Maria Carrillo boys and Santa Rosa girls teams won the first eight-team North Bay League cross-country meet Wednesday at Spring Lake Park, with the girls winner decided by the slimmest of margins.
Carrillo’s boys won handily, topping Santa Rosa by 10 points, 40-50.
But the girls team race couldn’t have been closer, as Santa Rosa defeated Carrillo, 38-39.
Individually, Santa Rosa runners took both first-place spots, with junior Daniel Pride crossing the finish line in 15:29 and senior Delaney White finishing tops among girls at 17:58 in the 2.97-mile course.
Both Pride and White led their races from start to finish — with Pride’s time a personal best.
Though she wasn’t rested, White said she pushed hard from the outset.
“I took it aggressively,” she said. “I felt strong the whole way.”
White was never really challenged for the lead, although Casa Grande’s Adria Barich finished strong and recorded a personal best of 18:44.
“I tried to go out with Delaney,” she said, “but she’s very fast.”
Her time was about 10 seconds better than her personal best, she said.
Pride finished 17 seconds ahead of his nearest competition, Maria Carrillo’s Jordan Scobey at 15:46, followed by Santa Rosa’s Luca Mazzanti at 15:59, the only three to run sub-16 minutes.
Like White, Pride took an early lead and held it the entire race.
“My legs felt good. The hills were kind of hard,” he said. “I run this course a lot. That last hill is really hard.”
Mazzanti said the Panthers came in with high team expectations. Santa Rosa’s third runner, last-minute replacement Sam Joslyn, placed 12th overall at 16:44, while three other Panthers — Jacob Quinn, Toby Alongi and Langston Hay — finished in the top 20.
“That was Sam’s first time running a three-mile race,” said Santa Rosa coach Doug Courtemarche. “Just about all our guys had personal bests. The talent is there, the work is being done. I’m really happy with our team.”
Rounding out the top five boys were Casa Grande’s Matt Salazar (16:06) and Robert Swoboda of Ukiah (16:27).
“He was a big surprise,” Ukiah coach Chad Raugewitz said of Swoboda, a junior who raced at Willits last year. “He has a great work ethic. He is a bonus for our program.”
Another new face among the leaders was Lucas Chung, a Windsor freshman, who placed seventh with a time of 16:36.
On the girls’ side, too, there were a few different names among the leaders.
Third-place finisher, sophomore Kasey Braun of Cardinal Newman (19:04), has only been running for two months. A lacrosse player, she took up cross country to keep in shape for that sport.
Barich, a senior, said she felt comfortable on the Spring Lake course, which runs through the wooded park with hills, flat straightaways and lots of twists and turns.
“I’ve just been really focused on my training and my diet,” she said. “I’ve run this course before and I feel like this year I’ve got it down. I really like the hills, I love the downhill. The straightaways are really tough.”
In team scoring, Carrillo’s boys dominated, with its top five runners finishing among the first 13 spots.
Girls team scoring was closer, as Santa Rosa benefited by White’s win, Aimee Holland’s fifth-place finish (19:15) and Sophia Miller’s seventh (19:22). The Panthers’ Marie Doyle and Kirsten Carter placed 12th and 13th.