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Cross country dual meet season steps off with intrigue, talented runners Phillip Brents | Fri, Oct 04 2013 12:46 PM

If the results of last Friday’s South Bay Invitational are any indicator of things to come, then it appears the battle lines have been drawn for this year’s South Bay League and Mesa League championships.

In an amazing show of talent, Chula Vista senior Yoceline Ramirez and Sweetwater senior Erika Gonzalez posted the second- and third-fastest times in the combined 418-deep girls field.

Ramirez finished the 155-deep girls varsity race in 15:41 while Gonzalez crossed the finish line three seconds later. Both runners trailed race winner Angela Ortlieb, a junior from San Pasqual, who timed 15:18 on the 2.5-mile course.

Sweetwater (15th, 362 points) and Chula Vista (16th, 418 points) finished well back in the team standings but both teams look to contend as the front-runners for this year’s South Bay League championship.

Other SBL teams competing in last Friday’s invitational included Montgomery (19th, 505 points), Southwest (21st, 532 points) and San Ysidro (23rd, 660 points). Mar Vista also competed in the girls varsity race but did not score.

The top 35 finishers received individual medals. Joining Ramirez and Gonzalez with shiny hardware were Otay Ranch junior Darla Osuna (seventh, 16:02), Bonita Vista sophomore Izabela Garcia-Arce (13th, 16:27). Chula Vista senior Brooke Martinez (16th, 16:42), Otay Ranch freshman Eyra Alfaro (17th, 16:48), Bonita Vista sophomore Marleen Aranda (18th, 16:53), Bonita Vista sophomore Yazelyn Vargas (21st, 16:57), Eastlake senior Jasmine Vasquez (24th, 16:59) and Olympian sophomore Djoana Nicolo (32nd, 17:14).

Osuna is a returning state meet qualifier.

Otay Ranch made a statement — not only for its championship fortunes in the Mesa League but for the entire Metro Conference as well — with its second place team finish. The Mustangs totaled 151 points — well behind girls varsity team champion San Pasqual but edging Point Loma (third, 156 points), Bonita Vista (fourth, 157 points), Valley Center (fifth, 159 points) and Grossmont (sixth, 161 points) in a tight battle for the runner-up position.

Among other Mesa League teams scoring in the race, Eastlake (sans top runner Celiese Zasueta) finished 11th with 277 points, followed by Olympian (14th, 324 points), and Mater Dei Catholic (20th, 511 points).


As fate has it, both the Red Devils and Spartans will learn their championship fortunes when they collide in Friday’s opening dual meet of the season at Rohr Park.

The girls varsity race is scheduled for 3:30 p.m., following the boys varsity race that starts at 3 p.m.

Chula Vista is the defending South Bay League girls varsity champion while Sweetwater shared last year’s boys varsity league title with Castle Park.

The Devils are looking to sweep championship titles this season, however.

“I feel really good about this season,” said Gonzalez, who has established herself as a contender to qualify for this year’s state meet. “I feel good as a team that we can win back the league championship from Chula Vista. We’ve been working stronger, and harder. I think we’ll win this year because we’ve been working together as a big team with a lot of team spirit.”

Ramirez, last year’s SBL girls varsity individual champion, said it’s been “really difficult” in the early going this year as the Spartans are fielding a small team.

“We haven’t had many invitationals to go to but it’s a good start to the season and I’m looking forward to it,” she said.
Be assured that both teams will be out to put their best feet forward on Friday.

In the 5K boys varsity race at last Friday’s invitational, Sweetwater seniors Gerardo Marquillo (fifth, 16:33) and Bryan Alvarado (sixth, 16:39) topped all Metro Conference runners in the 172-deep field.

Mater Dei Catholic sophomore Salvardor Rodriguez continued his amazing start to the season by posting a meteoric 11th place finish in 16:47 while SuHi senior Alexis Diaz de Leon placed 17th in 16:58.

Individual medalists also included Otay Ranch senior Alexis Hernandez (20th, 17:02), Otay Ranch junior Martin Martinez (21st, 17:03), Sweetwater junior Raphael Grajeda (23rd, 17:10), Otay Ranch senior Steven Liu (29th, 17:18) and Olympian junior Sydney Leverett (31st, 17:25).

Valley Center won the team title with 82 points, followed by San Pasqual (second, 85 points), San Diego (third, 90 points), Sweetwater (fourth, 105 points), Point Loma (fifth, 150 points), El Capitan (sixth, 153 points), Otay Ranch (seventh, 159 points), West Hills (eighth, 216 points), Bonita Vista (ninth, 273 points) and Montgomery (10th, 311 points).

A total of 25 boys varsity teams scored.

Among other Mesa League teams, Eastlake (sans top runner Oliver Abundez) finished 13th with 408 points, Mater Dei Catholic was 14th with 409 points and Olympian was 18th with 459 points.

Other South Bay League teams scoring in the race included Southwest (17th, 446 points), Mar Vista (19th, 508 points), Chula Vista (20th, 525 points) and San Ysidro (22nd, 614 points).

Locals only
Otay Ranch senior Albert Hernandez was the top individual in the 5K boys junior varsity race, timing 17:44. Teammate Alex Hernandez was fourth overall in 18:08 while Sweetwater junior Jesus Osuna was ninth in 18:27 in the 178-deep race.

Otay Ranch finished third overall in the team standings while Sweetwater was fourth.

Sweetwater sophomore Carlos Aviles-Sullivan was the top finisher in the 5K boys frosh/soph race with a strong time of 17:10. Olympian sophomores Oscar Montero-Vega (17:51) and Nathan Sanchez (18:03) finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in the 192-deep race.

Olympian finished second in the team standings.

Otay Ranch senior Monique Anguiano was second overall in the 263-deep girls JV race with a time of 17:43 — just two seconds behind race winner Kerry Desmond, a freshman from Coronado.

Other top 10 girls JV finishers in the 2.5-mile race included Otay Ranch junior Kalani Krause (fourth, 17:59), MDC freshman Brighid Healy (fifth, 18:15) and Otay Ranch freshman Joanna Ortiz (ninth, 18:26).

Otay Ranch (71 points) finished third in the division standings behind Point Loma (first, 63 points) and San Pasqual (second, 66 points) in a close battle for the team title.

Finish line
•Sweetwater finished on top of the combined boys field (inclusive of all three races) with 75 points, nudging North County power San Pasqual (second) by nine points. Otay Ranch was sixth overall, followed by Bonita Vista (10th), Olympian (11th), Montgomery (12th), Mater Dei Catholic (14th), Eastlake (16th), Southwest (18th), Mar Vista (19th), Chula Vista (21st) and San Ysidro (24th).Chula Vista High Tech finished 26th overall in the combined boys field.

•Otay Ranch finished with the second-best team score in the combined girls field — trailing only San Pasqual. Bonita Vista was fifth — a scant 12 points behind the Mustangs — while Eastlake was 11th, Olympian 13th, Sweetwater 16th, Mater Dei Catholic 17th, Chula Vista 18th, Montgomery 21st, Southwest 22nd, Mar Vista 24th and San Ysidro 26th.

•In other Metro dual meets on Friday, Eastlake will host Bonita Vista at Eastlake Community Park while Otay Ranch and Hilltop with match up at Rohr Park, Olympian and MDC will pair up at the Imperial Beach pier, Montgomery, Southwest and Mar Vista will hold a tri-dual at Luckie Waller Park and San Ysidro will test host Castle Park.

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