.