By Karen Brainard
Sunny skies and comfortable temperatures greeted the nearly 150 children who participated in Barnett Elementary School’s cross country invitational.
The elementary school in the San Diego Country Estates invited students from all Ramona Unified elementary schools, along with Ramona Julian Charter School, to run the 1.28-mile course on Friday, March 16.
It was an event that had been revived at the school last year around St. Patrick’s day by Barnett parent Paul Michaelis. Michaelis coordinated the invitational this year with help from another parent, Breeanna Purcell, who plans to head the invitational next year.
Races were divided by grades, third through sixth. About six children in lower grades ran with the third-graders, said Purcell.
The course started with a lap around the Barnett track, then took students down the horse trail, past the softball fields and playground, across the creek, and then circled back to the track. An electronic board clocked the runners as they reached the finish line.
Parents and grandparents cheered and snapped photos as the runners headed to the finish line.
Ribbons were awarded to the top three finishers, boys and girls separately, in each age group.
Running is something the kids really enjoy, said Purcell.
The mother of two boys at Barnett is the coordinator of the school’s running club, which meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“I have about 170 kids signed up,” she said. “We have about 80 kids who show up per session. It’s social for them but at the same time they get their exercise. They’re constantly striving to reach a milestone.”
Those milestones are in the number of miles run, and already this year four or five children in the running club have achieved 100 miles, Purcell said. For each milestone, students receive a charm marking their achievement.
“I think it’s really important for them to know they can get involved in something…and work toward goals,” Purcell said.
Students can run at their own pace or even walk, she noted.
Purcell said teachers have told her the students who run are more focused in school because they have worked off some of their energy.
First- through third-place winners and their times:
Third grade girls 6:35 Rachel White, Ramona Lutheran 6:43 Ryan Din, Ramona Julian Charter 7:17 Charlotte Boss, James Dukes
Third grade boys 6:25 Noah Miles, Ramona Community School 6:26 Sebastian Juarez, Ramona Elementary 6:39 Brendan McGuinness, Ramona Community School
Fourth grade girls 6:14 Amy Brown, Ramona Community School 6:41 Sidney Din, Ramona Julian Charter 7:07 Faith Spieker, Ramona Community School
Fourth grade boys 6:07 Kian Hogan, Ramona Julian Charter 6:12 Aiden Reilly, James Dukes 6:32 Zaak DellaGala, Barnett Elementary
Fifth grade girls 6:59 Andrea Alcaraz, James Dukes 7:09 Ryann Alcorn, James Dukes 7:32 Kennedy Flick, Barnett Elementary
Fifth grade boys 5:53 Jacob Jovien, Ramona Community School 5:55 Derek Diamond, Mt. Woodson 5:56 Jaedon Gotowala, James Dukes
Sixth grade girls 6:09 Rayna Valade, Woodson 6:10 Alicia Luna, Mt. Woodson 6:15 Kendra Pettit, Barnett Elementary
Sixth grade boys 5:53 Brandon Ruland, James Dukes 5:55 JC Valade, Mt. Woodson 5:56 Alberto Arizemendi, Ramona Elementary