Cross country State Championships: Instebo takes second, women’s team finishes seventh

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Channels Staff Report

Cecilia Instebo placed second in a field of 207 runners at the cross country State Championships, followed by Nicole Bartlett who took 13th, leading the Vaquero women to seventh place, the highest in decades.

Last Saturday Instebo took her sixth straight second place and for the first time beat undefeated Grace Graham-Zamudio of Glendale, who finished sixth in the women’s race at Woodward Park. Instebo covered the 5k race in her season-best of 18:14.

“I knew that I had chances of finishing second,” said Instebo. “But I also knew that I would have to beat Grace in order to do that. I trusted that if I just ran the way that I’ve been running all season, I would do well. Grace is a very talented runner, so it was of course nice to finally beat her after being second all season.”

Instebo was voted Santa Barbara Athletic Roundtable Athlete of the Week after her performance at State. Head coach, Scott Fickerson, will nominate her for the Western State Conference Runner of the Year.

Out of the 28-team race, De Anza College’s Katie Castro was finished first with a time of 17:45.

Orange Coast with 79 points took the team title followed by Glendale (100) and Moorpark (136). City College at 221 points finished seventh and shaved two minutes off its best team time.

Nicole Bartlett, the freshman from Washington ran the course in 18:54. Both Instebo and Bartlett earned the All-American Honors.

Freshman, Emily Bernath was 25th at 19:11. Instebo improved by 13 seconds; Bartlett and Bernath by one to one and-a-half minutes.

“I was very excited for our teams’ success at the State Championships,” said Fickerson. “I’m extremely proud of their hard work and commitment to the principles we developed at the start of the season.”

The Vaquero men placed 18th out of 28 teams for the men’s four-mile race. Leading the squad was sophomore Omar Padilla-Lopez, who came in at No. 41 in a season-best of 21:18, followed by freshman, Ian Roberts No. 61 at 21:31.

Matt Airola of American River clocked in at 20:11 to take first in the men’s competition.

“I would not have changed a thing,” said Fickerson. “It was really a great season and an immense pleasure to work with this fine group of men and women student-athletes.”