HAYWARD -- As Amador Valley High's Jena Pianin crossed the finish line Saturday in the North Coast Section Division I girls race, a smile came across her face.

During a driving rainstorm, Pianin had adamantly refused to give up the lead. She moved into first in the first 200 yards of the three-mile race at Hayward High and fought off challenges by Berkeley's Diribe Abdo and San Ramon Valley's Christine Bayliss to defend her title in a time of 17 minutes, 56 seconds.

"My strategy was to win at all cost," said Pianin, who did not get separation from Abdo until the final mile. "I wanted to find hard ground and use it."

Bayliss was second (17:59) and Abdo was third (18:01).

Acalanes' Annie Marggraff led her team to an historic victory. The Dons won their first NCS girls cross country team title since 1985.

Marggraff, a senior, led the lead Division III pack at the one-mile mark and increased her advantage to seven seconds by the two-mile point. She ended up winning by two seconds with a time of 18:25.

"I'm overwhelmed. I worked so hard this season to get to this point," said an emotional Marggraff after the race. "I wanted to run my own race and not follow other people.

"I did it for Tad (Beach) and Manny (Myers)," said Marggraff, referring to the Acalanes co-coaches who are retiring from cross country coaching at Acalanes after this season.


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The fastest time of the day was turned in by Campolindo's Aidan Goltra, who won the Division III boys race in 15:30. Goltra was second at the one-mile mark, but by the two-mile point he was in first, one step ahead of Redwood's Fred Huxham.

Goltra made a move on a flat portion of the final mile to win by 20 seconds. Huxham was second (15:50).

"I'm shocked how well it went," said Goltra, a junior. "I didn't expect the first two miles to feel so easy."

Berkeley's Tariku Abdo, Diribe's brother, won the Division I boys race in an upset. Tariku, who finished sixth in the West Alameda County Conference championship race Nov. 3, made a major move in the second mile and led by nine seconds at the two-mile mark. He ended up winning by 12 seconds in 15:48.

Besides Acalanes, other East Bay schools which won team titles included San Ramon Valley (Division I boys), Granada (Division I girls), Miramonte (Division III boys) and St. Joseph Notre Dame (Division V boys).