Illnesses during the week almost certainly made a difference Oct. 30 when Valley Center High School’s cross country team swept their Ramona High School counterparts in a dual meet at Kit Carson Park.
Ramona’s varsity boys were handed a 24-30 loss, their first defeat of the year. Ramona’s junior varsity boys also lost their first meet of the year, and by a 16-45 score. Valley Center’s girls took a 26-30 victory over the Bulldogs.
“We’re still not up to full health right now,” said Coach Steve Albanese. “I would say that we had an off day.”
Ramona sophomore Dylan Blankenbaker won the varsity boys race, completing the 5,000-meter (3.1-mile) course in 16:46.
“He ran a good race,” Albanese said. “He just paced himself the whole race.”
Blankenbaker moved into second place during the second mile and took the lead in the final mile.
“He just continues to run really smart races,” Albanese said.
Valley Center took the next three positions. Chance Varnardo-Richardson, who had been sick during the week, ran the course in 17:18 to place fifth overall and second among Ramona runners. Alec Richardson’s time of 17:37 gave him seventh place, Tanner Perfect finished eighth at 17:47, and illness relegated Paul Reynolds to a tenth-place time of 17:57.
The Jaguars had the top two positions in the varsity girls race. Lauren Cortez had a time of 17:22 to finish third overall and first among Ramona girls. Lindsey Spieker was fourth at 17:31, and Chelsey Cortez posted a time of 17:39 to take fifth place.
Chelsey Cortez was also ill during the week.
“On any normal day she would win that race,” Albanese said.
The older Cortez sister’s illness augmented another condition during the race.
“She had a really bad allergic reaction in the park,” Albanese said. “Just really affected her race.”
Ashley Duck finished seventh with a time of 18:33. Anna Phillips was Ramona’s fifth finisher, placing eleventh overall at 19:57. Ramona’s Tessa Balcom started the race but dropped out due to a foot injury.
“They’re very strong and they’re a deep team,” Albanese said of Valley Center. “It didn’t surprise me that their junior varsity team’s really good as well.”
Ramona’s Brianna Wallace won the girls junior varsity race despite missing a turn and having to retrace that part of the course. Wallace had a time of 20:31. Danny McKay was Ramona’s top finisher in the boys junior varsity race, placing fifth with a time of 18:44.
Ramona’s varsity boys saw their Valley League record drop to 3-1, while the Bulldog girls now have a 2-2 record. The junior varsity meet was a tri-meet which also included Mission Vista, a school whose student body currently consists entirely of ninth-graders, so Ramona’s win over Mission Vista gave the JV boys a 5-1 season record.
The Oct. 30 meets also saw Westview’s varsity boys defeat previously unbeaten Mount Carmel. Because Ramona defeated Westview in an Oct. 2 meet, the Bulldogs can share the league championship if they beat Mount Carmel as well as Oceanside tomorrow at Dos Picos Park. The tri-meet will be Ramona’s final home meet of the 2009 season.