It was St. Mary’s fifth best female runner Thursday that spoiled Tokay’s perfect day.

Audrey Tekerleak took fifth for the Rams and 13th overall in the Tri-City Athletic League Championships at Oak Grove Regional Park. Her finish gave St. Mary’s first place at the meet with 33 points, ahead of Tokay with 34 points, followed by West (86), McNair (100) and Stagg (119).

Tokay went 5-0 in regular-season dual meets followed by St. Mary’s at 4-1, meaning the Tigers needed a first-place finish to win the TCAL outright. As it is, the schools are co-champions. The Tokay boys finished 5-0 on the season and won Thursday with 43 points, ahead of St. Mary’s (49), Stagg (89), West (94), McNair 95, and Edison (135).

The top five from each team earn their school the same number of points as their finish, with teams shooting for the lowest possible score.

“This is why I tell my runners that every second counts and every place counts,” St. Mary’s coach Felicia Rowley said. “It matters even if you’re not up front as one of the leaders.”

Tekerleak finished in 21 minutes, 51 seconds, which was 0:05 faster than the following finisher, Tokay’s Theresa Mall. The final stretch of the 3-mile course wound around the park’s western lake and through a grove of trees, ending at the Oaks Pavilion shelter area.

“There was a while where (Mall) was in front of me,” Tekerleak said. “Then I was able to get in front of her at the end, but she was still right there.”

The other top girls finishers were CiCi Wilson of Edison who took second place in 19:58, behind Haley Kroll of Tokay. Kroll, a senior, set a personal best for the course in 18:51 after taking second place in the meet last year at the Stockton Soccer Complex.

“This is one of my favorite courses to run,” Kroll said. “This is my last time here and I really wanted to see what I could do and it turned out well.”

For the boys, fellow Tokay senior Zack Leffler took first in 16:44 followed by teammate Patrick Johnson in 16:56. Behind them were Daniel Thiel of St. Mary’s (17:11) and Daniel Castillo of Stagg (17:31).

Leffler won the meet last year and becomes the first boy or girl to win the meet back-to-back since the TCAL was formed in 2005.

The runners next compete in the Sac-Joaquin Subsection Championships at Frogtown in Angels Camp next Saturday.

“It’s going to be hard training for the next couple of weeks,” Leffler said. Subsections is first, but my goal from the beginning was state.”

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