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Will it be Red Devils or Trojans ... or Barons or Mustangs at Metro cross country finals? Phillip Brents | Fri, Nov 09 2012 12:24 PM

The Sweetwater Red Devils and Castle Park Trojans and the Bonita Vista Barons and Otay Ranch Mustangs get to do it all over again Friday at this year’s Metro Conference championship meet at Rohr Park.

This time, however, it’s the last stop on the road to league titles.

Sweetwater (South Bay League) and Bonita Vista (Mesa League) both find themselves within grasp of securing outright possession of their respective league banners by finishing on top of the boys varsity field at Friday’s finals.

But Castle Park (South Bay League) and Otay Ranch (Mesa League) have an equal chance to earn a share of a league banner if they finish on top.

It’s too close to call at this point, especially in the South Bay League after the Red Devils edged the Trojans by one point, 27-28, in their long anticipated dual meet encounter last Friday at Rohr Park.

Castle Park held a numerical edge midway through the 5K race but Sweetwater turned in the better second mile. The teams were tied 18-18 heading into the deciding fifth runner.

The Devils took the win when Raphael Grajeda crossed the finish line in 17:18; the Trojans’ fifth man, Gabriel Magana, finished in 17:53 on an unseasonably warm day.

“We’re hoping to repeat again this year,” SuHi coach Adrian Garcia said. “We need to run well to get it. I think they are going to run faster next time. We need to do that as well. It’s not over yet.”

SuHi’s George Martinez, who finished the dual meet portion of the season undefeated in league, won handily in 15:58. However, two CP runners were on his tail: Miguel Lopez (second, 16:09) and Daniel Vazquez (16:16).

The Devils regained a slight numerical advantage when they placed the next two runners — Gerrardo Marquillo (fourth, 16:24) and Bryan Alvarado (fifth, 16:29).

But the Trojans put four runners ahead of Sweetwater’s fourth scorer as Jesus Ortiz (sixth, 16:44) and Rodrigo Paredes (seventh, 17:02) sped to the finish line.
But the Devils put five runners ahead of CP’s five scorers — and that proved to be the difference.

Alexis Diaz de Leon finished ninth in the race in 17:08 to knot the teams on the scoreboard. Grajeda broke the tie 13 seconds later.
Martinez lauded the second-half effort by his teammates. “We’re a team that gets stronger each mile,” he said.

Bonita Vista pulled off what some might consider a 25-30 upset win over Otay Ranch in their dual match-up on Oct. 12. The Barons found themselves in the same must-win scenario last year and pulled off a dramatic tie-breaker win to raise the banner.
Will lightning strike twice? The boys varsity race starts at 2 p.m. on Friday.

Chula Vista (South Bay League) and Otay Ranch (Mesa League) are the favored teams in the girls varsity race, set for a 2:30 p.m. start.

The boys junior varsity race starts at 3 p.m., followed by the girls JV race at 3:30 p.m.

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