By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Analy’s Molly Foster and Petaluma’s Ryan Douglas both lived up to their billing as favorites by leading every step of their races in Saturday’s Sonoma County League Championships at Spring Lake.
Douglas’ 21-second victory helped the Trojans boys win the team title.
On the girls side, Sonoma Valley walked away with a team championship for the first time since 1986. The Analy girls would’ve finished first or second, but wound up with an incomplete when one of their runners (Maddie Hummel) fell and couldn’t complete the course.
Foster didn’t begin the season as the dominant female runner in the SCL, but thanks to a change in training, she is now.
“Mark Grismer, our coach, implemented an anaerobic training program,” Foster explained. “Instead of training at one speed, I added sprinting intervals of 400 meters.”
The training regimen has taken Foster to another level. A month ago, she lost by 10 seconds to Piner’s Paloma Romero. Saturday, she beat that rival by 33 seconds. Romero finished third behind Foster and Sonoma Valley’s Hannah Cenci.
Foster, a junior, completed the 4,989 meters in 19:15 and figures to be a contender in the North Coast Section Division 3 race on Nov. 17 in Hayward.
Douglas’ time was 15:14 which he said was kind of a disappointment. “I thought I could break the 15-minute mark,” he said. “I think I would have if I’d been challenged. It’s tough for me to run all out when I’m running by myself.”
Jaime Silva was expected to give Douglas a race, but he never mounted a rally and settled for second. Silva wasn’t at full strength. He hurt his shoulder and knee in a fall on Friday.
Douglas is back in top form after being hampered by a foot infection.
“My goal now is to finish in the top three at NCS,” he said. “I was sixth as a sophomore and then last year I couldn’t train the way I wanted to because of the infection. I finished 20th.
“I started getting my endurance back over the summer with a lot of long runs. I’m feeling comfortable again.”
Douglas will compete in Division 3 at NCS.
Petaluma came in with the low score of 32 on Saturday. Piner was second with 42.
Picking up points for the Trojans were: Casey Kramer (third), Duncan Gardner (eighth), Kevin Poteracke (ninth) and Tom Healy (11th).
In the girls division, Sonoma Valley edged Petaluma, 40-42. Piner was third with 48 points.
The Dragons’ point total came from: Hannah Cenci (second), Gianna Biaggi (seventh), Laura Amador (13th), Serena Spry (14th) and Maddy Libbey (16th).
Sonoma Valley will share the league title with Piner, the regular season winner.
On the boys side, Petaluma and regular season winner Piner are co-champs.
The Piner boys won the junior varsity competition with Prospector Brayan Alvarado taking first place … The Analy JV girls also prevailed. Kiara Broudy of the Tigers finished first.