Toad, Ranger runners dominate
at CIF finals
by Ken Reeves
On a perfect fall cross country day on the perfect cross country
course, sometimes the perfect ending can come true. Such was
the day for senior Bessie Hatch of The Thacher School.
Meanwhile, the Rangers spent part of the day looking for the
key to unlock success. Hatch jumped out to an early lead and
never let up. Coming through the first mile in 5:21, her goal
was to take the finish speed out of Treani Swain of Oakwood,
an outstanding 400- and 800-meter runner during the track season.
With Swain still in contention at the two-mile mark, Hatch's
race plan worked to perfection. The final mile was strength vs.
speed, and as is usually the case in a cross country race, strength
won out. Hatch gradually lengthened her lead over the last 1.1
miles of the course and crossed the finish line in 18:58, a full
12 seconds in front of Swain. Thus, with a halo of ivy on her
head, Hatch proudly stepped to the victory stand to receive her
State Championship plaque, becoming the first Thacher Toad to
win an individual state cross country title. She joins Karen
Bockel, Elaine Canchola, Rae Stumbough and Lindsey Owen as Ojai
residents who have won state cross country titles.
For the Rangers crew, the venture for the key had some good points
and some bad points on this cross country day.
The good points included fine end-of-the-year race performances
for the Rangers. Led once again by Allysa Robinson, the Rangers
placed their top four finishers within 20 seconds of each other.
Robinson was able to cross the line at 19:54 in 64th place. Eighteen
seconds later, junior Lindsay Hewett finished just one second
in front of senior Kate Krumpschmidt and two seconds in front
of sophomore Alexa Pulley. Lauren Lansing, a junior was the fifth
runner and final scorer on the team as she finished the race
in 20:48. Freshman Kali Brown, in her first state meet, stopped
the clock at 21:00 while senior Julie Kentosh finished her last
cross country race as a Ranger in 22:06. The Nordhoff crew totaled
343 points to finish 15th.
St. Francis of Sacramento was the champion for Division III with
a total score of 78 points.
While the race was over, the excitement wasn't for the Ranger
group and their coach, Will Bernaldo. Nordhoff's name still has
a magical ring at the Woodward Park site and it appears that
Ranger gear is still a highly coveted trophy. While the girls
were out racing, a number of bags were "borrowed."
The bags included a number of items including Coach Bernaldo's
Thus, until the Automotive Club of Southern California arrived,
the Rangers spent a little more time at the Woodward Park course
than they desired. However, it is the desire for the returners
to spend next year at this course.
While four-year letter winner and three time state participant
Kate Krumpschmidt graduates along with Julie Kentosh, the rest
of the Rangers will have the opportunity to make this trip once
again. With four of the scorers returning and five of the top
seven available to toe the line next fall, the possibility for
a Ranger return to the state meet is highly possible.
This will give the returners much to dream about during the off
And rest assured that they will all remember the story of Bessie
Hatch, a nonqualifier as a junior and the state champion as a
senior. They also might remember the story of the Santa Clara
Saints. Unranked most of the year, the Santa Clara boys had
an excellent finish to the season. They won the Frontier League
title at the league finals, finished second in CIF in Division
V and duplicated that finish at the state meet. The Saints were
but one of many strong Ventura County teams at the state meet.
Oak Park won the girls' and boys' title for Division IV while
Fillmore boys, Thousand Oaks girls and Ventura High girls all
took home the runner-up plaque in their divisions at the state
meet. Individually, Phillip Reid of Rio Mesa joined Hatch as
an individual state champion. Two of the Rangers individual state
champions just finished off their recent collegiate seasons.
Rae Stumbough, the 1999 state champion, ran for USC at the PAC
10 finals at the Rose Bowl while senior Elaine Canchola, the
1995 and 1997 state champion, finished off her NCAA cross country
career at the NCAA championships with Wisconsin.
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
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