Cross country boys eke out win

Ramona High boys cross country varsity team captain Donny McKay, wearing head band, and Graham Gantzer participate in the dual meet against Westview on Sept. 30. Photo/Sherri Cortez
Ramona High boys cross country varsity team captain Donny McKay, wearing head band, and Graham Gantzer participate in the dual meet against Westview on Sept. 30. Photo/Sherri Cortez

By JOE NAIMAN

Ramona High School’s boys cross country team took a 27-28 victory over Westview in its Palomar League season opener in Dos Picos County Park on Sept. 30.

“Right now our guys are in high-mileage training and they’re not backing off at these meets,” said Coach Steve Albanese.

Albanese explained that he will be using the league dual meets as workouts.

“Our focus is going to be on the big invitationals and CIF and state,” he said.

Albanese takes a different tactic with the junior varsity boys, who defeated Westview by a 26-31 score.

“The JV boys are treating this as an all-out race,” Albanese said. “I want them to focus on getting race experience so once they move up to varsity they can be prepared for what’s to come.”

The varsity race saw Ramona senior Dylan Blankenbaker finish first with a time of 17.01 on the 3.1-mile course. Although the Wolverines took second place, Ramona runners Forrest Riley and Alec Richardson ran together and both finished with times of 17:27 to capture the third-place and fourth-place points.

Team scores in a cross-country race are obtained by adding the positions of a team’s top five runners. A team’s sixth and seventh runners are not scored but can add positions to opposing runners.

A pack of four Ramona runners secured five of the top 10 positions for Ramona and ensured the Bulldogs’ single-point victory. Donny McKay, Cory Thomas and Graham Gantzer all had times of 18:17 with McKay earning the official ninth-place finish and Thomas receiving 10th place. Gantzer’s 11th-place finish was followed by Josh Spieker’s 12th-place performance which took 18:18.

“I gave the guys paces to run,” Albanese said, noting that his runners were successful in meeting those paces.

Isaiah Spieker was Ramona’s top junior varsity finisher, taking 18:42 and placing third in the JV race.

The Bulldogs have a league meet at Poway tomorrow.

   
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