Savannah Camacho often finds herself remembering the final stretch of the last race she ran a year ago.It certainly was a memorable one.
Camacho, now a junior at Templeton High, finished second in California in the girls 800-meter run this past June, clocking a time of 2 minutes, 7.73 seconds at the CIF State Track and Field Championships in Clovis. In a classic photo finish, her time was just 0.21 seconds behind that of Harvard-Westlake’s Amy Weissenbach, then a fellow sophomore.
“It didn’t feel real,” Camacho said. “Looking back on it now, there’s definitely a lot of motivation for (spring’s track season).”
Camacho’s time ended up being the fifth-best in the country for 2009-10, third-best among sophomores nationally.
It’s common for middle-distance standouts to use cross country as an advantageous training ground, and Camacho is no exception. Lately, however, Camacho has been winning while she’s at it.
On Sept. 11, she opened by winning the 2.74-mile Morro Bay Invitational at 18:25. Four days later, her 5K time of 19:06 was tops at a Coast Union invite. And this past Saturday, she went three-for-three in her appearances thus far, claiming the three-mile small-school race at the Ojai Invitational in 18:59.
“They’re very complementary to each other,” Camacho said of cross country and track.
After June, Camacho was able to put in more practice miles than she was following her freshman year, which has helped her endurance this time, she said.
“Cross country builds strength for track,” said Jim Barodte, a local distance specialist whose list of pupils includes former Mission Prep standout Jordan Hasay, now an All-American sophomore at Oregon. “They work hand-in-hand.”
Rather than focusing on a specific time as a goal for Camacho in the coming months, Templeton cross country coach Cubby Cashen said he’s generally stressing pacing and conditioning to emphasize proper muscle memory.
“I think she’s going to be her toughest critic on everything,” Cashen said of Camacho’s future. “In this area, with Jordan Hasay being such a big name, Savannah just wants to be her own runner.”
Although Camacho also qualified to compete at the state meet in the 1,600 last year, she chose to run in the 800 only. Looking toward the upcoming track campaign, Camacho said she’s keeping her event options open.
Barodte, who has helped tutor Camacho since she was in seventh grade, laughed when asked if Camacho will likely be able to eventually have her pick of elite Division I colleges.
“She already does,” he said. “With her dedication, her toughness and her ability to compete, she has great potential.”
Atascadero football enters rankings
The Atascadero football team entered the weekly Southern Section Western Division rankings on Monday, voted in at No. 10. The Greyhounds (3-0) are coming off a 48-3 drubbing of Bakersfield Independence. Arroyo Grande (3-0) stayed at No. 6 in the same poll after downing Templeton 39-0.
With the loss, Templeton (2-1) dropped from No. 1 in the Northwest Division to No. 5, while Nipomo (0-2), which lost 27-12 to Carpinteria, fell from No. 10 into the others-receiving-votes category in the same division.
In the Northeast Division, Mission Prep (2-1), coming off a 28-7 defeat at the hands of Bishop Diego, went from No. 8 to unranked.
In Division 2 at the 8-man level, North County Christian (2-0) rose a spot to No. 7 following its 22-8 win over Clovis Christian.
Jespersen wins football award
Gunnar Jespersen, a 2007 Atascadero grad now starting at quarterback for Central Connecticut State, received the New England Football Writers Football Championship Subdivision (I-AA) Gold Helmet Award this past week. He was honored at a luncheon at Harvard.
Through three games for the Blue Devils (1-2) this season, Jespersen has completed 46 of 67 passes (68.7 percent) for 490 yards and three touchdowns with an interception.