Ceres High’s varsity girls cross country program met head coach Katie Thiele’s expectations this past week at the Western Athletic Conference Championships.
The Bulldogs posted a team score of 46 on their way to a runner-up finish at O’Neill Forebay on Oct. 30.
Ceres High also placed second at the WAC’s first three cluster meets.
“I’m super proud of them,” Thiele said. “We had a really good performance. We held our second spot. That was the goal all season long.”
Senior Jackie Rodriguez and sophomore Karina Baez brought home individual medals from the WAC finals.
Rodriguez took fifth with a time of 21 minutes, 32 seconds on the 3-mile course.
“She’s a completely different runner from when I met her freshman year,” Thiele said. “She gave up soccer to fully commit to cross country. She became really competitive. I’m excited for her to get that medal because she’s a senior. I know that was a goal of hers.”
Baez medaled at the league championships for the second year in a row.
She was sixth in 21:36.
“Karina works very hard but has a lot of talent,” Thiele said. “She’s competitive, too.”
Esmeralda Garcia (22:09), Diana Del Real Serrano (22:52) and Stephanie Hernandez (24:03) rounded out Ceres High’s team scoring by placing ninth, 10th and 17th, respectively.
Hernandez, a newcomer to varsity, was the Bulldogs’ fifth-best runner.
Wendi Lizola (24:13), Elizabeth Mercado (25:03), Jasmin Zamora (28:09), Mitzy Collantes (28:27), Monika Lepe Perez (29:57), Karen Vang (30:10), Jaqui Estrada (35:33) and Janeth Ramirez (35:38) finished 18th, 25th, 45th, 47th, 54th, 55th, 58th and 59th.
Ceres High finished ahead of Mountain House (100 points), Johansen (111), Pacheco (120) and Grace Davis (134) in the team standings.
Los Banos (24) won the league championship. The Tigers were undefeated versus league competition.
“We’re pretty young,” Thiele said. “I’m hoping next year we can come close to first place and challenge Los Banos. They’re fast.”