By Joe Naiman
Runners with no previous cross country experience will need to make adjustments as they begin their high school distance running careers, but new participants are also exciting to a coach. Ramona High School’s girls team took second as a team in the freshman-sophomore race at the Vaquero Stampede held Sept. 3 at Lindo Lake Park in Lakeside, adding to a fifth-place team
finish in the girls junior-senior race.
“We did very well,” said Coach Kim Toth. “I think the kids surprised themselves.
“We stressed to work as a team and run as a team, and they went off the starting line like they were supposed to. They needed to just go out and run smart and have fun, and I think they did that.”
Had the times been for a single race, Ramona’s top five girls would have had a split of 60 seconds.
“Very pleased,” Toth said. “It was very nice to see.”
All of Ramona’s girls who ran last year’s Vaquero Stampede set personal records for the course. Both races utilized a 1.65-mile course.
Ramona had nine girls in the junior-senior race and five competitors in the freshman-sophomore race. Sophomore Teresa Leon was injured and did not run, but all of Ramona’s freshman-sophomore runners finished in the top third of the 76-runner field.
“You know that you’ve got some new prospects coming up,” Toth said.
Sophomore Anna Mazzola was Ramona’s top runner in the freshman-sophomore race, placing fifth with a time of 10:18.
Freshman Cassidy Blankenbaker began her Ramona career with an eighth-place time of 10:46, freshman Francheska Gonzalez finished 17th at 11:12, sophomore Rachel Brown took 22nd place after completing the course in 11:25, and sophomore Courtney Ford’s time of 11:59 was worth 25th place.
Senior Lauren Cortez had a time of 10:12 to place seventh among the 90 runners in the junior-senior competition. Senior Summer Lempe was 28th at 11:11, senior Caitlin Choy posted a 40th-place time of 11:41, senior Rachel Lindquist took 43rd place after a time of 11:48, junior Morgan Perkins crossed the finish line in 53rd place 12:17 after the starting gun was fired, senior Kelly Helman’s time of 12:25 was a 56th-place result, junior Alaina Lindquist took 13:09 and finished 68th, junior Ronney Hughes utilized 13:28 of the clock to place 72nd, and senior Samantha Kershaw was the 80th finisher with a time of 15:46.
The Bulldogs will travel to Vista High School for Saturday night’s Showdown at Sundown meet.
“I think they’re all looking forward to next Saturday,” Toth said.