High School Sports

Camacho is in a cross country league of her own

Senior Savannah Camacho of Templeton High won the Los Padres League individual title Wednesday, running the 5K race at Nipomo High in 18 minutes, 44 seconds.
Senior Savannah Camacho of Templeton High won the Los Padres League individual title Wednesday, running the 5K race at Nipomo High in 18 minutes, 44 seconds. daird@thetribunenews.com

In the fall of 2008, people wondered if Savannah Camacho could win the Los Padres League cross country title during all four years of her career at Templeton High.

The answer is yes.

Camacho, a senior for the Eagles, won the 5K girls race around Nipomo High on Wednesday afternoon in 18 minutes, 44 seconds — 15 seconds ahead of the runner-up, Santa Ynez’s Jessica Meyers.

The win gave her the rare distinction of being a four-time league champion.

“When I was a freshman, someone was like, ‘Oh, you could win league four times in a row,’ ” Camacho said, “and I just was kind of like, ‘That seems a little bit far-fetched.’ And then last year I thought, maybe, ‘Oh, I think it’s possible.’ This year, it was my goal for the start of the season, and now it’s to make it to state and do well there. So I’m really happy that it happened. It’s just a dream.”

Those hopes got off to a rocky start this season, as Camacho sprained an ankle in early September. She missed nearly a month before returning for a couple weeks, and then re-suffered the same injury.

“From then on, it’s just kind of been working out, trying to get my mileage up,” Camacho said.

After returning to competition for the first time in 19 days last week at the San Luis Obispo County Championships, where she finished fourth at 19:06 at Laguna Lake Park, she said she “felt really great” Wednesday.

Meyers, also a senior, stayed close with her, as the two were still testing each other with about a one-third of the race left.

“We just kind of kept going back and forth to see who was going to kick first,” Camacho said. “And finally, I was just like, ‘You know, I’m going to go, and if she stays with me, that’s fine.’ ”

Camacho, who took second place at the CIF State Championships in the 800-meter run in each of the past two Junes, is being heavily recruited for track. She has recently visited Oklahoma State and Penn State, has a visit scheduled for Arkansas, and is also considering UCLA and Cal.

While Camacho said she thinks she’s “kind of leaning toward going out of state right now” because of the new experience and surroundings it would bring, she’ll likely wait until closer to National Signing Day on Feb. 1 to finalize her choice, she said. Her next coach will “basically lead me to where I’m going to be in the future,” she said, “so I’ve really got to make a good decision.”

The next-highest county runner on the girls side Wednesday was another Templeton runner, freshman Veronica Russell, who finished in third place at 19:33.

“It was a pretty solid finish,” Russell said. “There was no one too close behind me, and my time was pretty good.”

Of the next five runners for Templeton — which was No. 7 in this week’s Southern Section Division 4 rankings released by DyeStatCal — four were also freshmen, and the other was a sophomore.

Russell said Camacho “pushes (her) a lot. She’s really nice, really encouraging” and “has given me a lot of tips.”

“It’s a young team, but I think we’re pretty strong,” Russell said.

Morro Bay, however, which was ranked 12th in the division by DyeStat, displayed the best team depth on the girls side Wednesday.

The Pirates won the meet with 14 points (not based on individual finishes), and also finished as the overall LPL team champion for the season with 19 points (adding the midseason meet’s results).

Morro Bay was paced by fourth-place Rachael Jelstrom (in 20:08), and also had Shannon McClish (ninth at 20:42), Madeline Ogle (10th, 20:44), Macey Burgeson (12th, 20:54), Ashley Fisher (17th, 21:28), Carina Hamp (18th, 21:31) and Rylie Fee (19th, 21:40) finish in the top 20.

Nipomo came in second in the season standings with 16 points, followed by Templeton (15), Lompoc (12), Cabrillo (7), Santa Ynez (2) and Santa Maria (0).

The Titans were led by Gracie Albano (in sixth place at 20:21) and Kyra Meko (seventh, 20:23). Michaela Holland added a 13th-place finish for Nipomo at 20:56. Templeton’s Ann Taylor crossed in 11th place at 20:49.

On the boys side, Cabrillo’s Matt Johnson won at 16:29.

The highest county placer was Morro Bay’s Billy Vedrin in sixth place at 17:15.

Nipomo’s Alex Hascall came in 13th at 17:31, and Jacob Gray led Templeton in 20th at 18:11.

Santa Ynez won the meet and the overall season title with 14 (not based on individual finishes) and 19 points, respectively.

Cabrillo came in second in the final team standings with 18 points, trailed by Lompoc (14), Morro Bay (10), Santa Maria (9), Templeton (1) and Nipomo (0).