Sweetwater boys coach Adrian Garcia was right: It wasn’t over yet.
Despite finishing 6-0 in South Bay League dual meets, Garcia’s Red Devils entered last Friday’s Metro Conference finals vulnerable. If they didn’t out-match the hard-charging Castle Park Trojans, they would have to share this year’s league title.
And that’s exactly what happened as two CP harriers — Daniel Vazquez and Miguel Lopez — handed SuHi superman George Martinez his first league loss this season.
It was a shocker.
Vazquez overtook Martinez at the two-mile mark and never looked back in recording the top time of the day of 15:55 in the boys varsity 5K race. Lopez was second in 16:01, followed by three Sweetwater runners: Gerrardo Marquillo (third, 16:03), Bryan Alvarado (fourth, 16:14) and Martinez (fifth, 16:29).
Martinez had run a 15:58 on the course a week earlier in his team’s 27-28 dual win over the Trojans.
CP coach Juan Lozano credited last Friday’s gutsy 28-34 win to its back-end runners. Jesse Villarruel, the Trojans’ fifth scorer, nipped Sweetwater’s No. 5 man, Alexis Diaz de Leon, by one second.
“We learned a lot from the dual meet loss,” Vazquez said. “You can’t go out so close to the wall from the beginning, you’ve got to stalk them.”
“It just wasn’t his day,” Garcia said in regard to Martinez’s sub-par place-finish.
Both teams placed four runners among the top 10 finishers that denote the all-league first team.
Castle Park finished as the top team in the 13-team conference, followed by Sweetwater, Bonita Vista and Otay Ranch.
Bonita Vista won the Mesa League boys varsity title with a meet-low 26 points. Otay Ranch was runner-up with 45 points, followed by Eastlake with 72 points. The order of finish duplicated the dual meet standings.
Baron coach Ed Winczowski suggested his team, injury-riddled at the start of the year, peaked at the right time of the season.
BV senior Jacob Sherman earned honors as the Mesa League Runner of the Year with his time of 16:10. Six Barons earned top 15 medalist honors. Joining Sherman in the elite circle were teammates Austin Johnson (second, 16:15), Cristian Gutierrez (fourth, 16:44), Javier Reyes (ninth, 17:05), Andrew Turpin (10th, 17:14) and David Delone (14th, 17:27).
Otay Ranch had four medalists: Rodrigo Baza (third, 16:30), Alexis Hernandez (fifth, 16:45), Steven Liu (seventh, 17:01) and Gilberto Beltran (12th, 17:24).
Eastlake’s Oliver Abundez (sixth, 16:55) and Zac Zasueta (eighth, 17:04) both secured first team all-league showcase honors.
Otay Ranch held off a spirited Bonita Vista team, 28-33, to cement its fourth consecutive Mesa championship. The Mustangs had three of the top five finishers, led by three-time league champion Carina Gillespie, who set the pace in the 4K race in 15:23 as the overall conference leader.
Mustang teammates Darla Osuna (second, 15:33), Catie LeDesma (fifth, 15:48) and Andie LeDesma (ninth, 16:19) also earned first team all-league honors with strong races.
Bonita Vista had four of the top seven finishers, including three under 16:00 and another at 16:01. “And we still lost,” Winczowski said. “That goes to show you how deep the girls teams are down here.”
Chula Vista, led by league champion Yoceline Ramirez, out-distanced runner-up Sweetwater, 23-77, to repeat as South Bay League champions.
The Spartans had four of the top five finishers and medaled all seven runners.
Otay won both the boys and girls junior varsity league titles.
Veteran Otay Ranch coach Ian Cumming termed the competition “outstanding” as epitomized by what he called “the very close and dynamic South Bay varsity boys race along with the very tight battle between Otay Ranch and Bonita’s varsity girls teams.”
“Congratulations are also due to the Bonita Vista boys varsity and Chula Vista girls varsity on their dominating victories to claim league championships,” he said.
San Diego Section Finals
Runners will regroup for Saturday’s San Diego Section finals at Balboa Park’s Morley Field. The top three teams qualify for the state meet in the larger enrollment divisions, though this year, because of an enlarged talent pool, the top four teams will qualify in the Division II girls race. Bonita Vista is keeping its fingers crossed. Castle Park will be contending for a state berth in the Division III boys race as will the Otay Ranch girls in Division I. Racing starts at 8:30 a.m. until 1:20 p.m.
CIF results: www.sdtrackmag.com
Metro Conference Cross Country Championships
Friday, Nov. 9, at Rohr Park/Top 15 medalists
Boys varsity Mesa League
First team: 1. Jacob Sherman (Bonita Vista) 16:10, 2. Austin Johnson (Bonita Vista) 16:15, 3. Rodrigo Baza (Otay Ranch) 16:30, 4. Cristian Gutierrez (Bonita Vista) 16:44, 5. Alexis Hernandez (Otay Ranch) 16:45, 6. Oliver Abundez (Eastlake) 16:55, 7. Steven Liu (Otay Ranch) 17:01, 8. Zac Zasueta (Eastlake) 17:04, 9. Javier Reyes (Bonita Vista) 17:05, 10. Andrew Turpin (Bonita Vista) 17:14
Medalists: 11. Dusstin Coyote (Olympian) 17:22, 12. Gilberto Beltran (Otay Ranch) 17:24, 13. Jairo Hernandez (Olympian) 17:24, 14. David Delone (Bonita Vista) 17:27, 15. Salvador Rodriguez (Mater Dei Catholic) 17:30
Team scores: 1. Bonita Vista 26, 2. Otay Ranch 45, 3. Eastlake 72, 4. Olympian 93, 5. Mater Dei Catholic 137, 6. Hilltop 161
Dual standings: Bonita Vista 5-0, Otay Ranch 4-1, Eastlake 3-2, Olympian 2-3, Hilltop 1-4, Mater Dei Catholic 0-5
Overall champion: Bonita Vista
Girls varsity Mesa League
First team: 1. Carina Gillespie (Otay Ranch) 15:23, 2. Darla Osuna (Otay Ranch) 15:33, 3. Clarisa Hernandez (Bonita Vista) 15:38, 4. Kristen Lamprecht (Bonita Vista) 15:45, 5. Catie LeDesma (Otay Ranch) 15:48, 6. Jennifer Yang (Bonita Vista) 15:58, 7. Marleen Aranda (Bonita Vista) 16:01, 8. Jasmine Vasquez (Eastlake) 16:16, 9. Andie LeDesma (Otay Ranch) 16:19, 10. Celiese Zasueta (Eastlake) 16:23
Medalists: 11. Marlene Gadea (Otay Ranch) 16:28, 12. Cassidy Adams (Olympian) 16:39, 13. Elena Jurado (Bonita Vista) 16:39, 14. Bailie LeDesma (Otay Ranch) 16:45, 15. Sydney Rivera (Eastlake) 16:49
Team scores: 1. Otay Ranch 28, 2. Bonita Vista 33, 3. Eastlake 71, 4. Hilltop 124, 5. Olympian 136
Dual standings: Otay Ranch 5-0, Bonita Vista 4-1, Eastlake 3-2, Olympian 2-3, Mater Dei Catholic 1-4, Hilltop 0-5
Overall champion: Otay Ranch
Boys champion: Otay Ranch
Girls champion: Otay Ranch
Boys varsity South Bay League
First team: 1. Daniel Vazquez (Castle Park) 15:55, 2. Miguel Lopez (Castle Park) 16:01, 3. Gerrardo Marquillo (Sweetwater) 16:03, 4. Bryan Alvarado (Sweetwater) 16:14, 5. George Martinez (Sweetwater) 16:29, 6. Jesus Ortiz (Castle Park) 16:30, 7. Fernando Romero (Chula Vista) 16:43, 8. Rodrigo Paredes (Castle Park) 16:48, 9. Alejandro Rosario (Montgomery) 16:51, 10. Raphael Grajeda (Sweetwater) 16:54
Medalists: 11. Jesse Villarruel (Castle Park) 17:08, 12. Alexis Diaz de Leon (Sweetwater) 17:09, 13. Duane Wolfblack (Chula Vista) 17:12, 14. Andres Felix (Montgomery) 17:12, 15. Agustin Barreto (Southwest) 17:20
Team scores: 1. Castle Park 28, 2. Sweetwater 34, 3. Chula Vista 74, 4. Montgomery 109, 5. Mar Vista 143, 6. Southwest 152, 7. San Ysidro 205
Dual standings: Sweetwater 6-0, Castle Park 5-1, Chula Vista 4-2, Montgomery 3-3, Southwest 2-4, Mar Vista 1-5, San Ysidro 0-6
Overall champions: Castle Park, Sweetwater (co-champions)
Girls varsity South Bay League
First team: 1. Yoceline Ramirez (Chula Vista) 15:32, 2. Kristine Jiao (Montgomery) 16:03, 3. Ana Gonzalez (Chula Vista) 16:07, 4. Rosa Marin (Chula Vista) 16:16, 5. Brooke Martinez (Chula Vista) 16:26, 6. Keeshawna Jackson (Castle Park) 16:33, 7. Erika Gonzalez (Sweetwater) 16:35, 8. Josceline Castro (Castle Park) 17:05, 9. Karina Cantera (San Ysidro) 17:10, 10. Jakelyne Jimenez (Chula Vista) 17:15
Medalists: 11. Brandi Sanchez (Montgomery) 17:20, 12. Rosario Huerta (Sweetwater) 17:31, 13. Elisa Garcia (Chula Vista) 17:31, 14. Becky Marin (Chula Vista) 17:46, 15. Elda Carrillo (Sweetwater) 18:10
Team scores: 1. Chula Vista 23, 2. Sweetwater 77, 3. Castle Park 89, 4. Montgomery 100, 5. Mar Vista 122, 6. Southwest 144
Dual standings: Chula Vista 6-0, Sweetwater 5-1, Castle Park 4-2, Montgomery 3-3, Southwest 2-4, Mar Vista 1-5, San Ysidro 0-6
Overall champion: Chula Vista
Boys champion: Castle Park
Girls champion: Chula Vista