Casa track team looks forward to NBL challenge

The Casa Grande High School track team left the Sonoma County League with a championship and would like nothing better than to enter the North Bay League with matching pennants.

Casa swept to both the boys and girls SCL titles last season, and Gaucho coach Jamie Pugh is convinced his team has a chance to make an immediate impression on the NBL

"I'm excited about the new league," Pugh says. He is beginning his third season as Casa Grande head coach and sixth working with the Gaucho track team. "I like being in the NBL. I like seeing the kids challenged week in, week out."

The Casa Grande girls especially expect to be able to compete with Montgomery, Santa Rosa, Maria Carrillo and other NBL powers. The Casa girls are young, but very talented and deep from sprints to distances.

The Lady Gauchos should be able to match speed with anyone, with three-quarters of last season's school record-setting 4x100 relay teams returning and a host of impressive newcomers. Freshmen Destiny Williams and Saskia Van Ommeren-Egberts are poised to make a dramatic impact on the Casa Grande sprint crew, joining a talented unit that includes Robin Payne, Kayla Ryan, Courtney Accurso, Becca Benjamin, Eleana Moon, Michele Chavez and Hannah Barlow.

Freshmen Williams in the 400 and Moon in the 800 will lead the middle distance runners. Pugh says Williams' potential is pretty much unlimited. "She is still learning," he says. "At this point, I don't know what her top end might be."

Ashley Moffet is one of the best, if not the best, distance runners in the Redwood Empire, and a legitimate state meet contender. Van Ommeren-Egberts is also strong in the distances.

Accurso leads the Casa hurdlers, and she, too, is among the best in the Redwood Empire.

Then there is Benjamin who can fit in anywhere from the 100 to 800. "She will score points for us," says Pugh.

Casa's talent pool isn't confined to the running events.

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