By Joe Naiman
Ramona High School’s boys cross country team won the Valley League meet Nov. 10 at Guajome Park to give the Bulldogs the league championship.
The final league standings are based on both a team’s position at the league meet and dual meet records. Ramona and Del Norte both had 4-1 dual meet records, and at the league meet the Nighthawks took second behind Ramona.
“It’s not our focus this year. We just happened to be in a weak league, so we could do what we wanted and still get a league victory, a league championship,” said coach Steve Albanese.
Albanese explained that the team’s focus was on the bigger target of a CIF section championship and a position at the state meet. The CIF San Diego Section meet will be held this Saturday at Morley Field. If Ramona is one of the top three teams in Division II, the Bulldogs will qualify for the state meet Nov. 24.
“We’re going to go all out next week,” Albanese said.
Team scores are derived by adding the positions of a school’s top five finishers. Ramona accumulated 30 points and Del Norte had 54 points.
The individual winner at the league meet was Orange Glen’s Andrew Tellames, who had a time of 15:54 on the 5,000-meter (3.1-mile) course. Ramona senior Forrest Riley finished second.
“He could have won if he went all out, but I told him to take it easy, save it for the next two weeks,” Albanese said. Riley, who posted a time of 16:18, was second throughout the race.
The top 10 finishers at the league meet receive berths on the all league first team while the next 10 finishers become second team all league selections. Ramona’s top seven runners all obtained all league status with five earning first team designation.
“I figured all of our guys would be pretty far up,” Albanese said. His race plan was to go easy during the first mile and finish strong in the third mile.
“Pretty much every one of the guys did that,” he said. “After the race they all had more to give, which is how I wanted them to finish.”
Senior Tristan Stidham took fourth place at 16:26, senior Cory Thomas finished fifth with a time of 16:29, senior Josh Spieker took 16:45 and finished ninth, and sophomore Max Edwards secured 10th place with a 16:50 performance. Senior Wesley Hardin had a 12th place time of 17:01, while sophomore Isaiah Spieker finished in 17:03 for 13th place.