Petaluma runs away with title: Top 5, perfect score
Sterling Lockert first; Felipe, Devin Lockert, Yungert, Stern follow

By RICH RUPPRECHT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT



The Petaluma boys notched a rare perfect score and Casa Grande freshman Jacque 
Taylor aced the Spring Lake course on a breezy Wednesday afternoon at the 
Sonoma County League cross country championship meet.

Standing at the finish line near the Spring Lake lagoon, one might have thought 
only Petaluma was running in the boys' race.

Sophomore Sterling Lockert won the 3.05-mile race in 15:48 and was followed by 
teammates Brandon Felipe, Devin Lockert, Cole Yungert and Benjamin Stern. 
Besides having the top five finishers, Petaluma wound up with seven of the first 
10 placers. It gave the Trojans a perfect score of 15.

Petaluma now moves on to next weekend's North Coast Section Division II race at 
Hayward High, where the Trojans will be the team favorite. The top three teams 
from NCS advance to the following week's state meet at Woodward Park in Fresno. 
Petaluma won an NCS championship in 1978.

"As far as we know, no boys' team from around here has won a league championship 
with a perfect score," said Trojans coach Jim Lynch.

Petaluma's total time for seven runners was 1-hour, 20 minutes and 46 seconds, 
for an average of 16:09.

Following Sterling Lockert, Felipe was second in 16:05 and Devin Lockert was 
third in 16:07.

As Yogi Berra might say, the future is ahead of the Trojans, who don't have a 
senior on the team. The Lockert twins are sophomores, as is Felipe and Stern. 
Eighth-place finisher Cody Jinright is also a sophomore.

Sterling Lockert said all the Petaluma runners are close and frequently hang out 
together. Asked how they would celebrate, Lockert said, "go home and do homework."

After the race and a brief award ceremony the, Petaluma runners headed back to 
the course for some more work.

Lynch said coaching the boys is "a pleasure and a challenge. They're young and 
have a lot of energy. They're extremely positive. They knew what they had to do 
and they did it."

Taylor, one of the top freshman in the state, grabbed the lead from the start 
of the girls' varsity race and held a 22-second lead after the first mile.

She won in 17:19, the sixth-fastest time by a girl at Spring Lake and the best 
time ever in an SCL championship meet. The three who ran under 17 minutes are 
Julia Stamps (16:15), Amber Trotter (16:31) and Sara Bei (16:43). Trina Cox ran 
a 17:04 and Jenny Aldridge 17:06.

Taylor said she was happy with her time and that the Casa girls won the SCL 
team championship.

She ran a 5:42 first mile, which "was faster than I was supposed to go," Taylor 
said. Taylor, who ran one of the top races by a freshman earlier this season 
at Mount San Antonio College, will run in the Div. III race at NCS.

Taylor has been running since fifth grade when students run a mile for fun on 
Friday's at Sonoma Mountain Elementary. Taylor said she was usually the fastest 
runner.

She also ran for the Santa Rosa Express and longtime coach Bob Shore, who 
started all of Wednesday's races and was the first one to inform Taylor 
she'd run the sixth fastest time at Spring Lake.

Healdsburg junior Sarah Sumpter finished second in 18:07. Sumpter didn't begin 
running cross country until last year. She dedicated herself to the sport, 
running 100 miles a week over the summer.

Sumpter finished ahead of El Molino's Britney Escamilla for the first time.

"I was just happy to finish second," said Sumpter. "My goal is still to make 
it to state."