What coach Bill Gregg called a successful “building season” for the Davis High School girls cross country team culminated last weekend with the program’s first appearance at the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Ore.
Led by sophomore Fiona O’Keeffe, who placed fourth among individual runners in the 5-kilometer race, Davis High finished 12th out of 22 seven-person clubs as an at-large entry in the invitational meet held at the Portland Meadows race track.
“Fiona really put it out there – a fourth-place finish was remarkable,” Gregg said. “And as a team to get 12th and be six points out of eighth, that was really a great effort by the girls, and it was great to see we could get in the mix with the best teams in the country.”
O’Keeffe, who won the Division I individual title at the CIF state meet on Nov. 30, ran the Nike meet in 17 minutes, 31.1 seconds, covering a multiple-loop course that included obstacles such as undulations and hay bales for hurdling.
Freshman Sofia Castiglioni was Davis’ second-fastest finisher in 18:19, followed by junior Giulia McIsaac (19:05), senior Sophie Meads (19:24), junior Maggie McManis (20:03), junior Jeanne-Marie McPherson (20:42) and senior Pooja Tripathi (20:45).
After Davis won the Sac-Joaquin Section title and finished second at the state meet, Gregg said qualifying for the Nike invitational has broadened the Blue Devils’ expectations for future seasons.
“We’ve got a lot of the girls coming back, and we had great JV and frosh-soph teams,” he said. “And I think we can look at this experience, and instead of it being a distant dream, it’s now a realistic and achievable goal.”