By Joe Naiman
Ramona High School’s girls cross country team, which concluded its competitive season by placing 13th at the CIF San Diego Section meet, closed the 2011 season with the team’s awards banquet at the Olive Peirce Middle School performing arts center.
In addition to the awards presentation and a potluck dinner, the banquet included a slideshow that included highlights for the 2011 season and showed clips of this year’s seniors from the start of their cross country careers, including as far back as their Olive Peirce Middle School running days.
“That was really cute to see,” said Ramona head coach Kim Toth.
The seniors were also given a jar of dirt from the practice field behind the high school.
Senior Lauren Cortez was named as the Bulldogs’ Most Valuable Runner.
“She was a great motivator for all the girls this year,” Toth said. “She helped all the girls.”
Sophomore Rachel Brown received the 110% Effort award.
“At every practice she worked hard,” Toth said. “I never really heard her complain. She just went out there and every day put on her best.”
Alaina Lindquist received the Most Improved Runner award.
“She worked and she improved herself,” Toth said. “It was neat to see how thrilled she was every time she did a race.”
Freshman Cassidy Blankenbaker received the team’s Rookie of the Year award.
“She has maybe not as much passion as Dylan yet, but she still has the talent,” Toth said. “If she sticks with it she’ll do very well.”
Dylan Blankenbaker, Cassidy’s brother, is a senior this year, so next year she will be the only member of her family running for the Bulldogs.
“It will be interesting to see if she has as much passion as he does,” Toth said.
The banquet also included Four-Year Cross Country Runner awards for Cortez and Kelly Helman and team captain recognition for Cortez and Caitlyn Choy.
This was Toth’s first year as Ramona’s coach.
“All in all we had a great season,” she said. “It was a nice small group of girls who were very close.”