Bulldog freshmen hold their own during Showdown at Sundown
By Joe Naiman
Ramona High School’s girls cross country team has two freshmen, and while neither had a better time at the Sept. 10 Showdown at Sundown meet in Vista than Ramona leader Lauren Cortez, both Cassidy Blankenbaker and Francheska Gonzalez finished in scoring positions.
Cortez had a time of 19:26 on the 5,000-meter course, which placed the senior 10th overall among the varsity race’s 68 runners. Anna Mazzola’s time of 20:20 gave the Ramona sophomore 22nd overall. Blankenbaker was Ramona’s third finisher, posting a 29th-place time of 20:42, and Gonzalez placed fourth among Ramona runners and 35th overall at 21:36.
“It’s very nice,” said Coach Kim Toth. “They’re still holding their own and definitely staying up at the front of that varsity pack.”
Ramona senior Caitlin Choy placed 42nd at 22:06:37, sophomore Rachel Brown had a 46th-place time of 22:31, and sophomore Courtney Ford took 53rd place with a time of 23:23. The Bulldogs finished seventh among the nine teams.
“I think they surprised themselves,” Toth said. “They really did well.”
The Bulldogs’ only previous race this season, the Vaquero Stampede, was on a 1.65-mile course. Both the varsity and junior varsity races at the Showdown at Sundown utilized the 5,000-meter (3.1-mile) course.
“Some of them had never raced that before,” Toth said.
The Vista course also has three hills.
“It’s a very difficult course,” Toth said.
Ramona’s junior varsity placed fourth among the six teams. Sophomore Teresa Leon missed more than two weeks, including the Vaquero Stampede, due to an injury and did not return to running until the week of the Showdown at Sundown. Toth had Leon run in the JV race, where she finished 16th among the 82 runners with a time of 23:09.
“Very pleased with the time,” Toth said. “I didn’t know how she was going to do, and she did very well.”
The Showdown at Sundown allows seniors to compete in the junior varsity races, and Kelly Helman placed 18th with a time of 23:32. Junior Morgan Perkins was 24th at 24:42.54 while junior Alaina Lindquist placed 25th with a time of 24:42.97.
“Alaina was my big surprise. She really came together in this race,” Toth said.
During the Vaquero Stampede, Perkins finished 53rd and Lindquist was 68th while taking 52 seconds longer than Perkins on the shorter Lakeside course. Lindquist caught up with Perkins approximately 1 1/2 miles into the Vista race.
“She worked it to get up there with Morgan and stayed with her,” Toth said.
Junior Ronney Hughes had a 28th-place time of 25:35. Senior Samantha Kershaw finished one spot out of the top half, taking 42nd place with a time of 30:06.64.
“It was a change. Some of them had never run at night before,” Toth said. “I think they enjoyed it.”
The Bulldogs will be at Morley Field in San Diego on Saturday for the Mount Carmel/Movin’ Shoes Cross-Country Invite.
- New harriers aid Bull dog girls
- Bulldog boys dominate Vaquero Stampede
- Blankenbaker wins sophomore race at Mt. Carmel Invitational
- Kim Toth takes over as Bulldogs’ girls cross country coach
- Vaquero Stampede gives cross country a place to shine
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