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South County runners hold their own in talent-rich Mustang Invitational Phillip Brents | Mon, Sep 23 2013 03:47 PM

Otay Ranch High School cross country coach Ian Cumming is someone who is always appreciative of the many volunteers who lend their time to help run an event — whether it be an intimate dual meet or a large invitational.

With 1,379 finishers at last Friday’s 18th annual Mustang/East Hills Realty Invitational at Rohr Park, the volunteers were obviously out in force.

And so was Cumming’s praise.

The event was one of the its largest ever, specifically in regard to attendance by larger schools, and Cumming wished to thank all of the volunteers who, in his words, “helped make it a success.”

He also wished to thank all of the coaches and teams that participated to help raise the standard for excellence for the event itself.

“It was definitely one of the most competitive invitationals in the history of the meet,” Cumming noted.

The addition of Mt. Carmel and San Pasqual in the Blue Division definitely gave local harriers some stiff competition.

In the boys varsity Blue Division, Sweetwater was the top finishing Metro Conference team with a fifth-place nod to Westview (first), Mt. Carmel (second), Valhalla (third) and San Pasqual (fourth). The Red Devils finished two points ahead of sixth-place Otay Ranch, the second-best Metro team in the division.

In the girls varsity Blue Division, Otay Ranch was sixth, Bonita Vista was seventh and Eastlake was eighth — all separated by 26 points.

Starting line

The nine races at last Friday’s invitational were divided by both gender and school size.

Team champions included St. Augustine (boys JV Silver), San Pasqual (boys JV Blue), Valley Center (girls varsity Silver), Westview (girls and boys varsity Blue) and San Diego (boys varsity Silver).

Individual race winners included St. Augustine sophomore Ryan Dent (boys JV Silver), San Pasqual freshman Alex Egan (boys JV Blue), La Jolla junior Lauren Roberts (girls varsity Silver), San Pasqual junior Angela Ortlieb (girls varsity Blue), Valley Center senior Bannon Greer (boys varsity Silver), Mt. Carmel senior Derek Morton (boys varsity Blue), La Jolla freshman Star Austin (girls JV Silver), Mt. Carmel freshman Laura Moran (girls JV Blue) and Pt. Loma freshman Rein Kingsbury (boys JV overflow).

Medals were awarded to the top 35 individuals in all varsity races and to the top 30 individuals in the JV races; the top three teams in both the varsity and JV divisions also received plaques.

The girls JV Blue Division race was the largest with 241 finishers, followed by the boys JV Silver Division race with 205 finishers.

Varsity boys recap
Eastlake senior Oliver Abundez was the top Metro finisher in the Blue Division after covering the 3.1-mile course in 17:04 to place 14th in the 98-deep field.

Otay Ranch senior Alexis Hernandez was 18th in 17:12, followed by Sweetwater seniors Bryan Alvarado (19th, 17:15) and Alex Diaz de Leon (21st, 17:20), Otay Ranch junior Martin Martinez (23rd, 17:23), Sweetwater senior Carlos Bernal (28th, 17:38), Otay Ranch senior Steven Liu (29th, 17:40), Sweetwater sophomore C. Aviles-Sullivan (32nd, 17:43) and Eastlake sophomore Youngki Lee (33rd, 17:44).

The Red Devils, whom coach Adrian Garcia picks as a contender for a state meet-qualifying berth, placed four of their five scorers in the top third of the field, notching a five-man spread of 52 seconds.

Otay Ranch’s five-man spread was even better at 48 seconds, though SuHi’s top three finishers scored better to mark the difference between the longtime South County juggernauts.

Eastlake finished 10th in the division while Bonita Vista, which saw its top runner fail to finish, placed 13th. Castle Park finished 14th.

Olympian was sixth in the Silver Division, followed by Montgomery (seventh), Southwest (ninth), Hilltop (10th) and Mar Vista (12th). Olympian held a five-point edge on the Aztecs.

Montgomery senior Javier Osuna was the top Metro finisher in the Silver Division after clocking 17:31 to place seventh; Olympian sophomore Nathan Sanchez was next in 18:10 to place 22nd in the 113-deep field.

Other medalists in the race included Montgomery senior Edgar Garcia (23rd, 18:14), Olympian sophomore Oscar Montero-Vega (28th, 18:22), Southwest junior Sergio Castro (30th, 18:24), Mar Vista senior Antonio Cota (31st, 18:25) and Southwest senior Dario Baeza (32nd, 18:27).

Varsity girls recap
Sweetwater senior Erika Gonzalez was the top Metro female runner to finish the Blue Division race with a time of 13:57 on the 2.3-mile course. She finished three seconds ahead of Otay Ranch junior Darla Osuna, a returning state meet qualifier.

SuHi coach Raul Galindo sees Gonzalez as a contender to qualify for the state meet.

Bonita Vista sophomore Izabel Garcia-Arce placed 12th in 14:09 while Eastlake sophomore Celiese Zasueta was 13th in 14:11.

Other medalists included Otay Ranch freshman Eyra Alfaro (24th, 14:45), Bonita Vista sophomores Yazelyn Vargas (26th, 14:46) and Marleen Aranda (27th, 14:49), Eastlake sophomore Mia Costello (31st, 14:59) and Castle Park freshman Liliana Hakim (35th, 15:02).

Otay Ranch finished 15 points ahead of Bonita Vista; the Barons, in turn, finished 11 points ahead of the Titans.

Could there be a scramble of victories between the teams during the upcoming Mesa League dual meet season?

It will be interesting to find out.

Meanwhile, Sweetwater finished 12th — 72 points ahead of 13th place Castle Park — for bragging rights to the top South Bay League team in the division.

Olympian was sixth in the Silver Division, followed by Southwest (ninth), Hilltop (12th) and Montgomery (13th).

Olympian sophomore Djoana Nicolo was the top Metro female finisher in the Silver Division race with a time of 15:15 to place 18th overall; Junior teammate Angelica Ilog followed in 20th position in 15:20.

Other medal-winners in the division included Hilltop junior Lorena Mendoza (21st, 15:23), Montgomery sophomore Karen Murillo (23rd, 15:35) and Southwest sophomore Erica Basa (26th, 15:44).

JV horizons
Sweetwater senior Brian Vivas placed second overall in the 205-deep Silver Division boys junior varsity race with a time of 12:50 for 2.3 miles. Overall, the Red Devils placed third behind St. Augustine and Valley Center.

Sweetwater finished just two points behind second place VC.

Other top 20 finishers included Sweetwater junior Robert Drake (fifth, 12:54), Sweetwater sophomore Jorge Lopez (14th, 13:08) and Mar Vista junior Daniel Ruiz (19th, 13:18).

In the JV boys Blue Division, Otay Ranch junior Justin Gullaba finished fourth among 196 finishers with a time of 12:45, followed by sophomore teammates Rafael Patricio (15th, 13:12) and Ryan Velasquez (18th, 13:17).

In the Silver JV girls race, Sweetwater freshman Ashley Barajas turned heads with a meteoric second-place finish in 11:34, followed by Olympian freshman Betsabe Ornelas (third, 11:36) and Hilltop freshman Jordyn Ramos (fourth, 11:41). The trio of top Metro finishers trailed race winner Star Austin, a freshman from La Jolla, who timed 11:17.

Otay Ranch senior Jasmine Lahbabi (sixth, 11:28) and Mustang freshman teammate Joanna Ortiz (ninth, 11:31) paced Metro runners in the girls JV Blue race while Eastlake senior John Reed was third overall in 13:42 in the JV boys overflow race that finished just before sundown.

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