South County’s best to race in Ian Cumming/Tim Latham Invitational

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Ruben Baza challenges for position near the front of the pack at last weekend's Canyon Crest Academy Invitational. Courtesy photo

South County runners, as well as those from outside the area, will get a chance to test themselves against top flight competition when the second annual Ian Cumming/Tim Latham Invitational steps off Friday, Sept. 10, at Rohr Park in Chula Vista.

The meet is a combination of what once were the Mustang Invitational and South Bay Invitational, both popular events to face off the still developing cross country season.

Julian Valdez (Otay Ranch) and Jaime Romer (Sweetwater) now serve as meet co-directors.

“We are very excited to honor two legends of the South Bay who impacted literally tens of thousands of student-athletes and saw great success in the process,” the co-directors said. “Both coach Cumming and Latham have been supportive of continued South Bay success in both cross country and track and field in retirement. This meet is a testament to their work and most importantly to the legacy they have built.”

A total of 10 races will pay tribute to the emeritus coaches. Divisions include varsity, junior varsity and frosh-soph. The event is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. with the last race starting at 6:05 p.m.

The Rohr Park course is predominantly grass and dirt with a very limited amount of concrete and asphalt. It is also predominantly flat with only one short hill. It is definitely cross country, but it is nice for early season since there are not any grueling hill stretches. Start and finish are in the same places for all races.

Otay Ranch’s Jake Shorey (880) vies for the lead around the bend at last weekend’s Canyon Crest Academy Invitational. Courtesy photo

Co-host Otay Ranch is quickly getting into gear to start the season after its boys varsity team recorded a meteoric runner-up finish at the Bronco Round-up on Aug. 28 and followed that up with a second-place finish at Saturday’s Canyon Crest Academy Ravens Fleet Feet San Diego Invitational.

The Mustangs finished second out of 29 teams in the combined standings (all races).

“Our seven-man gap closed again, even without top Bronco finisher Aydan Wohlford, who was out of town,” Otay Ranch coach Julian Valdez said. “They are running very well.”

The Mustangs placed six runners among the top 50 individuals in the combined standings.

Ruben Baza Carrillo ranked ninth overall with a time of 15:36.26 (eighth in the senior boys race), Jake Shorey ranked 12th overall with a time of 15:39.00 (second in the boys junior race), Diego Vizcarra ranked 13th overall with a time of 15:40.28 (11th in the boys senior race), Jacob Juden ranked 16th overall in 15:47.40 (third in the boys junior race), senior Daniel Kim ranked 35th overall with a time of 16:13.19 (30th in the boys senior race) and Zach Shorey ranked 46th overall with a time of 16:28.98 (third in the boys sophomore race).

Otay Ranch won the 100-deep boys junior race and finished third as a team in the 159-deep boys senior race.

The Mustangs remain third overall in the county rankings.

“These early races have been a good test for us, and hopefully will be a good roadmap for the end of the season,” Valdez said. “This senior class is helping the younger groups continue to grow and rebuild the program. As of last week, we were at 120 student-athletes at practice.”

Freshman Aviva Devore is Otay Ranch’s top female newcomer. Courtesy photo

Otay Ranch’s girls team also continues to show well with seventh place out of 23 teams at the Canyon Crest Academy event.

“I have been so happy to see their growth as a team,” Valdez said.

Newcomer Aviva Devore finished third in the three-mile freshman race (19:42.38) to join Leila Fuerte (23rd overall), Lauren Medina (44th overall), and Elicia Arredondo (48th overall) as top 50 finishers in the meet.

Leila Fuerte leads Otay Ranch’s senior class. Courtesy photo

Fuerte finished 23rd in the girls three-mile senior race (18:53.08), followed by Medina (41st, 19:43.59) and Arredondo (43rd, 19:48.73).

“These girls continue to grow as a team and that is all we can ask for as a coaching staff,” Valdez noted. “Having seen Bonita Vista, Olympian and Hilltop compete first-hand, they will be tough programs to contend with. We expect Eastlake to be very talented on both sides, as they always are. Those coaches do a great job, we are excited to compete. It is great to see our league still running tough after the pandemic.”

Otay Ranch’s Salma Franke finished fourth in the girls junior race in 20:08.28 while Olympian junior Victor Ames (9:34.45) and Olympian senior Galvan Maya (9:37.80) finished third and fifth, respectively, in the 1.5-mile girls junior/senior race.

Off and running
Bonita Vista posted a runner-up finish in the Division II girls varsity division at the Bronco Round-up. Top scorers in the two-mile 67-deep race included seniors Lauren Salt (fifth, 12:45.8) and Diandra Jara (12th, 13:35.9), junior Rei Fulinara (13th, 13:44.6), senior Bellah Marquez-Silva (21st, 13:55.3) and freshman Olympia Jara (49th, 15:36.6).

Bonita Vista finished sixth overall in the Division II boys varsity race. Top scorers in the 77-deep field included seniors Enrique Aranda (ninth, 11:10.1), Maxwell Anderson (30th, 11:49.4) and Alexis Garcia-Guapo (11:56.7) and freshmen Hayden McMackin (37th, 12:09.1) and Dylan Funk (38th, 12:10.7).

The Barons notched a second-place finish in the Division II boys junior varstiy division. Freshman Joshua Hoffman finished 12th in the 72-deep field in 12:40.8, followed on the scoresheet by junior Jesus Rios (13th, 12:47.4), freshman Sebastian Aranda (12:54.7), senior Gabriel Valerio (12:59.7) and sophomore Anthony Wise (13:23.7).

Bonita Vista placed sixth in the Division II boys frosh/novice race. Freshman Luke Janssen led the Barons on the 2.0-mile course in 14:00.0 to finish 25th in the 90-deep race. Freshman Adan Hurtado placed 32nd

South County’s best to race in Ian Cumming/Tim Latham Invitational