Bulldog boys qualify for state cross country meet

Riley second in Division II race, Bulldogs second as team

By Joe Naiman

Ramona High School’s boys cross country team qualified for the state meet this Saturday with a second-place Division II finish at the CIF San Diego Section meet, Nov. 17, at Morley Field in San Diego.

“It didn’t go as well as I had hoped. We still made the state meet, so I’m happy about that,” said coach Steve Albanese.

Team scores are derived by adding the positions of a school’s top five finishers. Mt. Carmel won the Division II championship with 57 points while Ramona accumulated 72 points.

“We’ve got to have our guys after Forrest step up to have any chance of beating Mt. Carmel at state,” Albanese said.

Senior Forrest Riley, Ramona’s top finisher and the second Division II finisher overall, came in ahead of Mt. Carmel’s top runner, but the Sundevils’ next four finishers all had faster times than their Bulldog counterparts.

For the second consecutive year, one of the Fahy brothers from La Costa Canyon won the Division II race while a Ramona senior placed second.  In 2011 Darren Fahy had a time of 15:23 on the 5,000-meter (3.1-mile) course while Ramona’s Dylan Blankenbaker finished in 15:37. This year Steven Fahy’s winning time was 15:44, while Riley crossed the finish line in 15:52.

“This year was much slower,” Albanese said of the times of the field. “I think it might have been the weather.”

Steven Fahy, Riley, Andrew Tellames of Orange Glen, and Eric Sindel of Mt. Carmel comprised the lead pack.

“Fahy had such a strong kick in the last mile,” Albanese said.

Tellames, the only runner to beat Riley in the Nov. 10 Valley League meet, finished third while Sindel was fourth.

The top 10 finishers in each race earn first-team all-CIF status, and Riley was joined by Ramona senior Tristan Stidham, who had a 10th-place time of 16:40. The next 10 finishers receive second-team all-CIF honors, and that included senior Cory Thomas after his 16th-place finish in 16:57.

Riley, Stidham, and Thomas were Ramona’s only runners who also competed at the 2011 section meet. Last year Riley completed the course in 16:23, Stidham took 17:21, and Thomas posted a time of 16:40.

Senior Josh Spieker finished 21st with a time of 17:10. Last year Spieker did not run in the section meet but was one of Ramona’s state meet competitors.

“My top four all have state experience which will help going into this weekend,” Albanese said.

Ramona’s fifth finisher, senior Wesley Hardin, was 23rd in the Division II race at 17:10. Sophomore Isaiah Spieker had a 26th-place time of 17:13 while sophomore Max Edwards placed 35th with a 17:34 performance. The Division II boys race had a total of 137 runners.

The top three teams at the section meet qualify for the state meet, which will be held at Woodward Park in Fresno. Last year Ramona also finished second in the section meet, behind La Costa Canyon.  At the 2011 state meet the Bulldogs finished third but beat La Costa Canyon, which finished fourth.

“I have hope that we’ll come together like we did last year at the state meet,” Albanese said.

   
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