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The race is on as league dual meet season steps off Phillip Brents | Thu, Oct 07 2010 11:17 PM

Metro Conference cross country teams put their best foot forward last Friday as the league dual meet season got under way. There were no real surprises as Otay Ranch and Eastlake (in the Mesa League) and Castle Park and Sweetwater (in the South Bay League) swept both the boys and girls races in their respective meets.

The Otay Ranch-Bonita Vista boys dual encounter expected to produce fireworks on paper with the host Mustangs entering the high profile match-up ranked 10th in the section and the Barons ranked 12th. But the drama was neutralized, at least from the visitors’ standpoint, when two of Bonita Vista’s top runners were absent because of family vacation commitments over intercession.

Baron senior Shin Agbede, the conference’s top returning male harrier, took the lead from Otay Ranch’s Steven Martinez halfway through the 5K race on a moderately muddy course to win in 16:25. Martinez finished second in 16:36 ahead of Baron senior Jason Hardin, who placed third in 16:41. But the next two runners were both Mustangs as Otay Ranch glutted the finish line with seven of the next eight finishers.

Overall, the Mustangs posted nine of the race’s top 12 finishers to win 26-33.

Josh Roach (16:47) and Carlos Rangel (16:52) finished fourth and fifth for Otay Ranch. Jose Suarez (16:56) was sixth for the Barons, followed in order by five Mustangs: Zach Velasquez (seventh, 17:11), Gus Tunks (eighth, 17:20), Salvador Salinas (ninth, 17:43), Richard Martinez (10th, 18:17) and Jason Hays (11th, 18:22).

The winners’ five-man spread was 44 seconds.

“It was a great meet,” summed up Otay Ranch head coach Ian Cumming. “Both teams ran well. We had a very good day. The kids performed when we really needed them to do just that. We had the better day. Obviously, both these teams have ideas of winning a league championship. Bonita had its bright spots, too.”

Baron coach Ed Winczowski was missing two of his top three racers because of intercession vacation time. Had both runners been present last Friday, the outcome of the race would likely have been much closer. How much closer remains to be determined — and it will not be determined until the league finals in November when the teams rematch on the course.

“We didn’t run as hard as we could have,” said Agbede, whose BV squad scored a six-point win over the Mustangs at the South Bay Invitational on Sept. 24. “Every one of us (who was here) gave it our best. We will have to do better next time.”

In the girls meet, the 13th-ranked Mustangs out-pointed Bonita Vista 19-37, with sophomore Catie LeDesma setting a new course record of 15:32 for 2.5 miles.

Otay Ranch recorded the top two finishers, four of the top five, six of the top 10 and 10 of the top 15 placers.

Classmate Carina Gillespie was second in 15:53 to finish well in advance of BV sophomore Kristen Lamprecht (third, 16:15). The Mustangs had the fourth and fifth place-finishers: sophomore Andie LeDesma (16:26) and junior Blanca DeLaRocha (16:32). Bonita Vista senior Cristina Hernandez finished sixth in 16:40 but was followed by Otay Ranch sophomore Bailie LeDesma in seventh in 16:46.

Three of the top five scorers for the Mustangs were sisters: triplets Catie, Andie and Bailie LeDesma.

Otay Ranch placed its fifth runner ahead of the Barons’ third runner (senior senior Sofia Garcia, eighth in 16:48).

“Catie and Carina ran well,” Cumming said. “Carina had surgery on her wisdom teeth the week before but came back strong.”

Titanic effort
Eastlake swept Mater Dei Catholic by identical 15-50 scores on its home course at Chula Vista Community Park (adjacent to the EHS campus). Trent Warren won the three-mile boys race in 15:35 while Ana Gonzalez was the girls medalist with a time of 13:47 for 2.25 miles.

Gonzalez headed the Titan brigade that captured the Division I junior/senior team title at the season opening Vaquero Stampede on Sept. 4 in Lakeside. Eastlake also won the Division I freshman/sophomore team title.

The Titans placed four of the top 10 finishers in the girls junior/senior race. Following Gonzalez’s lead were teammates Savannah Scooler, Olivia Davis and Carly Hintz. EHS had three of the top 10 runners in the frosh/soph race.

The Titans out-pointed runner-up University City by 30 points in the junior/senior race and finished with a 20-point edge on runner-up Patrick Henry in the frosh/soph race.
“It’s  a very deep team with around 12 to 15 girls all within 15 to 20 seconds of each other,” EHS coach Joe Stubbs said.

The Titans’ five-person spread in the girls junior/senior race was 29 seconds and 21 seconds in the girls frosh/soph race.

Eastlake (fifth in the boys frosh/soph race) and Chula Vista (fourth in the boys junior/senior race) exchanged the lead among Metro teams in the Division I field at the Vaquero Stampede.

The Titans, led by Warren’s individual 11th place-finish, posted a fifth-place finish at the South Bay Invitational — well arrears of second-place Bonita Vista and third-place Otay Ranch.

Chula Vista, Hilltop, Mater Dei and Bonita Vista will run a quad meet Oct. 29 at Rohr Park.

South Bay League
Castle Park swept its opener against Olympian. The Trojan girls finished 1-3-5-6-7 to win 22-39 while the CP boys finished with a perfect 15-50 score.

Keeshawna Jackson was the overall girls winner with a time of 16:32 for the new 2.45-mile course while Olympian’s K Smith finished second in 16:34.

The Trojans’ top seven finishers also included Arely Ramos, Joceline Castro, Aurea Castro, Rose Ynohuye, Belinda Ibarra and Rosita Macias. Ibarra and Macias finished eighth and ninth in the race, giving the winners seven of the top nine finishers.
CP’s Miguel Lopez was the top boys finisher on Olympian’s new 3.1-mile home course, timing 17:42.

Sweetwater swept its dual meet against Montgomery,  with the Red Devils varsity boys team placing the top seven finishers and the SuHi girls team placing 12 of the top 14 finishers.

Tito Hernandez won the 3.1-mile boys varsity race in 18:23. Maira Crespo finished second in 17:29 (2.5 miles) as the top Devils’ girl.

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