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Sierra standout closes at CIF State meet

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Sierra standout closes at CIF State meet

Sierra High senior John Bowers closed out an impressive season with a strong showing at the 2009 CIF State Cross Country Championships Saturday in Fresno.

Bulletin file photo/

POSTED November 29, 2009 2:03 a.m.
FRESNO – Only a select few had the privilege of grinding out another race during t the CIF State Cross Country Championships at Woodward Park Saturday and Sierra High senior John Bowers was the only Manteca area athlete to make the cut.

Bowers closed out an illustrious cross country career for the Timberwolves, finishing 123rd out of 196 participants in the division III boys final. Bowers conquered the 5K course in 16:58, closing with a solid time, yet not as low as Bowers would have hoped.

“I feel I did OK out there,” Bowers said. “It was pretty cold outside, but I knew it was my last meet so I just went out there and ran.

“I really just wanted to have fun.”

Erik Olson of Novato High won the race with a time of 15:01. The best finisher from the Sac-Joaquin Section was Chris Kigar of El Camino who was fifth overall with a time of 15:20.

Bowers’ final race was just another impressive feat over an impressive season where he has continuously led a Sierra program that has experienced a great deal of success over the past decade of competition. His final race would be one of his most demanding, battling a field of the state’s best runners in conditions that were more fitting for ice-skating.

“The race itself was very fast,” Sierra cross country coach Anthony Chapman said. “The lead runner ran his first mile in 4:34, so it shows that it was a fast paced race. One thing that was different for John is he’s used to being in that lead pack. So for him to find himself right smack-dab in the middle of the pack 200-meters into the race, that’ll mess with your psyche a little bit.”

Bowers’ division III running mates got the 10:10 a.m. running slot, kicking their race into action prior to the morning chill burning off. Temperatures were cold at the race’s onset, giving all of the runner’s imperfect conditions to race in for the title.

“Obviously it wasn’t as warm as we would have liked,” Chapman said. “It was not my first choice of weather conditions and we would have liked it to be warmer, but at least there was no rain. Given the weather conditions and the fact that he’s never been to a state meet he still ran a pretty good race.”

With a dramatic win for the Sierra High football team Friday and Bowers’ feat Saturday afternoon, being a Timberwolf seems like the thing to do. Bowers became the first Timberwolf to gain a state meet berth in the past five seasons, solidifying his stamp on the Sierra High program. The squad will definitely miss the leadership and determination Bowers has provided, but his imprint will definitely be left on the school and the program.

“It is all about representing your school,” Chapman said of being proud of Bowers. “It doesn’t matter what sport it is, as long as we’re going out there and representing our school well. I am alumni of Sierra High, so part of it is very personal for me because of the impact it had on me growing up.

“We want them to have a positive experience with something they can take and apply to everything that they do in life.”

Bowers’ legacy is cemented and he thinks the program is in pretty good shape as well.

“I think our program will do pretty good,” Bowers said of Sierra’s near future. “Coach Chapman is a great head coach and his coaches really know what they’re doing. We have three people from the varisty team returning which would be Ricky Morris, Kyle Furtado and Miguel Velasquez and all of them have been with us quite awhile.

“I know they know how to handle themselves next year and bring the team together.”
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