FALL SPORTS SPOTLIGHT
Freshman leads Gaucho runners
Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 1:05 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 1:05 p.m.
The Casa Grande High School cross country team has both quality and quantity.
Coach Carl Triola welcomed 60 runners this fall. “This is the most kids we've ever had out,” he said. “We have a lot of freshmen and sophomores.”
Among the returners is the entire varsity boys team, but the best of the bunch this year is a newcomer.
Freshman Matt Salazar, moving up to the prep ranks after a spectacular run in youth competition, is not only an outstanding runner, but already a team leader with is determination and dedication.
“He has a lot of talent,” said Triola. “He has a drive I haven't seen in a long time. The way he attacks a workout inspires everyone. He pulls the other kids along. He has already had a tremendous impact.”
The Gauchos also have several talented runners behind the freshman.
Juniors Harrison Weistock, Griffin Wiegert and Jack Jones are joined by Nicolas Rauch, Adam Harwood, Dakota Iribarne and Kevin Moffett to form a solid group.
An interesting newcomer is Andrew Langwell, who is running cross country for the first time as a senior. “Coming out for cross country as a senior is difficult, but Andrew has bee a surprise,” Triola said. “He seems to be learning very quickly.”
The coach and the team have high expectations, but Triola cautions that it is a new season and a new league.
“Moving to the NBL will be a different story,” he said.
Much will be determined in the Gauchos' second NBL meet of the season when they run against both Santa Rosa and Maria Carrillo, two of the favorites for the title.
One thing Triola knows for sure. The Gauchos will be ready.
“We had a great summer,” the coach said. “The kids worked very hard. It was the best summer we've had since I've been coaching here.”
The Casa Grande girls are loaded, led by returning state-meet qualifiers Ashley Moffett and Chloe Hall.
Moffett is sensational. She won the Sonoma County League meet last season and ran second in the North Coast Section. Hall was a strong 10th in the NCS to also qualify for state. Both are even better this season as seniors.
They are only the top and most noticeable of the Casa girls.
Sophomore Andrea Gonzalez just missed being among he top 20 in NCS as a freshman.
Saskia vanOmmeren, Hailey Faulk, Ellorina Carli and Makayla Chavez are all quality runners.
Casa Grande is also benefiting from a pair of freshmen. Triola knew that Ileana Moon was going to help in her first year of high school, but Adria Barcich has proven a pleasant surprise.
“The girls have enough depth down through 10 to be competitive,” the coach said. “Santa Rosa and Maria Carrillo are going to be tough, but I think we can run with just about anybody.
“They are going to compete. They won't back down.”
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