The Casa Grande High School cross country team showed it could run with the best in Northern California and beyond in the talent-loaded Mount Sacramento Invitational last Saturday.
Casa Grande's spectacular sophomore Matt Salazar ran the 46th fastest time in the meet. He was the sixth fastest sophomore and the eighth fastest Northern California runner.
Rapidly improving Chad Nathanson was 14th fastest of all freshmen.
For the girls, Saskia Van Ommeren-Egbert was the 71st fastest sophomore, Adria Barich the 75th and Illeana Moon the 83rd.
As a team, Casa Grande's boys were 81st overall and sixth among Northern California teams. They were third in their race. Salazar was second in the race in 15:26. He was followed by Nick Rauch, 25th in 16:18; Griffin Wigert, 32nd in 16:31; Nathanson, 36th in 16:37; Zachary Nussdorfer, 39th in 16:41; Adam Harwood, 49th in 16:52; and Zachary Esponda, 86th in 17:31.
The Casa Grande girls were 76th overall, 10th among North California teams and second in their race. Van Ommeren-Egbert was ninth in 19:21, Barich 10th in 19:22, Moon 12th in 19:26, Andrea Gonzalez 19th in 20:10, Emma Moon 23rd in 20:28, Lucia Mora 42nd in 21:32 and Chase Falk 58th in 22:03.
Earlier in the week on their home course at Martinelli Ranch, the Gauchos took care of North Bay League business with wins over Santa Rosa and Cardinal Newman in a three-way run.
Casa's boys totaled 18 to 40 for Santa Rosa and 85 for Cardinal Newman. Salazar led the way, winning the run in 16:05. He was followed for the Gauchos by Rauch (16:38), Wigert (16:40), Nussdorfer (16:49), Nathanson (17:10), Harwood (17:13), Esponda (17:42), Stanley Goto (18:19), Jack Jones (18:07) and Scott Garrett (18:37).
The Casa Grande girls totaled 20 to 41 for Santa Rosa, and 88 for Cardinal Newman. Van Ommeren-Egbert was second in 19:34, followed by Barcich in 19:40, Ileana Moon in 19:49 and Gonzalez in 20:02.
The Casa Grande junior varsity boys were second behind Santa Rosa, with the Panthers totaling 21 to Casa's 47 and Cardinal Newman's 83.
Max Bechtel led the Gauchos, finishing second in 18:42. He was followed by Harrison Wistock (19:38), Aaron Lu (20:18), Kyle Gomez-Fowers (20:31) and Quinn Pieper (20:36).
The Casa Grande JV girls totaled 17 to 42 for Santa Rosa and 69 for Cardinal Newman. Alyssa Blakely led the Casa girls in 23:08, just ahead of Olivia Wray in 23:09. The leaders were followed by Makayla Chavez in 23:13, Katie Sachen in 25:24 and Sarah Langdon in 25:55.