Ceres High School's youth-laden varsity girls cross country program just missed securing a trip to the Sac-Joaquin Section Championships.
The Bulldogs posted a team score of 338 on their way to an 11th-place finish at the Sub-Section Meet on Nov. 7 at Frogtown in Angel Camps.
The top 10 teams advanced.
"It was a great team effort," said Kate Timmermans, first-year head coach of Ceres High. "We just fell short. Most of the girls will be returning next year. We'll definitely have higher goals."
The Bulldogs could have used Karina Torrez's help last week. Torrez was unable to compete due to another commitment.
"One of our top runners had SATs the same day so that hurt us," Timmermans said. "She let me know in advance. We probably would have made it to sections if she ran."
Ceres High's Peyton Jones finished in a team-best 67th place with a time of 23 minutes, 54 seconds on the 3-mile course.
Bulldog teammates Jennifer Cisneros (24:01), Maria Diaz (24:48), Cristina Arreola (25:02) and Josephina Trevino (25:10) placed 72nd, 82nd, 86th and 87th, respectively.
"We barely missed out on sections," Timmermans said. "Hopefully, it fuels us for next year."
Three of Ceres High's top finishers were underclassmen, including Jones (Fr.), Diaz (So.) and Trevino (Fr.)
"They worked hard," Timmermans said. "I'm very impressed with how Peyton did. She was timid at the beginning of the season. Everything really clicked for her towards the end of the year. She got out of her comfort zone and pushed herself to the limit."
Central Valley High School's varsity girls team totaled 452 points en route to a 16th-place showing.
The Hawks' top finishers were Vanessa Mondragon (89th, 25:18), Jocelyn Barrera (105th, 26:26), Rocio Villasenor (127th, 30:38), Natalia Guzman (128th, 30:39) and Angelica Macias (136th, 33:11).
Ceres High's and Central Valley's boys took 17th (480) and 22nd (631), respectively, at the sub-section meet.
Christian Linarez (77th place, 19:00) led the Bulldogs.
Ceres High teammates Joshua Madariaga (102nd, 19:43), Roman Acosta (111th, 20:05), Aaron Alarcon (131st, 20:53) and Adalberto Rodriguez (133rd, 20:56) participated as well.
"I'm pretty happy with how the boys did," Timmermans said. "It's probably the most challenging course we've ran this year. We practiced on hills to get ready for it."
Octavio Hernandez (130th, 20:51) paced the Hawks, followed by Oscar Trigueros (171st, 24:05), Jairo Martinez (173rd, 24:15), Jesus Fernandez (145th, 21:39) and Daniel Garrido (149th, 21:45).
"I really enjoyed coaching," said Timmermans, who plans to return next season. "The kids wanted to do well. They developed a passion for running."