Lady Hillmen are on a mission to beat Bear River
Ruth Braica made it real clear what her Placer High School girls cross country team needs to do today in order to win the Pioneer Valley League Meet No. 1 at Gibson Ranch: Beat Bear River.
“They’re our closet competition,” said Braica, a four-year varsity runner and team captain. “They’ve gotten stronger over the years.”
Last year the Lady Hillmen captured the PVL title, but lost a league meet to Bear River at Gibson Ranch.
For Braica, beating Bear River would be the perfect way to start the PVL season.
A loss, on the other, hand wouldn’t settle so well for the Placer senior.
“It would be devastating to lose to Bear River tomorrow,” Braica said Tuesday.
She went as far to say that tears would run down her cheeks.
“I’d cry easily,” Braica said. “I cried last year. It was awful. Being the first team to let them beat us was awful.”
Junior Macaylea Mitchell said she too might shed a tear if the Lady Hillmen lost to the Bruins.
“We’d all be pretty crushed,” she said. “It’d be a let-down.”
Braica and Mitchell figure to finish first and second for the Lady Hillmen on the three-mile Gibson Ranch course. Others expected to contribute to the varsity girls team’s overall finish include Carlee Jahsb, Kyra Hostetler, Halle Ralls, Marci Baker, Sammie Leigon, Makayla Ratcliff and Kailee Warren.
The varsity boys will also compete in a three-mile contest. Senior Toby Qualls is one of the favorites to win the race. The frosh/soph boys and girls will compete in a two-mile race.
Coach Randall Fee hinted that his team might not be going all-out today, as they also will be taking part in the Yolo County invite Saturday at Woodland High.
“We’re going to do what we need to do to hopefully win,” Fee said. “But we also have to keep in mind they’re running Saturday in an invitational with 24 schools present.”
Fee said second-year varsity Bear River coach Kevin Vasquez has done a great job with the Bruins’ cross country program and turned them around.
“We know the quality of the varsity girls and it’s going to be a very tight race and a good matchup,” he said.
Fee also said Lincoln, as with any other school in PVL, could be a surprise team this year.
Fee has had his teams running hard this week in preparation for Gibson Ranch. On Monday, the team did a Figure 8, a 1.5-mile run which includes steep hills. He said it’s one of the hardest workouts the team does.
Braica, who Fee said leads by example, asked the coach if she could run an extra half Figure 8 after she completed the run.
Braica and the Lady Hillmen hope their work pays off with a reward of repeating as PVL champions.
And Braica doesn’t want to just beat Bear River once.
“We definitely want to beat them all three times,” she said of the three PVL meets. “We want to win them all — go big.
“We want to beat everybody, but not in a cocky way. We want to get first.”
Reach Matthew Kimel at email@example.com Follow him on Twitter @matthewkimel