Wildcats dominate Bulldog track and field teams

Lauren Cortez, senior varsity distance runner, places second in the 1,600-meter race against El Camino March 21 and in the 3,200-meter race in the ASICS Mt. Carmel Invitational meet on March 24. Photo/Sherri Cortez
Lauren Cortez, senior varsity distance runner, places second in the 1,600-meter race against El Camino March 21 and in the 3,200-meter race in the ASICS Mt. Carmel Invitational meet on March 24. Photo/Sherri Cortez

By Joe Naiman

Ramona High School traveled to El Camino for the Bulldogs’ final pre-league dual meet of the 2012 season March 21, suffering a 96-36 loss on the boys’ side and a 107-30 defeat in the girls’ competition.

El Camino’s boys and the defending CIF Division I champion Wildcat girls each won 14 of the 16 events against the Bulldogs.

“They have an amazing team. I didn’t expect to win,” said Coach Sherri Edwards, who emphasized personal records and improvement to her runners.

Ramona’s boys scored 17 points in distance events, which produced both of Ramona’s male winners. Tristan Stidham and Graham Gantzer ran together in the 3,200-meter race with both posting times of 10:38.8 and Stidham earning the official victory.

Forrest Riley’s time of 4:41.0 was the meet’s fastest in the 1,600-meter race while Cory Thomas was third at 4:46.1. Alec Richardson’s time of 2:08.0 gave him second place in the 800-meter race.

“I thought the distance guys did a great job,” Edwards said. “That’s something I know I can count on this year.”

Ramona had three second-place finishes in the boys sprints. Two of those were from Nathan Cherek, who took 11.3 seconds in the 100-meter dash and 24.2 seconds to run the 200-meter dash. Cesar Corona spent 54.4 seconds racing the 400-meter event.

Preston Johnson’s shot put throw of 46’0” placed second while Paul Mehaffie’s distance of 40’11” also gave Ramona the third-place point.

The tiebreaking criteria of fewer misses at lower distances gave Dylan Vizcarra second place in the high jump over Connor Guasti after both cleared 5 feet 6 inches. Guasti had two other third-place finishes with a triple jump of 40 feet 1/4 inches and a long jump of 19 feet 5 inches.

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Tristan Stidham, sophmore varsity distance runner, runs a 4:35 in the 1,600m race in the ASICS Mt. Carmel Invite on Saturday. Photo/Sherri Cortez

Caitlyn Choy won the girls 400-meter race 1:00.3 after the starter’s gun was fired and also took second in the 200-meter dash with a time of 26.8 seconds. Ramona’s Courtney Ford spent 28.3 seconds racing the 200-meter dash and took third place.

Ramona’s other female winner was Lauren Cortez, who had a time of 5:29.8 in the 1,600-meter race. The only other Bulldog girl to score a point in a distance race was Anna Mazzola, whose time of 12:47 in the 3,200-meter event placed third.

Kelly Helman contributed to Ramona’s score in both hurdles races. Her time of 52.4 seconds was worth second place in the 300-meter hurdles while her 16.9-second performance gave her third in the 110-meter event.

The girls’ other 11 points were scored in field events. Taylor Uekert sprained her ankle when she landed after clearing 6’6” for second place in the pole vault while the tiebreaker of misses at lower distances relegated Courtney Jackson’s 6’6” vault to third. Brooke Brean cleared 4’8” for second place in the high jump while Ashlyn Savage was third with a distance of 4’4”. Kara Banegas took second place in the shot put after a throw of 29’7”.

Some of Ramona’s team also participated in the March 24 ASICS Mt. Carmel Invitational meet. Riley was invited to the Division I boys 3,200-meter race and finished fifth with a personal record of 9:26.11.

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