Taylor, Lockert Win Petaluma boys finish first through sixth; Casa girls win third consecutive league title By RICH RUPPRECHT PRESS DEMOCRAT STAFF WRITER Published: Wednesday, November 12, 2008 It was a gorgeous fall afternoon at Spring Lake on Wednesday, an ideal day for a 3.05-mile run. Just ask Casa Grande’s Jacque Taylor, Petaluma’s Sterling Lockert and Lockert’s Trojan teammates if they had fun. Taylor was actually smiling during her race, motoring around the figure-eight course with a couple of hills in her best time. Taylor, a junior with ambitions to win a state cross country championship, finished in 17:07. Lockert set a meet record, winning his fourth consecutive SCL championship. His time of 15:08, also a personal record, highlighted a team performance comparable to the 1927 Yankees. The first six finishers were Trojans — leading to a third consecutive perfect score in the SCL finals — and the top-five’s combined time of 77:34 was more than a minute faster than the Petaluma boys’ team course record set last year. The afternoon was chock-full of highlights with the Casa girls, who won their third consecutive SCL championship, set an SCL team course record and is making a bid for a second consecutive appearance at state in two weeks. To say Taylor is familiar with the Spring Lake course is like saying there are a few trees in the park. Taylor has run at Spring Lake since she was a sixth-grader, competing for Wednesday’s official race starter, Bob Shor, and the Santa Rosa Express. She said her favorite part of the course is along the lake, in part because it’s near the end of the race, not that she was straining to finish. Taylor is ranked second in the state in Division II and has geared her workouts and races around this part of the season, with big meets hitting in consecutive weeks — SCLs, NCS and state. She’s also run her best races in the last month, at Mt. Sac, league duals and now the SCL. Taylor is looking forward to a senior year of high school and even more, the start of college. She is receiving plenty of correspondence from colleges, who can’t officially speak with her until the first day of her senior year. UCLA and Stanford seem interested and the feeling is mutual. The Petaluma boys hit Spring Lake like a freight train, throttling the course. It’s top five finishers — Sterling Lockert, twin Devin Lockert, Hugh Dowdy, Brandon Felipe and Benjamin Stern — averaged 15:34. Considering, Ryan Mack’s course record is 14:50, that’s flying. “That’s phenomenal,” said Petaluma coach Jim Lynch. “That’s an incredible team time.” Petaluma had beaten a 20-year record held by Santa Rosa last year, combining for 78:58. On Wednesday, the Petaluma Running Machine combined for a 77:49. Petaluma is looking forward to next week’s NCS championships at Hayward High, but it’s at Fresno’s Woodward Park, where the state meet is held the following week, that the Trojans have set their sights. Last year, they were second and this year they are currently ranked second, behind Barstow. “I wanted the course record today, but that’s fine,” said Sterling Lockert, who said he experienced no pain in his Achilles heel that bothered him slightly a couple weeks ago. “We were outstanding team-wise. We won’t be the top team at state, won’t have a target on our backs and if we run there like we did today, we’ll see.” The Casa girls, “had that fire in our eyes,” said Taylor. “I thought they looked strong and ran well,” said Casa coach Carl Triola. “We wanted to repeat (as league champs) and we did that and we wanted to lower our team record.” Petaluma junior Isabel Andrade finished second in the girls’ varsity race in 17:59 and Petaluma freshman Francesca Honey was third in 18:42. All top-six Petaluma boys finishers were under 16 minutes: Sterling Lockert, 15:08; Devin Lockert, 15:27; Dowdy, 15:34; Felipe, 15:49; Stern, 15:51, and Forrest Shaffer, 15:58, and they finished 1-6. The Petaluma boys also had the top six finishers in the JV boys race, led by Roberto Gonzalez in 16:44. Windsor’s Amy Arend won the JV girls’ race in 23:28.