Ramona High School finished second among the 23 Division 2 varsity boys teams at the Mt. SAC cross country meet Oct. 25 at Mt. San Antonio College.
“They were just totally motivated as a team,” said Coach Mario Balcom, who was in charge of the team that day since head coach Steve Emery was at a family wedding. “I can’t be a more proud coach.”
Ramona junior Paul Reynolds finished sixth among the 163 runners in the race with a time of 16:06 on the 3.0-mile course. The top 15 finishers in each race took home medals, and sophomore Chance Varnardo-Richardson also earned a medal with an 11th-place finish after completing the course in 16:24.
Max Hughes’ time of 16:59 secured the 24th-place position for Ramona, Nathan Morgan took 33rd at 17:10, and Tanner Perfect’s time of 17:15 was worth 39th place.
Balcom was pleased with the 1:09 difference between his first and fifth runners.
“It was awesome to watch the race,” he said.
Cypress High School won the division with a team score of 63 points, based on the positions of the top five finishers. Ramona was second with 103 points while Monterey settled for third with 107 points.
“All my guys got at least two or three guys coming down that last hill,” Balcom said. “They could have easily ended up third.”
While the top five finishers provided the team score, the participating schools had up to seven runners apiece. Matt Mazzola finished 75th at 18:06 Tanner Jorgenson’s first Mt. SAC race saw him finish 82nd with a time of 18:13.
All seven Ramona runners had their fastest three-mile times ever.
“That was awesome,” Balcom said.
Those who were healthy and did not compete at Mt. SAC ran at the Jaguar Invitational Oct. 24 at Kit Carson Park. Emery coached the Bulldogs that day.
“This invitational will give our younger runners some valuable lessons,” Emery said.
Alec Richardson was the top Ramona finisher in the Jaguar Invitational boys varsity race, taking 19:18 to finish the 5,000-meter (3.1-mile) course and placing 75th, while Jose Pilar completed the course in 19:29 despite being stung by a bee prior to the race. Ian Pedlow’s time of 20:33 led the Ramona runners in the boys junior varsity race.