Golden Eagles are ready to run

Del Oro’s cross-country girls team hopes to defend its Sac-Joaquin Section championship for a fourth straight season.
By: Joshua Ansley Journal Sports Writer
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It is not generally thought of as a team sport. When we think of cross-country we tend to think more of running down dusty trails, one for all and all for one. While that philosophy may lead to a few fast times, it will not crown a champion. The defending girls Sac-Joaquin section champions attribute their success to unity and hard work. The six girls from Del Oro High run and speak almost in unison, and they have a positive attitude about winning sections for the fourth time in a row. “We’re hoping we can,” Alexa Lua said. Lua, referred to as “Big Daddy” by her teammates, is the lone junior on the team that helped capture the championship last year. Lua and the other six seniors have all been a part of the Del Oro cross-country team since their freshman year. With the exception of senior Megan Atkins, five of the girls also run the long distance events for track and field in the spring. All six said they plan on running at the collegiate level in the future. It is that kind of dedication and passion for running that has brought success to the team. “It comes down to hard work, running a lot, and staying focused,” senior Desiree Bacchi said. Cross-country requires such hard work because it is impossible to win on talent alone such as it might for skill sports. A person either runs or they don’t. “You can’t do it unless you do it,” coach Kevin Ostenberg said. “You can’t just show up. But they have a good work ethic, and we have a big group, which leads to success.” In light of what the girls have achieved over the past three years, Ostenberg added that teams are aiming for them. “Other teams know what they need to beat,” he said. “They (the girls) have pretty large targets on their back. But I think we’re going to run well. If we’re going to be beat, we’re going to be beat by a good team.” According to the girls, two of the teams that challenge Del Oro the most are Woodcreek and Granite Bay, which are also expected to be great this year. Those teams don’t bother the girls too much, however, as the girls’ positive attitudes seem to play as large of a part in their success as their incredibly fast times. There is little hesitation when it comes to the outlook for this season. “We’re going to do awesome,” senior Jessie Rozario said. While the girls are a huge support to one another on and off the trail, it’s their family’s support, and cheering, that really helps to keep them going. “Our moms are all really loud together,” senior Caitlin Devitt-Payne said. Senior Emma Freeman, who has the fastest three-mile time out of all the girls at 18:40, said that her favorite part about cross-country is not just about her individual running. “It’s the people,” Freeman said.