Ramona High School sophomore Dylan Blankenbaker won his second consecutive cross country race Sept. 19, taking the boys sophomore race at the Mount Carmel Invitational held at San Diego’s Morley Field.
All of the boys races were on a 2.95-mile course, and Blankenbaker had a time of 16:29.
“He just follows the race plan and he put in a lot of work over the Summer,” said Coach Steve Albanese.
Blankenbaker, who began the 2009 season with a win in the freshman-sophomore boys race Sept. 5 at the Vaquero Stampede, ran the first mile at the Mount Carmel Invitational in 5:36 and took 5:32 to run the second mile which includes an uphill incline.
“He actually ran faster the second half of the race,” Albanese said.
About half a dozen runners were ahead of Blankenbaker after the first mile.
“I told him just to keep the leaders in contact but go out conservative,” Albanese said.
Blankenbaker took over the lead in the final mile.
“He caught them (the leaders) at two miles and in the third mile he just kind of blew by them,” Albanese said.
Blankenbaker had a lead of approximately 50 meters over the second-place finisher.
“I expect his times to continue to get faster as the season goes on,” Albanese said.
The top 60 finishers in each race received medals, and a total of four Ramona sophomore boys earned medals in the race.
Alec Richardson placed 14th with a time of 17:37, Donny McKay placed 39th at 19:02, and Ian Pedlow was the 51st runner across the finish line with a time of 19:19.
Ramona’s highest girls finisher was Chelsey Cortez, who took fourth place in the senior girls race. The girls competed on a 2.7-mile course, and Cortez had a time of 16:39. Cortez was eighth after one mile and moved from eighth to fourth during the second mile.
Ramona’s only other senior girl to earn a medal was Tessa Balcom, who had a time of 19:27 to place 52nd in the race.
Two Bulldogs took home medals from the junior girls race.
Lindsey Spieker had the 11th-place time of 17:32 and Ashley Duck posted a time of 19:10 to take 44th place.
Lauren Cortez was Ramona’s only medalist in the sophomore girls race, earning 13th place with a time of 18:01. Ramona did not have any participants in the freshman girls race.
Two Ramona boys finished 17th in their race. Chance Varnardo-Richardson had a time of 17:02 in the junior competition and Paul Reynolds ran the senior race in 16:58. Conner Jenson was 25th in the senior boys race at 17:20, Tanner Perfect placed 42nd in the junior boys race with a time of 17:48, and Nathan Morgan was 43rd among the junior boys after completing the race in 17:51.
Four Ramona runners medaled in the freshman boys race.
“Forrest Riley was probably the biggest surprise,” Albanese said.
“He ran an even paced race the whole time.”
Josh Spieker was Ramona’s first freshman boy across the finish line, placing 24th with a time of 18:58. Riley was 25th at 18:59.
“Forest ran a real conservative race,” Albanese said.
“He was just passing people the whole time.”
Josh Sears finished 49th among freshman boys with a time of 19:52. Darien Hightower earned 56th place and ran the course in 20:08.
“I was definitely happy with how they ran. Most of them ran really smart races,” Albanese said of his runners.
Albanese noted that the teams spent the week training rather than being fresh for the Mount Carmel Invitational.
“I didn’t expect them to have any really fast times,” he said.
Ramona’s boys and girls will have their next race Saturday night at Mission Hills High School when the Bulldogs compete in the inaugural The Showdown at Sundown.
“It should be interesting,” Albanese said.