It’s finally September. You can feel the racing fever, the cheering crowd … and hear the starter’s gun firing.
The high school cross country season officially began last Saturday, and South County runners made a statement at the Vaquero Stampede at Lindo Lake.
•Castle Park finished second (to Ramona) in the boys Division II junior'senior race. Castle Park senior Daniel Vazquez finished sixth. His 10:49 time for 2.15 miles was the best time of the day posted by a Metro Conference runner.
•Mater Dei Catholic was first in the girls Division III freshmen/sophomore race and was third in the boys Division III junior/senior race.
•Hilltop was third in the girls Division II freshmen/sophomore race.
•Eastlake was fourth in both the boys Division I freshmen/sophomore and junior/senior races as well as the girls Division I frosh/soph and junior/senior races.
•In the girls Division I junior/senior race, Eastlake junior Jasmine Vasquez crossed the finish line ninth. Her 10:16 time (1.65 miles) set the pace for all Metro runners on the day.
Bonita Vista and Eastlake both participated in the division. Eastlake was fourth in the junior/senior race with 98 points, followed by Bonita Vista in fifth place with 123 points.
Eastlake senior Zac Zasueta posted the top time by a Metro runner in the division, placing seventh in 10:57.
Juniors Oliver Abundez and Jorge Gil were Eastlake’s second and third finishers. Gil finished 10th in 11:01 while Abundez followed in 12th place and a time of 11:08.
Both breaking 12:00 for Eastlake were senior Casey Stanko (35th, 11:56) and junior Alan Beas (36th, 11:57).
Bonita Vista junior Andrew Turpin placed 13th in the junior/senior race with a time of 11:09 while classmate Christian Gutierrez finished 14th in 11:10.
Also for the Barons, senior Javier Reyes placed 25th in 11:40 while senior Christian Kelley finished 32nd in 11:49.
In the girls junior/senior race, junior Ridley Gatlin(19th, 10:47) and senior Kayla Lawson (24th, 10:59) both broke 11:00. Eastlake finished behind Westview, University City and San Pasqual in the junior/senior race.
In the girls frosh/soph race, EHS freshmen Celiese Zasueta (eighth, 10:17) and Mia Costello (10th, 10:27) both cracked the top 10.
The BVHS girls team also competed in the frosh/soph race. Freshman Justine Holden placed ninth in 10:25.
Sophomore Andre Lobato was Eastlake’s top finisher in the boys frosh/soph race, finishing seventh in 8:50 (1.65 miles).
Castle Park, Hilltop, Mar Vista and Southwest all competed in the division. Castle Park finished with 80 points; Ramona was first with 54 points.
The Trojans placed five runners in the top third of the field of 119 runners. Following Vazquez, the Trojans’ next best finisher was senior Miguel Lopez (ninth, 11:03). Senior Jesus Ortiz was 12th in 11:09, followed by junior Jesse Villarruel (23rd, 11:33) and senior Jonathan Patron (30th, 11:59).
Also for CP, senior Gabriel Magana was 40th in 12:12.
Southwest senior Agustin Barreto was 26th in 11:45 while Mar Vista junior Antonio Cota was 38th in 12:08.
Andre Villasenor was Hilltop’s top finisher (44th, 12:20).
Hilltop senior Natalie Alamo placed 14th with a 10:42 time among junior/senior girls. Castle Park senior Keeshawna Jackson was 22nd in the same race, running 11:03.
Mar Vista’s top finisher in the girls junior/senior race was senior Monica Goodwin (16th, 10:48).
Hilltop sophomores Mary Reilly (11:19) and Emily Reilly (11:36) crossed the line ninth and 15th, respectively, in the girls frosh/soph race while Castle Park sophomore Brianna Diaz (11:24) was 13th.
Junior Justin Ryan came in eighth in 12:14 as Mater Dei Catholic’s top male finisher in the junior/senior race.
Sophomore Miranda Campos (ninth, 12:09) was Mater Dei’s top runner in the girls frosh/soph division. The Crusaders edged Mission Vista for the team title.