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'Jackets runs second to U-Prep
On their home course, the Williams High cross country team took second place behind Division V powerhouse University Prep in the varsity boys and girls races on Oct. 17.
Freshman Yecenia Landa was the Yellowjackets' top finisher, coming in 10th with a time of 16-minutes, 25 seconds in the 2-mile girls race, which looped around the athletic fields on campus.
Williams coach Tony Hermann spotted Landa during one of his physical education classes in junior high and convinced her to join the cross country team when she became a freshman.
"I've got a lot of young kids and they're learning the sport, they're still learning that they can't go out as hard and learning what their pace is," Hermann said.
Landa led Rylee Coder (12th, 16:46), Luz Rios (14th, 18:15), Emma Schaefer (15th, 18:58) and Ingrid Rodriguez (16th, 19:00) for a team score of 62.
"I've got a varsity girls team this year that I haven't had in the past," Hermann said.
Defending Division V champion U-Prep won the varsity girls race with a team score of 20 as Helen Mino Faukner led a pack of Panther runners spanning from second to ninth place. Redding Christian's Belle Moran won the race with a time of 12:40.
Moran and Faukner finished second and 11th, respectively, at the Northern Section championships last season.
In the varsity boys race, Jesus Hernandez led the Yellowjackets boys team to a second-place finish with a team score of 68, beating Hamilton (75) and losing to U-Prep (19).
Hernandez covered the 2-mile course in 12:43, just ahead of teammate Juan Aceves, who crossed the line in 12th with a time of 13:02. Ramiro Navarro (16th, 13:26), Cuitlahuac Cruz (17th, 13:27) and Anthony Rodriguez (18th, 13:30) rounded out the scoring for Williams.
U-Prep's Matt Hatter won the race by four seconds over Redding Christian's Joey Belknap with a fast time of 11:27.
Williams has 34 runners on the team this year and is one of the largest in the section every year, Hermann said.
"I try to encourage participation whether they're a great runner or they want to come out and compete and practice," he said.
The Yellowjackets have had a cross country team for nearly a decade and though it started off small with just six member, the team has been as large as 40 runners.
Because Williams' home course is mostly contained to the school grounds, it is only two miles, which is much shorter than the normal 3-mile varsity course.
"I want to keep them off the streets. I have a run that's a 5k, 3.1 miles, but I've got to make sure there is safety first," Hermann said.
The short course creates a unique event where runners have to adjust their race pace to account for the lack of a third mile.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at email@example.com