By Joe Naiman
Ramona High School senior Forrest Riley finished fifth among the 130 boys in the Sweepstakes Division race of the Mt. SAC Invitational cross country meet, Oct. 20, at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut.
Riley had a time of 14:52 on the 2.93-mile course, matching last year’s time of 2011 Ramona senior Dylan Blankenbaker. Blankenbaker finished fifth in last year’s race while Riley placed 16th with a time of 16:12. Riley’s previous best time on the course was in 2010, when he posted a time of 15:55.
“It was a great day for a lot of our guys,” said Ramona coach Steve Albanese. “Everybody who ran the course last year improved their time pretty significantly.”
In the 2011 race, Ramona finished eighth among the 14 teams in the Sweepstakes Division. This year the Bulldogs were 14th among the division’s 19 teams, and Ramona’s junior varsity team was 21st among the 23 teams in the JV sweepstakes race, although Albanese was not disappointed with that.
“You’re talking about the biggest cross-country invitational in the U.S., and these are the two fastest races of the day,” Albanese said.
Albanese said that Ramona’s goal was more of an assessment than any particular result.
“We know what we need to do as we approach the state competition,” he said.
Ramona is in Division II for CIF section and state meet purposes. The Bulldogs were fifth among the Division II teams in the sweepstakes race.
Tristan Stidham was Ramona’s second finisher, taking 15:37 and placing 37th. Last year Stidham was in the junior varsity race and placed 30th with a time of 16:44.
Cory Thomas finished 66th among the 97 boys in last year’s varsity sweepstakes race and 69th in the 2012 race, and his time of 15:58 compares favorably to last year’s time of 16:33.
In 2011, Isaiah Spieker was 73rd in the junior varsity race with a time of 17:26. This year’s time of 16:33 placed him 106th in the varsity race.
Ramona’s varsity competitors were rounded out by Wesley Hardin, whose time of 16:40 was worth 111th place, and by Max Edwards and Josh Spieker, who each had times of 16:46 and placed 118th and 119th.
Ramona had seven of the 159 runners in the junior varsity Sweepstakes Division race. Colin Uekert’s time of 17:12 placed 85th, Anthony Jauregui was 104th at 17:29, James Meskell’s time of 17:53 was worth 124th place, Joey Jauregui finished 127th after taking 17:57, Matt Meskell posted a 133rd-place time of 18:03, Shea Loska was 153rd with a time of 19:52, and Jonathan Briese was the 158th finisher 22:34 after the starter’s gun was fired.
The Mt. SAC Invitational also had a freshman race with 185 runners; Ramona’s only competitor in that race was Jackson Sutter. Sutter’s time of 19:49 placed 63rd.
The Bulldogs return to Valley League dual meet action on Friday at Dos Picos Park, where they host Del Norte.