Cross Country: Sonoma Academy boys primed for state title run


Falling just short of reaching the California high school cross country finals a year ago motivates the Sonoma Academy boys to make good on a state meet bid this season.

The Sonoma Academy boys and girls lead Empire small schools with Coastal Mountain Conference meets under way.

Ranked third in the North Coast Section for Division 5, the Coyote boys are primed to make the state finals. Leading the squad are Jacob Gaynor, Jax Reiff and Austin Orr.

“I want these kids to experience what it’s like to run at a state championship. There’s nothing like it. That’s the goal,” said Sonoma Academy coach Dan Aldridge.

“We came a long way last year. We’re building on that right now.”

Cloverdale and Upper Lake also should have solid boys’ teams. Cloverdale’s Joe Carrillo — possibly the league’s top runner — and Willits’ Chris Orr could push at the section meet to qualify for the state finals.

The Sonoma Academy girls, last season’s league champion, should get a test from St. Helena.

A strong group of girls will contend for state meet spots led by Katy Lee of Sonoma Academy, who placed seventh in Division 5 at the state finals last season.

The three girls behind Lee in the league finals a year ago are all back: Julia Eyer, St. Helena; Kiana Herold, Sonoma Academy; and Alexandra Sciocchetti, Fort Bragg.

“That’s going to be a battle,” Aldridge said.