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Castle Park harriers are deeper in South Bay League dual opener Phillip Brents | Fri, Oct 05 2012 01:31 PM

While the shiny hardware might be missing at present, Castle Park cross country coach Juan Lozano feels the future might be unlimited.

The Trojans stepped off South Bay League dual meet action last Friday with a 15-50 sweep of both the boys and girls varsity races against the San Ysidro Cougars at SDG&E Park.

Medalist honors went to Rodrigo Paredes (boys varsity, 20:13 for 3.1 miles) and Keeshawna Jackson (girls varsity, 18:08 for 2.5 miles).

But it’s what Castle Park accomplished earlier this season that has made Lozano optimistic about his team’s performance for championship competition next month.

During the opening month of the season, the Trojans have competed against some of the top teams in Southern California, often entering races in the top-flight divisions to seek out top runners.

Castle Park finished 11th running against Division I teams at the Bronco Roundup on Sept. 8, third in the senior boys race at the Sundevil Invitational a week later at Balboa Park’s Morley Field and sixth at the 38th Bellarmine-Loyola Invitational two weekends ago at L.A.’s famed Griffith Park.

By Lozano’s reckoning, if the Trojans had competed in their actual enrollment level, they would have emerged with championship trophies at both the Bronco Roundup and Griffith Park meets.

 “A lot of the kids are disappointed that we didn’t get trophies but their times are better as a result (of competing up a division),” Lozano said.

The Trojan coach said a bigger prize is nailing down a team-qualifying berth at November’s San Diego Section Division III finals.

The Metro Conference finals, scheduled a week prior to the section finals, should serve as an appropriate launching pad. Both Castle Park and Sweetwater expect to contend for the South Bay League boys varsity banner.

The Red Devils stepped off league dual meet competition by sweeping Montgomery (17-43 in boys varsity and 22-39 in girls varsity).

The Trojans host Chula Vista this Friday. The Spartans are the defending South Bay League girls varsity champions and Castle Park will get a measure of how far the teams are separated this year when they meet head on at SDG&E Park.

Chula Vista topped Montgomery by scores of 25-34 (boys varsity) and 19-41 (girls varsity) while running alongside Sweetwater at Luckie Waller Park.

CV’s Yoceline Ramirez set a course record by timing 15:38 for 2.5 miles in the Spartans’ 19-39 win over the Red Devils.

Castle Park posted the first eight finishers in the 5K boys varsity race against San Ysidro. Following Paredes’ lead were teammates Zach Rasmussen (second, 20:53), Alexis Adan (third, 21:02), Carlos Curiel (fourth, 21:22), Adrian Murillo (fifth, 22:02), Adrian Hernandez (sixth, 22:21), Kevin Sarabia (seventh, 23:06) and Wynn Ni (eighth, 23:20). Freshman Enrique Escalante (ninth, 24:00) was San Ysidro’s top finisher.

CP’s Jackson used a strong finish to overtake SY’s Karina Cantera (18:22) in the final 400 meters to win the girls varsity race.

CP senior Miguel Lopez placed 10th at the Griffith Park meet in 15:17 (2.94 miles), followed by teammate Daniel Vazquez (18th, 15:32).

Mesa League duals:
Otay Ranch swept Eastlake by scores of 20-25 (boys varsity) and 15-46 (girls varsity). Medalists: Steven Liu (17:14) and Carina Gillespie (15:37).

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