By Joe Naiman
Although Ramona High School’s girls cross country team was winless during league dual meets, the Bulldogs placed 13th among the 20 Division II teams at the CIF San Diego Section meet Nov. 19 at San Diego’s Morley Field.
“I think they walked away today feeling pretty good,” said Coach Kim Toth. “They gave it all they got.”
Two of the three Ramona runners who competed in both the 2011 and 2010 CIF section meets set personal records.
“That was an accomplishment,” Toth said. “That’s kind of what we were all going for.”
Ramona’s first finisher was freshman Cassidy Blankenbaker, whose time of 18:03 gave her 43rd place overall.
Senior Lauren Cortez closed out her high school career with 45th place and a time of 18:13. Cortez, who was fighting an illness Nov. 19, ran the 2010 race in 18:37.
Rachel Brown, the only Ramona junior to run in the CIF meet, posted a 72nd-place time of 19:13. The first CIF meet for Teresa Leon saw the sophomore take 19:39 and finish 79th. Senior Summer Lempe’s only CIF meet resulted in a 96th-place time of 20:15.
Senior Caitlyn Choy’s 107th-place time of 20:44 was an improvement upon her 20:56 performance last year. Senior Kelly Helman, who ran the 2010 race in 21:05, finished her high school cross country career with a 116th-place time of 21:30. A total of 136 girls competed in the Division II race.
Last year Steve Albanese coached both Ramona’s boys and the Bulldog girls. This year Albanese coached only the boys.
This was Toth’s first season as a head coach. She spent Spring 2011 as an assistant track and field coach for Orange Glen High School and also coaches runners on the San Diego So Cal Roadrunners club.
“I really enjoyed it,” Toth said of her head coaching debut. “It was obviously a completely different experience from being an assistant.”
The Bulldogs had 15 runners, including two whose injuries ended their seasons early.
“As small as the team was, I’m happy that all the girls stuck with it the entire season,” Toth said. “They had positive attitudes. That’s what makes it fun. That’s what makes it all worthwhile being a coach.”
Ramona’s 15 runners included six seniors. Brown is one of five juniors, and the Bulldogs also had two sophomores and two freshmen.