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The boys’ cross country squad from Rincon Valley Christian bettered pre-meet predictions about how they would fare at the CIF State Cross Country Championships in Fresno on Saturday.

Rincon Valley had never had a team qualify for the state meet before this season, and Prep Cal Track had the Eagles as the seventh-best squad in the state in Division 5 prior to racing Saturday.

Yet behind sophomore Brady English’s 17th-place finish, followed by sophomore Simon Peterson in 26th, senior Isaac Methum in 41st, sophomore Dante Benedetti in 69th, senior Zach Passalacqua in 97th, senior Scott Dolan in 170th and junior Gabriel Kim in 210th, the Eagles raced their way to a fourth-place finish at state — the best team result from the Redwood Empire.

Peterson helps Hounds end 11-year title drought

Before Healdsburg senior Gabby Peterson, who will run for Oregon State next fall, crossed the finish line at the CIF State Cross Country Championships with the most dominant win of the meet Saturday, the only Hound to win a state cross country championship was the great Sarah Sumpter.

Sumpter won it all in Division 4 for Healdsburg in 2007. Sumpter, who went on to run for UC Davis and became a Big West Conference All-Academic athlete, Big West Track Athlete of the Year and UC Davis’ Female Athlete of the Year, died in 2015 of cancer. She was 25.

Preview of NBL hoops powers in Peterich Classic

The Montgomery Russ Peterich Viking Tip Off Classic gets under way Thursday with Cardinal Newman joining host Montgomery in what could be a preview of the perennial powers in North Bay League boys basketball.

Competition begins at 4 p.m. Thursday with Pleasant Grove playing Monte Vista, followed by a 5:30 p.m. matchup between Tamalpais and Campolindo. Galena High plays Montgomery at 7 p.m., and in the final game of the opening night, North High plays Cardinal Newman at 8:30 p.m.

Play continues through Saturday, culminating in the consolation game at 1:30 p.m. and the championship game at 4:30 p.m. All games are at Montgomery High.

Sharp-shooting Chavez pacing 5-1 Bear Cubs

The Santa Rosa Junior College men’s basketball team is taking a four-game win streak into its contest on the road Thursday against Los Medanos College in Pittsburg.

The Bear Cubs have not faced the Mustangs since Dec. 17, 2015, when Santa Rosa won 75-64. The Bear Cubs are again paced in scoring this season by Skylar Chavez.

Chavez, a sophomore who prepped at Drake High School in San Anselmo, is hitting 49 percent of his shots from the floor, averaging nearly 26 points per game. From behind the arc, Chavez is hitting almost 38 percent of his threes.

The Bear Cubs open conference play at home against San Joaquin Delta on Dec. 21 at 5:30 p.m.

Brookshire leads Eagles to state title game

Jordan Brookshire, a Cardinal Newman grad who started his college football career at Santa Rosa Junior College, led the Laney College Eagles past the Rams of Fresno City College 24-7 Saturday in the Northern California Football Conference Finals.

Brookshire went 13 of 21 for 127 yards and carried the ball 11 times for 46 yards and a touchdown. The win puts Laney College in the California Community College Athletic Association State Championship game against Ventura College on Dec. 8 at Hughes Stadium at Sacramento City College.

Titans’ defense stingy in their title season

When the Technology High girls soccer team played for its first-ever North Coast Section title Saturday, the Titans beat St. Bernard’s 1-0 in the Division 3 championship game.

A shutout. Another one. In their 21 games this season, the team allowed just six goals and only once — in a 2-2 tie with Middletown on Sept. 24 — did they allow more than one in a single game.

In a schedule that did include a number of forfeits, Tech registered 12 shutouts for a measly .28 goals-against average, compared with scoring nearly 3.5 goals on offense.

You can reach staff columnist Kerry Benefield at 707-526-8671 or kerry.benefield@pressdemocrat.com, on Twitter @benefield and on Instagram at kerry.benefield. Podcasting on iTunes and SoundCloud “Overtime with Kerry Benefield.”

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