Fri, Nov 25 2011 04:12 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents
Without any team state qualifiers at last Saturday’s San Diego Section cross country championship meet at Morley Field, it was up to the Metro Conference’s top individuals to lead their own charge.
And there were plenty of them to do just that.
Bonita Vista senior Caesar Castillo made a triumphant return to the state meet even if his team did not, finishing with the top time among Metro boys varsity runners of 16:15 on the 3.04-mile course.
Castillo’s time placed him 11th in the exceptionally tough Division II race won by state power La Costa Canyon, and 14th overall in the field of 604 runners, inclusive of all five divisions.
The top three teams in Division I, Division II and Division III qualified to compete in Saturday’s state championship meet in Fresno, plus the top five individuals not on those teams.
Castillo was the fifth and final individual state qualifier in Division II. The Barons, third a year ago, finished ninth this year.
“It’s sad we’re not going this year as a team but I made a pledge to run one more race, and I am going to do that,” he said.
Castillo will be joined in Fresno by three fellow Metro front-runners: Otay Ranch senior Steven Martinez, Sweetwater junior George Martinez and Castle Park junior Miguel Lopez.
Otay Ranch’s Martinez (16:16 in Division I) and CP’s Lopez (16:25 in Division III) both finished third in their respective divisions while SuHI’s Martinez (16:26) finished eighth in Division I also to qualify.
Lopez is making a return trip to the state finals as an individual qualifier.
Otay Ranch and Sweetwater finished sixth and seventh, respectively, among Division I teams while Castle Park was eighth in its division.
Otay Ranch junior Carina Gillespie and Chula Vista senior Mariza Diaz were, surprisingly, the lone two Metro runners to qualify for state from the Division I girls race.
Gillespie placed fourth in the 2.75-mile race in 16:28 – 10th overall in the combined field of 525 runners — while Diaz was seventh in 16:38.
Otay Ranch entered the finals ranked second in the division but placed fourth — 10 points behind third place Rancho Buena Vista for the final state qualifying berth.
Mater Dei Catholic senior Mallory Davenport (18:52) qualified for state by placing 13th in the Division IV girls race while Chula Vista Calvary Christian Academy senior Christian Quidang (18:42) qualified by placing sixth in the Division V boys race.
Quidang also qualified last year.
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