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The Californian

Stockdale senior Blake Haney in the moments before the start of the CIF-State Cross Country Division I Championships at Fresno's Woodward Park on Nov. 30, 2013.

Stockdale senior Blake Haney had one last chance to leave an impression as a high school cross country runner, and he took full advantage.

Haney took second place in the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Ore., on Saturday, running 15:09 to earn a silver-medal in a meet that's considered one of two high school national championship race. That came a week after he placed third in the CIF State Championships Division I race.

"It's a good way to end," Haney said. "I'm definitely happy with it. I'm kind of sad that cross country is over for high school, but I'm happy. It ended on a better note than just ending after state."

Taylor Wilmot of North Central High (Spokane, Wash.) won the NXN individual title in 15:00.

Haney, who also ran 15:09 at the state meet at Woodward Park, had a choice to run either NXN or the Foot Locker National Championships, which would have required him to qualify at a regional race Saturday for this weekend's national race.

"I was going to do one or the other," he said. "I was a little bummed after state -- I feel like I should have won -- so I think NXN was the better situation for me. It was a week earlier and there was no qualifying meet."

The end of cross country season gives Haney time for a short break -- he's taking about 10 days off -- before beginning training for track and field season, in which he's the defending state champion in the 1,600 meters and 3,200 meters. He'll look to become just the second runner ever to defend a title in both of those events in California history.

"I felt really good in cross country, way better than I've ever felt," said Haney, who is verbally committed to Oregon. "I was really comfortable, even though I kind of struggled at state. I feel like I should improve a lot from last track season to this one."

BHS football up to No. 12

Bakersfield High's football team rose four spots in Cal Hi Sports' state rankings to No. 12. It's the highest the Drillers (11-2) have been this season.

And Bakersfield will have an opportunity to rise even higher. The Drillers play at the No. 9 team in the rankings, San Marcos-Mission Hills, at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the CIF Division I Southern Cal regional bowl game.

The winner will take on the winner of the Northern Cal D-I bowl between No. 7 San Mateo-Serra and No. 13 Loomis-Del Oro in the D-I state bowl championship Dec. 20 in Carson.

Advance tickets for the BHS-Mission Hills game are available from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. today in the BHS finance office. Bakersfield Christian, which plays in the D-IV regional bowl against L.A.-View Park Prep on Friday at Centennial, is also selling advance tickets during school hours.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for students/seniors/children.

All-Valley volleyball game

An all-star game for Central Section volleyball will be held Saturday at Clovis East High School, pitting the best eighth-grade and high school senior volleyball players in the section against one another for a showcase event.

The event begins with a breakfast banquet at 9 a.m. at the Fresno Breakfast House, followed by the eighth-grade all-star game at 1:30, the small-school game (Divisions III, IV and V) at 3:30 and the large-school game (Divisions I and II) at 5:30.

Local high school players on the small-school team are: Heather Henderson and Rachel Rivette, Frazier Mountain; Baylee Brannan, Highland; Natalie Castro and Jacquelyn Johnson, Ridgeview; and Halle Neher, Taft.

Local players on the large-school team: Abby Campbell, Cassidy George and Tori Smith, Centennial; Hailee Ernest, Hannah Henriksen and Casey Hulsey, Frontier; Emily Lopes, Independence; Halle Harker and Nikki Leonard, Liberty; Layne Dillingham and Saveena Smith, Stockdale; and Kim Smith and Samantha Wallace, Tehachapi.

For more information on the game, contact Casey Musick at (559) 696-6951 or Vince Bailey at (559) 321-7551.

Frontier wrestler to Navy

Frontier senior wrestler Josh Bailey has committed to compete for the U.S. Naval Academy.

Bailey, a two-time CIF state qualifier, celebrated his decision Wednesday at Frontier. He went 3-2 at 195 pounds at the state meet last year, coming two victories short of being a state medalist.

Fien sees NCAA action

Frontier graduate Kelsey Fien, a sophomore outside hitter at Nebraska, had eight kills and one error in 15 attacks for a robust .457 hitting percentage in the Cornhuskers' first-round NCAA volleyball tournament victory over Fairfield on Friday.

Fien did not play in the Huskers' second-round victory over Oregon. She has seen action in 21 sets this season, averaging 2.2 kills per set and hitting .162

Nebraska (25-6) plays at home vs. San Diego in a regional semifinal at 5 p.m. Friday.